Best Breweries in Montana’s Flathead Valley

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When we first came to Montana, we knew nothing about Flathead Valley. Now that we have spent several months in the area, it’s a shame we didn’t get here sooner. But then again, maybe our timing was perfect. Then, we may not have met the wonderful people we’ve met here now. Then, maybe the vibe was different from the vibe we’ve instantly fallen in love with now. Then, the craft breweries here may not have even been thought of yet. But today, Montana’s Flathead Valley Breweries are some of the best in the state. And better yet? These are also some of the best breweries near Glacier National Park.

Combine those brilliant breweries with scenic views of the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, Flathead Lake, mountain biking and hiking trails, ski mountains, huckleberries, and the proximity to Glacier National Park, and you’ve got a paradise of all things outdoors.

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Our friends, Debra and Barry, kayaking on Flathead Lake at sunset.

Because of all this, within a few days of being in the Flathead Valley, we were like fish – caught hook, line, and sinker. A friend knew even then that we were besotted with Montana’s wonders: all of them.

“Montana’s not going to let you leave.”

wise words from a friend

And we’re here to make sure that you don’t want to leave, either. So whether you get to Flathead Valley breweries now or later, your game of then and now could be the same as ours…a lesson. Don’t worry about what could have happened if you showed up earlier, because all you have is now. And the experiences and flavors of life that you get in the moment you’re in, well, those wouldn’t be the same, then.

Let’s start drinking!

A Tour of Montana’s Flathead Valley’s Best Breweries

We’ll tell you what we recommend and our favorites based off of beer, ambiance, and more. What we won’t tell you is where not to go. Everyone has differing opinions on what creates a favorite place for them and there are so many subjective components that come into play when choosing favorite breweries. 

If we visit a brewery and the flavor profiles of the beer there are not what our palates are looking for at that time, we’re not going to tell you it’s a bad brewery. But if a brewery has beer that has something off, such as spoilage or poorly made qualities based off of what beer is supposed to be, we’ll tell you that.

Otherwise, you’ll have to embark upon your own Flathead Valley brewery tour, including breweries near Glacier, breweries in Kalispell, and breweries in Whitefish. Figuring out your favorites is the fun part. We’re simply here to get you started.

🍻  our favorites – Honestly, we loved all the breweries, but everyone has favorites, including us, and we felt that these were some of the Valley’s best breweries.

PRO TIP: Many small breweries and bars in Montana and across the country are closed Sun-Tues. All Montana breweries and distilleries that only have a brewing and/or distilling license close at 8:00 pm. They also generally don’t open until late afternoon, and a few only take cash, so plan accordingly.

Flathead Valley Breweries

Flathead Valley Breweries (South Flathead Lake)


Ronan Co-Op Brewing is a rare find across the country. Though there are nearly 9,000 craft breweries in the U.S. and around 100 in Montana, there are only a handful that are co-operative breweries, which are each collectively owned, typically primarily by members of the surrounding community. This is one of those co-op breweries.

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Ronan Co-Op Brewing, Montana’s only co-op brewery

Located off the main street in the town of Ronan just beyond the south end of Flathead Lake, Ronan is a quaint little taproom with a good selection of beer styles. It’s also kind of fun to know that at just about any given time, whomever you sit down next to at the bar is probably one of the brewery’s 400 or so owners!


Located in the downtown area of the little lakeside town of Polson, Glacier Brewing is good at providing a wide variety of styles. They also have a few surprising ales, such as German-style lagers and milkshake IPAs. They are well known for their Cherry Ale (the Flathead Valley has a number of cherry orchards in which you can actually pick your own cherries). Glacier also offers a few hard seltzers and carries a line-up of several non-alcoholic sodas. You’ll find plenty to drink at Glacier.

Flathead Valley Breweries (North Flathead Lake)


Flathead Lake Brewing has been a Western Montana staple since it opened in 2004 in Woods Bay, a neighboring community within Bigfork. The brewpub is now located directly in Bigfork with stunning views overlooking Flathead Lake. With 16 taps, Flathead Lake Brewing has a wide range of beer styles on tap at any given time, ensuring something that fits nearly any palate, including sours and barrel-aged beers. They have a full bar with wine, spirits, and cocktails, a restaurant menu, and are kid-friendly. The brewery also frequently has live music, comedy shows, film nights, and more.

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A flight at Flathead Lake Brewing overlooking Flathead Lake


This is the story of a new, but not so new brewery in Bigfork, which was already home to Flathead Lake Brewing and Whistling Andy Distillery. Golden Triangle Brew Co. owners Brandon Roberts and Stacia Fuzesy actually opened the brewery in 2017 in Fort Benton, Montana. But having previously owned a landscaping business in Bigfork, they jumped at the opportunity to return home when Whistling Andy moved up MT Highway 35 a bit.

Brandon and Stacia re-opened Golden Triangle in Bigfork in February 2023, where Brandon brews quite a variety in a fairly small brewhouse. There are classic styles, such as IPAs, stouts, Scottish ales, and blondes, but also the likes to a jalapeño hefeweizen.

Golden Triangle is somewhat unique in that it is housed in the same building as its partner business the Nimble Goat, which is a pub that, because of it’s separate licensing, can offer sprits, cocktails, and other alcoholic drinks that the brewery cannot. Plus, the Nimble Goat can stay open beyond the 8 p.m. cutoff for the brewery.


Founded in 2007, Tamarack Brewing is one of the oldest breweries in Montana. Though there is also a Missoula location, Lakeside on the west side of Flathead Lake is where the brewery originated. They have nine flagship beers that cover the bases for the vast majority of drinkers, including a non-alcoholic root beer. They typically also have several seasonal varieties on tap, along with fantastic pub-style food, and an inviting outdoor space along a creek.

Kalispell Breweries


Bias Brewing has a wide variety of standards in its line-up, but also pushes the boundaries with hard seltzer, hard tea, and even slushy beers. They also have a backcountry growler that is essentially a heavy-duty bag with a lid instead of a glass growler to make it easier to take off-grid on an adventure. Bias also has a full food menu and is kid-friendly, hosts live music, and other community-oriented events.

In late 2022, Bias Brewing moved onto the Main Street in Kalispell taking over the old location of Kalispell Brewing Company, who closed their doors. The move keeps a solid brewery on Main Street, while giving Bias a bigger space, more foot traffic, and a higher profile where they can show off their beers.


SunRift Beer Company has a quaint taproom with roll-up doors right next to the brewhouse. They typically have a solid line-up with enough variety for just about any style you prefer, including some forays into Belgian and German styles. Right next to SunRift’s taproom is their full restaurant. You can sit down in the restaurant for a meal and beer in a restaurant vibe, or you can stay in the taproom and still order food from the restaurant if you want the brewery vibe. Good food, good beer, good people. That’s SunRift.


If there is only one brewery that you visit in Kalispell, make it Sacred Waters with its huge front and back beer garden and beautifully crafted indoor space. They have a wide variety of beers and a lengthy tap list to choose from. Sacred Waters is nestled up next to their neighbors Rough Cut Cider and Glacier Sun Winery, which are located on the same property. And even better? They recently started serving Sacred Waters Eats! Now, in one of the best beer gardens in Kalispell, you can get beer and food.

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Debra enjoying a flight at Sacred Waters Brewing

Hospitality is also their game, and you’ll feel it immediately. Created in honor of Jordan’s mom and Kirk’s wife (the owners), the beer and ambiance here are as special as their love for family and Montana. Playing a huge role in the Flathead Valley community, they offer live music and host many special events. It’s easy to see why Sacred Waters continues to be one of our favorite breweries in the Valley.


February 2023 was a good month for Flathead Valley, Montana brewery expansions. Not only did Golden Triangle finally open in Bigfork, but just northwest of Bigfork in the Evergreen area of Kalispell, Patriotic American Brewing also opened its doors.

Just down the road from Sacred Waters Brewing, Patriotic American opened courtesy of owners Matt and Josie Hegstad. Matt is a U.S. Army and law enforcement veteran, while Josie was a corrections officer, 911 dispatcher, and worked in the oilfield. Matt creates some good clean beers in their brewery, whose mission is “to create exceptional beer and operate as a rendezvous point for people that are proud to be American.”

Breweries Near Glacier National Park


Western Montana simply delivers on breweries in general, but the Flathead has a wealth of variety. You might not hear Columbia Falls mentioned much alongside Bigfork, Kalispell, and Glacier National Park, but Backslope Brewing is worth a visit. This small brewpub packs a serious punch with a wide variety of beers that ranges from the usual American styles to Belgians to knock you over Russian Imperial Stouts to Saisons and Barleywines. Their variety coupled with a vast food menu make this a great stop on the way to Glacier National Park.


A Flathead Valley brewery tour must include a trip to Bonsai Brewing Project in Whitefish. This brewery has consistently been on our list as a favorite since we first visited here in 2018. Bonsai Brewing Project has a cozy and inviting taproom that is fantastic for hanging out on those chilly, rainy days, but they knock it out of the park with their beautiful outdoor space. From the huge trees scattered across the property to the beautiful flowers and plants in the middle of the yard, Bonsai is the place to be on a warm sunny day in the Flathead … well, after coming off the lake, of course!

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Beer in the beer garden at Bonsai Brewing Project

They brew some of the most creative beers alongside consistent, high quality flagship styles, including several unique barrel-aged, bottled options. Though the beer and ambiance are reason enough to head to Whitefish, Bonsai also has a flair for fine food with a hand-crafted menu that includes pickled vegetables, hummus, their own smoked meats, and more. Bonsai is also very proud of its local roots, hosting numerous community events, live music, and other gatherings.


Jeremiah Johnson is a staple in the craft beer community in Montana. Add that name to Blackstar, and you’ve got a perfect pairing. Blackstar is the connoisseur of dining. Jeremiah Johnson is that of craft beer. Enjoy a beer at the bar, or a full meal complete with cocktails. Either way, this is more than a brewery, these two partners have teamed up for a complete experience. What’s even better? It’s right smack in the middle of downtown Whitefish.

A Few Flathead Valley Dive Bars, Beer Bars, & Distilleries

Sometimes you simply want to dive in… to a dive bar, a beer bar, or even a distillery. These are all places that we have visited, and each one has its own unique personality. Try one, or try them all, or try ones we didn’t get to, but don’t let the fact that they’re not a craft brewery deter you. Most of them have live music and food. A few have dancing and drunkenness. Some are open to the wee hours of the middle of the night, but all are worth the trip.

THE RAVEN (Woods Bay)

Tropical vibes? Lakeside? A pier where you can dock your boat or kayak or SUP? Check. Check. And check. Oh, not to mention that they have a solid line-up of craft beer taps, as well as numerous signature cocktails, and some good lakeside grub. The Raven also frequently has live music throughout the summer season.

No shoes? No shirt? No problem! But beware, everyone knows and loves this place, tourists and locals alike. So grab a drink, sit back, and relax. The food service might take a bit longer than normal, but where else do you have to be? This is lake life, baby!


There’s a little bit more dive in The Sitting Duck, but again, in a great way! Just a couple doors down from The Raven, The Duck has a full bar with everything you’d expect, as well as several local craft beer handles and a good can and bottle selection. Renowned throughout the valley for their Karaoke Night, The Duck also has its own pier, where you can tie off and hang out. And if you come around a little bit outside the high season of summer, you just might get to experience The Duck’s infamous Sunday afternoon bingo!

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Our friend, Britt, winning bucks at bingo at the Sitting Duck.


Just a stone’s throw from The Sitting Duck and The Raven, you’ll find the coziest little craft beer bar in the Bay. A Sip of Montana, or better known as The Sip, this little place has quickly become one of our favorite hang out spots since its doors opened in late 2021. With around 20 beers on tap, the majority of them local Montana craft beers (and a bar), damn good pretzels and pizzas, and some of the best peeps in the land, this is the place to feel like a local. Even if you’re not.


Nimble Goat and Golden Triangle are working together to give the local community the best of both worlds – a pub and a brewery. Showcasing mostly Montana craft beer (including five of their own), liquor, cider, kombucha, wine and more, along with local food trucks, you’ll find everything you need at one of Montana’s newest pubs.


Another awesome Montana dive bar, the Buffalo Saloon has a full bar and features several local craft beers on tap and in cans and bottles. They show sports on several screens, have a Montana style happy hour (think three hours long!), and typically have live music on Friday and Saturday nights.


Smack in the middle of downtown Bigfork, this dive bar is the perfect combination of dark and moody on the inside to wild and raucous on the outside. Hang out and chat with friends and strangers while sidling up to the bar, elbow to elbow. Bust a move on the outdoor dance floor with live music and the comfort of strangers shoulder to shoulder. If you love dancing, drinking, and rhythms that keep your feet moving, The Garden Bar is the place to be.

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The Garden Bar patio


If you like spirits, you can’t do much better than Bigfork’s own craft distillery, Whistling Andy. They have a diverse line-up of spirits from Bourbons and Whiskeys to flavored Rums, Gins, and Vodkas (yes, even a huckleberry vodka). You can buy bottles to go from their tasting room, take a tour, sample of a flight of several spirits, or sip on a hand-crafted cocktail. It’s not beer, but Whistling Andy is just too good to pass up!

With Whistling Andy’s move up MT Highway 35 just 3 miles north of their original location, which is now home to Golden Triangle Brew Co. and the Nimble Goat Pub, Whistling Andy Distillery also opened Andy’s Crafthouse. The new location provides much more space for production of their eloquent spirits, while Andy’s Crafthouse allows for a full gourmet menu of food and drinks, as well as more event space.

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Handcrafted cocktails at Whistling Andy Distillery

THE A BAR (Ferndale)

Tucked away in Ferndale, just down the road from Bigfork, the A Bar is Montana. Want an ice cold beer? Some tasty pub grub? Or maybe you just want to get your groove on with some karaoke or live music. How about a poker run? If you want to taste/drink/experience Montana, dive into the A Bar!

MOOSE’S SALOON (Kalispell)

Definitely not a brewery, Moose’s Saloon is a quintessential Montana beer bar, complete with Wild-West style swinging doors. They have most of the American standards on tap, as well as a number of local and regional craft beer selections. Better yet, their beers are less than three bucks. Granted, they are served in a water goblet, but three bucks for a craft beer?! Yes, please! Keep in mind, this is a dive bar, and you’ll know it the second you walk in and step up to the bar. The bartenders are friendly, but they are busy, and they’re not going to put up with you taking your time to taste every beer before deciding. Here, you better know what you want.

They also have a full bar and are renowned for their pizza including their eccentric toppings such as sauerkraut. Yes, sauerkraut! Our pizza recommendation there came from a local: breakfast bacon, artichoke hearts, and sauerkraut! Phenomenal!

BIG SKY BEER (Kalispell)

While Big Sky Beer does appear to be more of a restaurant than a beer bar, this place does both very well. Excellent food with a wide variety from bowls to fancy meals to pub fare, there’s a lot to choose from. And the same goes for their taps. Tons of taps! What else could you ask for? If you want to try a variety of different beers, not just from Montana, but from around the country and the world, Big Sky Beer is an excellent choice.


Just down the block from Bonsai Brewing Project, you’ll find the Montana Tap House. With 58 taps, and 50 of those taps being beer, you’ll definitely find something to suit your unique taste. Highlighting Montana beers and then some, come hang out, drink, play trivia, or listen to live music. Whether you’ve just busted your ass on the ski mountain the bike mountain or the couch mountain, this is the place to celebrate.


En route to Glacier National Park, this is the place to stop either before or after your adventures in Glacier. Specializing in small-batch whiskeys, they offer tasting flights, handcrafted cocktails, and bottle sales to go. Built on a love for mountain life, moonshine, and friends, Glacier Distilling is a Montana must.

Flathead Valley Adventures, Food, and Shopping

In the middle of visiting all the breweries, bars, and distilleries, you’ll need to eat and play. Many of the breweries offer up fantastic food, but there are a plethora of restaurants and food trucks in the Valley offering up everything from street tacos to corn dogs to sushi to pizza to whatever your beer-drinking taste buds desire.

As for playing and adventures, Crane Mountain, Herron Park, Whitefish Mountain, and more offer a variety of mountain biking and hiking trails. Only interested in hiking? Check out Jewel Basin and most definitely Glacier National Park. Skiing and snowboarding? That’s here, too! Shopping? Bigfork, Kalispell, Whitefish, and all the towns have plenty of cute shops to meander through while waiting for your opportunity to hit up the next brewery.

And we cannot forget about Flathead Lake itself. Combine that lake with the many rivers and smaller lakes throughout Flathead Valley, you’ll be having a summer you’ll never forget. From paddleboarding to kayaking to fishing to boating to floating to swimming, there’s so much to do on and off the water here. Bring your own or rent for a day or week. Just remember to grab a local Flathead Valley brew for all your adventures.

Montana and Flathead Valley won’t let you leave.

I hate to say it, but it may be the Flathead Valley breweries that brought you here, but you’ll want to stay here because there’s so much more than just breweries. Come to Flathead Valley to play, to work, to drink, but you’ll want to stay because, like I said before, Montana just won’t let you leave.

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Cheers to Flathead Valley Breweries (photo courtesy of Marc Ellis Photography)

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There’s so much to see and do in Montana, even outside of Flathead Valley. We’ve got a lot more Montana stories for you to explore. Click here to read more.

Ken resting on his bike on a road with trees and snowcapped mountain range in background outside of Bozeman Montana


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2 years ago

Great article and great area. We had a kick ass time and already miss it. And of course, both of you. Margarita Monday was just not the same here in our rig instead of the Raven!