By Emily Erickson
Like the good Wisconsin native that I am, my first act as a Sandpoint resident was going out to get a beer. My fingers ached from white-knuckling the steering wheel; a response to finishing the last leg of my cross-country roadtrip in a blizzard. Taped boxes and tetra-packed ornaments of my former life still filled my vehicle, but I was thirsty. More than that, I was eager to meet my new community.
I crossed the Long Bridge; bellied up to a big, wooden bar downtown; and grabbed the beer list. As I scanned my options, the comfort of familiarity flooded over me. I may have just moved 2,000 miles to a place I’d never been, but at least there were stouts and IPAs, ambers and blondes, and a selection of bottles with well-known labels, reminding me that some things don’t change just because your zip code does.
Over the next two years, the community became more familiar and I was able to identify Sandpoint people as easily as I had identified the styles of beer on the list my very first day. Furthermore, I began to categorize the people I met, drawing parallels between their lifestyles and the types of beer they consumed. Despite these being drastic caricatures and comedic overgeneralizations, here’s what your beer says about you: Sandpoint Edition.
IPA: If you’re a Sandpoint resident that regularly reaches for the hop-heavy IPA, you ride mountain bikes on the weekends and wouldn’t dare miss a bluegrass show. You moved to Sandpoint for the camping, but stayed when you discovered the cultural heartbeat of the area. You are often spotted sporting sandals with socks, and are contemplating brewing your own kombucha.
Bud Light: Ordering a bottle, and you “don’t need a glass,” you’re the light beer purist in the community. You’ve been drinking this American staple since high school (which was between 30 and 60 years ago), your jeans have jewels on them and nothing gets you moving quite like Devon Wade on a Saturday night. You likely have a travel-sized hairspray can close by, and the idea of drinking Coors Light is ridiculous.
Porter (or stout): You’re a local with a preference for things on the dark side. You moved to Sandpoint from the Midwest and enjoy the mildness of the winters away from the Great Lakes. The dark beers remind you of maltier times back home, when you literally needed a buzz just to stay warm. You’re frequently found chopping wood, doing routine maintenance on your snow blower and have an entire closet dedicated to flannels of varying thicknesses.
Double IPA: If you hit the bar asking for a double or (god forbid) triple IPA, you’ve recently discovered you can get obliterated drunk off craft beer without nearly as much judgement as shooting whiskey. You can be found at the bar attempting to order two beers at a time, pounding one quickly before your partner gets back from the bathroom.
Hefeweizen: If you’re the sort that had a Blue Moon that one time, and discovered you like Hefeweizens, you love nothing more than summertime. Your hobbies include boating, paddle boarding and sitting on a deck with friends. You wear shorts and sandals until the snow touches your ankles, and say things like, “Mahalo.” Also, there’s a 90% chance you share a photo of your beer on Instagram.
Pale ale: If you’re from Sandpoint and you order a pale ale you typically drink Bud Light, but the microbrewery your friends dragged you to doesn’t sell it. You think this will be a close second. It’s not.
Amber: If you’re the type that finds ambers on a beer list, you’re a straight arrow. You have a practical 9-5 job with good benefits, you’ve never filed an extension on your taxes and sometimes wonder if you should have traveled abroad in college. Your favorite part about drinking malt-heavy brews is that you get too full before you get too out of hand.
Natural Light: If “Natty Light” is your go-to, your truck is lifted and you have fish-gut stains on your T-shirt. You think there’s no better duo than a cooler full of “cold ones” and a fresh tin of Grizzly, and miss the days when country music wasn’t so catchy. That, or you’re a high-school boy on an after-school fast food-wage budget.
Sour (or barrel aged): If you inquire about the newest sours or ask if the bar has anything barrel aged, you recently moved to Sandpoint from Portland and roast your own coffee at home. You only eat chicken if you know where it came from, you regularly discuss where Mercury is in relation to Venus and vehemently believe in the benefits of acupuncture.
Montucky Cold Snack: If the “official, unofficial beer of Montana,” is your beverage of choice, you have worked at Schweitzer Mountain Resort in the past two years and are spotted with no less than four cans on your person at a time.
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