I was in Billings, Montana for a travel conference called TBEX in September 2019. As part of the conference, some attendees were selected for tours of the city so we can explore and experience the town. When I saw that there was a craft brew event, I jumped at the chance to go on the Billings Brew Trail. Here’s why you should go when you visit Billings, Montana.
It was my pleasure to work with the Visit Billings convention and visitor’s bureau to discover the best things to do in Billings during my stay there for TBEX, a travel journalist conference. The Billings Brew Trail was one of many experiences we were able to participate in throughout the conference.
Where is Billings, Montana?
Billings is located in the southeast corner of Montana. The local airport is Billings Logan International Airport and it is the second-largest airport in the state. I flew here on Delta Airlines, but the airport is also served by Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Cape Air, Frontier Airlines, and United Airlines. Click here to see the latest flight prices on Expedia.
To get around, I recommend renting a car if you can find one for ~$20-$30 per day. It seems like every time we used Uber or Lyft (even for a 1 to 2-mile ride), the cost was at least $10 to $15 per ride.
What is the Billings Brew Trail?
The Billings Brew Trail is Montana’s only walkable brewery trail. The breweries are located across 1.5 miles in the heart of downtown Billings. You can go with a tour like we did or take a self-guided tour to go on your own pace.
Currently, there are six breweries, two distilleries, and one cider house along the trail. During our tour, we visited three breweries and one cider hour over 4 hours on a weekday afternoon.
Grab a rideshare from your hotel or park your car near the start of the Billings Brew Trail. The Park Two Garage is located halfway between the first and last stop on the tour.
For more information about the Billings Brew Trail or more things to do in Billings, Montana, go to the Visit Billings visitor’s center online.
Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co.
Our first stop of the day was Yellowstone Valley Brewing. They are a combination brewery and distillery. However, we didn’t sample any spirits while we were there. Yellowstone hosts open mic nights and has a stage for live music.
We enjoyed several tasty beers and toured the brewing facility.
I loved seeing this sign. “Everyone should believe in something. I believe I’ll have another beer.” This quote from Frank Sinatra seemed so appropriate for the day.
Last Chance Pub & Cider Mill
Next, we walked a couple of blocks over to Last Chance Pub & Cider Mill. There are many great ciders to sample, but if beer is more your thing, they also have a few taps from Red Lodge Ales.
We sampled some ciders before taking a quick tour of the mill. We learned about the process of turning fruit into cider.
At Uberbrew we had the best food of the day. We were greeted by an assortment of wings, cheese fries, and other goodies upon arrival. And they paired perfectly with the IPA beers that I tried.
When you visit, make sure that you order the tri-tip sandwich. It was the best meal of my time in Billings. I even snuck back to Uberbrew to have this delicious sandwich a second time. The head chef heard me fawning over their sandwich, so he offered to share the recipe so I could try to make it myself at home. How awesome is that?!?!
While touring the brewing facility, I saw the beer markers. I love how creative the designs are. Fun fact… a local artist creates their beer markers in exchange for beer and food. A total win-win!
Thirsty Street Brewing Co.
Our final stop of the day was at Thirsty Street Brewing Co. It was the smallest of the breweries we visited, but the quality of the beer was on par with the others. If you’re still hungry, they offer Montana-made hot dogs and sausages that will go well with any of the brews on tap. They have a normal line-up that’s complemented by seasonal brews that rotate in and out throughout the year.
There’s a game room attached so you can play billiards, throw darts, or play shuffleboard while watching the game on their big-screen TVs.
Other Billings Brew Trail breweries that we didn’t visit
Although we had a great time on our tour, there were several other breweries and distilleries that we didn’t visit. The itinerary was full during my stay in Billings, so I didn’t get a chance to stop by outside the tour. But, when I come back, I’ll be sure to visit the spots along the Billings Brew Trail that I missed the first time around.
- Asylum Distillery – enjoy handcrafted cocktails from gin, vodka, rum, and moonshine.
- Carter’s Brewing – try their Coldwater Kolsch, Boxcar Brown Ale, or De-Railed IPA.
- Angry Hank’s Microbrewery – sample the eight brews on tap from the comfort of their outdoor patio.
- Montana Brewing Co – stay awhile with late-night hours and try the Custer’s Last Stout for dessert after a tasty meal.
And, if you extra time, take a small detour to visit these locations just 10 minutes off the trail:
- Trailhead Spirits – home of the award-winning hand-crafted gin and vodka.
- Canyon Creek Brewing – the first brewery built from the ground up in Billings.
Where to stay for the Billings Brew Trail?
Of course, if you’re participating in an afternoon of sampling delicious craft beers, ciders, and spirits, you shouldn’t be driving afterward. These are the closest hotels to the Billings Brew Trail that you should consider booking a room at.
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Holiday Inn Express & Suites West
- Residence Inn by Marriott
Click here for the best hotels in Billings, Montana according to TripAdvisor ratings.
When we took the Billings Brew Trail during our stay in Billings, Montana, we stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn. Since I’m a Hilton Diamond, I received the 5th night free when using points to pay for my room. Silver and Gold members also have this benefit.
And the hotel has free made-to-order breakfast for Gold and Diamond members! That’s a huge savings when traveling with your friends or family. I would definitely stay there again.
The Bald Thoughts
If you love trying new beers, plan a visit to Billings, Montana. The Billings Brew Trail is a fun afternoon of trying tasty drinks and delicious food. I’ll be back to Billings next year on my way to visit Yellowstone with the family and do some snowboarding.
What’s the best place you’ve traveled to enjoy their craft brew scene? Let me know in the comments below.