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Big Sky Brew: Burnt Tree Brewing in Ennis promises the best beer in the area

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Burnt Tree Brewing’s Flying Ant Honey Ale pairs well with a brisket sandwich from the Gravel Bar in downtown Ennis. PHOTO BY MIRA BRODY


ENNIS—This Big Sky Brew writeup brings us to the west side of the Madison Range, to Ennis, where cowboy hats outnumber the trucker hats and most patrons will naturally find it necessary to thoroughly wipe the ranch muck from their boots before stepping past a door mat.

The joint in question? Burnt Tree Brewing, where a suds enthusiast is welcomed by flyers on the wall touting events such as “Fly Tying Sundays at 4” and a healthy ratio of locals and out-of-town weekend visitors. Don’t worry—you can still see Lone Peak from the window.

Brunt Tree Brewing opened just last August but has been in the works for a whileover a year and is backed by years a reservoir of experience—the manager, Amy Kelley, is married to Scott Kelley who owns the longstanding and popular Ennis watering hole, Gravel Bar. The Brewery’s owner, Jeff Millsap, is Amy’s brother and their experienced head brewer, Dave McAdoo, is a longtime family friend hailing from the Ruby Valley.

After considering locations around Ennis and Virginia City, the trio decided the most ideal location would be in their old restaurant space attached to Gravel Bar on Ennis’ main stretch. The team is dedicated to quality over quantity, an ethos one can taste it in their beer. As such, rather than spending too much energy on large market distribution, Burnt Tree focuses on providing the very best possible craft beer in the area.

I tried two different beers at Burnt Tree, starting with their golden honey ale dubbed the Flying Ant. At 5.8 percent ABV, it yields a mellow, semi-sweet sip that will be great for warmer weather activities, say on a tube or drift boat along the river just outside—and I was pleased to find that it didn’t feel watered down like honey ales sometimes do.

I followed with their Black Dog Porter. I don’t usually like porters, but I was convinced by the owner to give it a try. For die-hard porter fans, you may find it a bit low-key, but for those who aren’t usually drawn to them, this one is worth a try and I enjoyed the earthy flavor that does not overwhelm a slightly more conservative, simple-minded palette.

The next time you find yourself in the Madison Valley fishing, floating, hiking or whatever other activity you enjoy on the other side of the range, stop by Burnt Tree Brewing, grab a beer (Kelley recommends The Other One Hazy IPA, the Flying Ant or their Raspberry Sour) and head up to their rooftop beer garden to soak in the views.

Check out Burn Tree Brewing’s social media for any updates regarding serving and take-out options amid COVID-19 shutdowns.

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