Sherriff Henry Plummer’s Outlaw Brewing is one of the many breweries that took advantage of the recent, booming interest and desire for brew houses in Montana and added to the saturated market of Bozeman, MT. When the market is packed with options for beer before 8:00PM in a small town it needs to stand out and stand above the competition. However, Outlaw Brewing in turn allows itself to be a stepping stool for neighboring breweries with a lack of atmosphere that matches the culture of Bozeman, generic business model that makes it unmemorable, and brews that strived to be unique and fell short by leaving a bad taste in your mouth. The only redeeming qualities found were the cheery staff offering wonderful customer service and the number of IPAs available for those who have a taste for bitter beer.
Parking at Outlaw Brewing is about as bad as the parking situation at the local college campus. Surprisingly enough there were few spots available at 7:00PM which was only confirmed upon entering the brew house. Walking into the brewery there is the presence of trending music, great lighting, and a lot of tables. While the layout of Outlaw Brewing encourages socialization with large tables and an upstairs for additional seating, the ability to control the volume of the music posed a problem. The music varies from very loud to barely noticeable and at the highest volumes it interfered with the attempt to enjoy the company surrounding you. It’s rustic look definitely plays to the Montana character, but with walls scarcely decorated and the few decorations available were of merchandise it lacked character of its own.
The building itself is very similar to Map Brewing out in the cannery district, except Outlaw doesn’t have a cool water front patio for summer sipping. A solitary pool table sat unused in the upstairs seating, which began to give way to confusion about how the brewery sees itself. Is it a watering hole for the average joe on a Wednesday who gathered with some friends for a pint and a conversation? Or is it a bar serving solely beer here for the simple pleasure of drinking with the possibility of a uneventful game of pool? In comparison to the local competition, there are better places for a beer on Wednesday and better places to drink and play pool.
While the beers available are creative, the selection is difficult to praise otherwise. The menu consisted of several IPAs I cannot speak to, but the selection of ambers, stouts, and ales attempted to add a new twist and fell short. The Goeman’s Gold is reminiscent of cheap beer at a frat party, watery and almost tasteless. The Irish Cream Ale starts off strong and fizzes out leaving regret for ordering it. Perhaps after this review I should have been drinking Outlaw’s Passive Aggressive Pale Ale, but I doubt I’ll be returning after this 2/5 review. Overall, Outlaw is only contributing to the market saturation and would be better off sticking to the canning industry, where those with the acquired taste of Outlaw Brewing can enjoy the craft without the nuisance of the actual establishment.