BIG SKY – Once the capital city of the Montana Territory, Virginia City was, for a time, plagued by the constant raids by gangs of criminal frontiersmen. In response, the Montana Vigilantes were formed, using the numbers 3-7-77—the dimensions for a standard grave of 3 feet by 7 feet by 77 inches—as both an informal symbol and as a deterrent for criminals; the vigilantes would paint the numbers on a tent, house or cabin, threatening delinquents of the West with the wrath of the vigilantes should they not leave at once.
Today, the number appears on the crest of the Montana Highway Patrol. The organization claims to be unaware of the original meaning, but according to their website, “Regardless of its meaning, however, 3-7-77 is emblematic of the first organized law enforcement in Montana. The Montana Highway Patrol, in adopting this early symbol, honors the first men in the Montana Territory who organized for the safety and welfare of the people. For that same reason, the Association of Montana Troopers has carried on that tradition by placing the legendary 3-7-77 on their patch as well.”
Hailing from the Ruby Valley, brewed by the appropriately named Ruby Valley Brew, the 3-7-77 Kölsch carries that legacy in a delicious 4.8 percent ABV with a 24 IBU rating. Kölsch first originated in Germany and is a warm fermented beer that is conditioned at a cold temperature, yielding a pale, hoppy and bright brew.
The 3-7-77 is light and crisp, bursting with flavor. Pints are available at Lone Mountain Ranch’s Horn and Cantle Saloon.