Showing posts with label Montana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Montana. Show all posts

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Roundup for Montana Beer

Here's an admittedly hasty gathering of ghoulish Halloween specials at Montana's breweries, as they are known to exist today. If you know of something we've missed, please add them in the comments below!

Kettlehouse Southside Taproom - Meet a couple of tennis stars who are working behind the bar today. Tell them that Montana Beer Finder is a big fan!
Sharapova and Williams, left to right
Kettlehouse Northside - Kick off the Halloween party at Northside Kettlehouse with live music from Hardwood Heart, Caramel Apple Cold Smoke® Scotch Ale, and a costume contest. 6 PM

Imagine Nation Brewing Co. - Try your hand at pairing beer with Halloween candy. Snickers, Candy Corn, and Hot Tamales will be on hand to sample with their lineup of beers. Live music at 6 PM.

Draught Works - Come in costume and they will buy your first pint! Bring the kids for free candy and soda! Be there at 7 PM sharp for our costume contest! Categories: Scariest, Classic, Topical, Couple's, Best in Show - 1st 4 get glass growler+fill, Best in Show gets a 50/50 growler!

Missoula Brewing Co. - First beer $1 if your in costume. Great prizes for a costume contest. $1 Pumpkin beers ALL weekend. John Floridis TONIGHT!

Bitterroot Valley
Lolo Peak Brewing - They release the Flying Gourd Pumpkin Ale at 5:00 PM at the LPB Halloween Party.

Bitter Root Brewery - This Halloween KIDS EAT FREE! If you're looking to fuel up your little ghosts and goblins before you take them out trick-or-treating, then the Brewery is your place. Purchase an adult meal and get an item off of our kids menu for free from 4pm to close this Saturday! If you're sans children this Halloween, we've got you taken care of too. All growler fills are $1 off on Halloween and all beers will be $1 off from 4pm to 6pm.

Great Falls
Bowser Brewing Co. - Special beer release. The Nos was originally brewed by Dennis for Halloween 1990 in Cleveland OH while brewing at Great Lakes Brewing. We like to continue that tradition by serving a cask version for Halloween.

Muddy Creek Brewing - Come to Muddy Creek Brewery on Halloween for a fun-filled night of drink-specials, costume contests, trivia contests, games, prizes, creepy music and ghost stories featuring uptown Butte locales. Come try the award-winning Jack Smashed Pumpkin Ale and just see if you can survive the night at Muddy Creek Brewery.

Kalispell Brewing Co. - Happy Halloween! Celebrate the spooky and spectacular with us. Live music at 5:00pm with Moonshine Mountain, costume contest at 7:00pm, plus candy and fun times!
Courtesy Kalispell Brewing Co. Facebook page
Montana Brewing Co. (see below)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2nd Whitewater Beer Tasting on Alberton Gorge

Montana Brewery Tours is hosting its 2nd annual Whitewater Beer Tasting this Saturday on the Alberton Gorge. Complete with Class III whitewater fun, transportation, and appetizers paired with Draught Works beers, it's sure the be a wild and wet time.

The event is $99 per person and already nearly sold out. Meeting time is noon, and the return is scheduled for 7 p.m. Book at MTBREWTOURS.COM or by calling 406.544.6864.

If you want to see the good times had last year, check out these pics, courtesy Montana Brewery Tours' Facebook.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Montana Brewery You Might Not Know: Dunluce Brewing

Dunluce Brewing
I admit it, I just didn't know. I wrote a book about beer, and have printed and sold thousands of copies of the Montana Brewery Passport, but out in Superior, Montana, there has been a nano-brewery in operation since summer 2014, and I just didn't know until last week.

Dunluce Brewing ("done loose") is owned and operated by Adam Hauge, who lives in Liberty Lake, Washington, but travels over at least once a week to brew on his 1/2 barrel brew system, which is currently only sold at the Four Aces Bar in Superior.

"My wife's family is from the area, so it's nice to be connected to the area," says Hauge. The brewery's motto is: Family, Farm, Fermented.

It was during a trip to Ireland and Italy in 2012 that the couple, Lauren and Adam, first thought about combining family farming and brewing. Adam's family farm grows barley in central Montana, and Lauren's family farm in Superior has hops and spices.

In addition to selling its beers through Four Aces Bar, Dunluce Brewing is available for special order kegs for weddings. Just this week Dunluce Brewing began offering branded growlers and growler fills through Four Aces, and the bar will also serve as the official Montana Brewery Passport stamping location since the brewery does not operate a tasting room.

Hauge brews six different core beers, plus some seasonals. Here are the mainstays:

Dun Deal
Porter brewed with chocolate and black patent malts. (Occasionally brewed with peppers or pumpkin.)

Dun Right
Inspired by classic style German Pilsners, brewed to be crisp, refreshing and spicy. (Occasionally brewed with smoked grain or ginger.)

Screw Luce
IPA brewed for hop enthusiasts with almost triple the amount of hops as our other beers and a malty base for balance.

Foot Luce
Dill Pale Ale brewed to incorporate Adam's favorite spice.

Dun 'n' Done
Amber brewed with beets and citrus hops for a malty, yet refreshing flavor.

Superior Suds

Single hop Pale Ale brewed with the patrons of the Four Aces bar in Superior, MT in mind.

Next time you're heading by Superior, stop in and say hi to Ronna at Four Aces Bar and ask for a pint or growler of Dunluce beer, and tell her that Montana Beer Finder sent you. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Flathead Lake Brewing Co. Kicks Off American Craft Beer Week

Ringing in their new pubhouse for their first American Craft Beer Week, Flathead Lake Brewing Co. has a week of beer-themed events planned for May 11 - May 17. And they look incredible!

Monday May 11
We will kick off the week with a presentation from resident historian Steve Lozar on the history of brewing in Montana, 6-7:30pm. All attendees will get to take home a commemorative American Craft Beer Week t-shirt!

Tuesday May 12
Tuesday Toasts with AERO (Alternative Energy Resources Organization). From 5-8pm $1.00 of every beer poured will be donated.

Wednesday May 13
On Wednesday we will have a special Beer Trivia hosted by our Brewmaster, David Brendgard, from 6:30-8:30pm.

Thursday May 14
On Thursday, enjoy an amazing four course Brewer’s Dinner in the Imperial Room, $45 per person. Get your tickets in advance!

Friday May 15
On Friday we are featuring Kalispell Brewing Co.’s Two Ski Brewski Pilsner, on tap for a limited 
time only! Live music from Swiftcurrent, 7-10pm.

Saturday May 16
On Saturday our Beer Ambassador, Nate Willette, will be hosting a FLBC Pint Night! Live music from Mike Murray Duo, 6-9pm.

Sunday May 17
Sunday will be Brewery Tour Day! Get an inside look of our new state of the art brewing facility. Tours start on the hour from 12-5pm.

Brewer’s Dinner at FLBC
Thursday May 14
Join us at the FLBC Pubhouse for a weeklong celebration of American Craft Beer. On Thursday, enjoy an amazing four course Brewer’s Dinner in the Imperial Room, $45 per person. Get your tickets in advance!
First Course
Smoked Tri Tip wellington bites with a green peppercorn sauce and 369’ Stout marinated smoked oysters in the half shell.
Paired with 369’ Stout
Second Course
Grilled Romaine with fried capers, grape tomatoes, and a Parmesan wheel with our Saison Caesar dressing.
Paired with Swimmer’s Itch Saison
Third Course
Galaxy seared scallops and shrimp with Parmesan galaxy grits and zucchini swirls.
Paired with Galaxy Pale Ale
Fourth Course
Cherry cheesecake with a white chip almond cookie crust and a sour Flathead cherry sauce.

Paired with Sour Cherry Ale

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Dram Shop: Missoula's Beer Bar

Now open at 229 E. Front St. The Dram Shop - Growler Fill Station features Missoula's newest lineup of craft beer taps and bottles. Owners Zach and Sarah Millar were excited to open their doors to the public on Friday, and Missoula, in turn, was excited to show up. With 32 beers on tap, plus a few extra taps for sodas and ciders, The Dram Shop is a representation of the "big city" beer bars one might find in Oregon, Washington, California, and other beer-friendly states.

The Dram Shop showcases its up-to-date tap list digitally on the wall, as well as in print. They sell and fill multiple sizes of growlers, from wide-mouth pint sizes to the traditional 64 oz. If it's on tap, it can be filled in a growler.

"The most macro beer we have on tap is probably Modelo or Rainier," says owner Zach Millar. "We've designated only one tap for the [big name] beers, and we'll probably have things like Olympia or PBR." Just don't expect things like Bud Light or anything MillerCoors.

In addition to beer, soda, and cider, The Dram Shop also offer wines by the bottle and by the glass. They also sell bottles of beer to-go or for onsite consumption. Due to licensing, customers must order the bottle they want from the display or case; one cannot just pick it up and pay for it. 

The Dram Shop has a different character than some of Missoula's other "watering holes." Its modern decor, white-tiled backdrop and stainless steel tap station fits well with today's modern craft beer drinker. Another difference is its family-friendliness. Montana's breweries have long been noted for their welcoming atmosphere for families and kids, and The Dram Shop has embraced that too. With a corner play area (and being across the street from SpectrUM Discovery Area), it won't be uncommon to find a similar crowd as one finds at Draught Works.

The Millars noted as much back in October 2014 in a Missoula Independent interview: "We have two daughters, so we want it to be a family friendly place,” Zach says. “We’re going to have a play area for kids in here, and we want the atmosphere to be laid back, like a taproom atmosphere. That’s our goal. A place where people are comfortable bringing their kids, having a snack, filling a growler and going home—or staying for longer, if they want to."

When we checked out The Dram Shop yesterday (I was hanging out with Alan from Growler Fills), Zach Millar was the first to tell us that his draft list isn't nearly as polished as he aims it to be. "Honestly, there's not one special order beer on the list. We were so focused on getting the place ready to be opened we just picked the best beers that were fresh and immediately available."

Still, their goal is to offer choices other bars in Missoula don't. (For instance, they have a Carter's beer on tap). Of course there are local beers available too, such as Great Burn's Comet IPA and Big Sky's Pygmy Owl. Interesting to note: during the shop's soft opening on Thursday night, Pygmy Owl was the "most poured" beer of the evening. 

The Dram Shop is off and running. If you're in Missoula, stop by and check it out.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Pre-Order a Montana Cap Map and Support Missoula Craft Beer Week

Montana Cap Map
Montana Cap Map - Pre-order for May delivery. $39.00
The fine and creative folks at Beer Cap Maps, Jesse and Steve, are busy, busy making some incredible gear for the beer geeks. In this digital day and age, where many tech-savvy beer drinkers are turning to their smartphones for keeping track of their scores (guilty as charged!), there is a new, classy way to keep track of your libation-related conquests. Behold, the Beer Cap Map.

Jesse and Steve are trying to build up their website sales, as they are only currently stocked in retail locations in three states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Missouri). They have a goal of making Beer Cap Maps for all 50 states by May 1, and now they have included our great state of Montana!

The premise is simply beautiful. Instead of large bottles amassing dust on shelves and floors everywhere, or red SOLO cups filled with buried bottle caps, a craft beer drinker can proudly display their colorful cap collection from beers they consumed from different states. Sure, this rules out all those draft-only beers, and cans, but there is something timeless about the beer bottle.

What I like about these Beer Cap Maps is that you can use them to display older bottle caps too. Perhaps you have an original Highlander bottle cap, or something from Kessler Brewing Co. out of Helena. Plug them in the general vicinity of the brewery and it serves as a three-dimensional beer travel journal (better yet, get this AND a Montana Brewery Passport).

Here's the best news! Jesse and Steve are offering our readers to get and give. If you pre-order your Montana Beer Cap Map (for May delivery), and you use the coupon/promo code "newhouse" some portion of the proceeds will be donated to Missoula Craft Beer Week! What a deal!

Here are the specs for the Montana Beer Cap Map:
25" wide, 14" tall
92 unique cap-holding holes

Monday, February 9, 2015

Beer is for Lovers: V-Day Specials in Montana

It's true, Valentine's Day is the premier holiday to spend time with those we love. So let's take a moment to say the words: "I love you IPA." "I love you Russian Imperial Stout." "Yes, I really do love you, American Wild Ale." Feel better?

Of course, sometimes you might want to share your love of beer with your significant other. Thankfully, there are a few Montana craft breweries that are serving up just the right occasion to do so.

If you know of any more, please leave a comment below!

Valentine's Day Fourplay at Draught Works - Missoula


Stop by Draught Works anytime between noon and 9pm to get your tickets – only $12.50/person in advance! Have questions? Call Draught Works at 406-541-1592.


Beer and Chocolate Lovers at Wildwood Brewery - Stevensville


Just Added:

Lolo Peak Brewing Co. is taking reservations (act quick, it's already near capacity!) for its six course evening of food and beer. And the next time you're in, ask for a "Chocolate Covered Huckleberry," pictured on the right. Ooh la la!

What I'd really like to do, though, is organize a variant of this run and call it CUPID'S Beer Undie Run. Who's with me?! 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Black Eagle Brewery Joins the Ranks of Montana Craft Breweries

Soaring into Montana's vibrant beer scene, Black Eagle Brewery (adjacent to Pit Stop Tavern & Raceway Cafe) is serving and kegging beer north of Great Falls, Montana.

"We've been planning this for over a year and a half," says partner and head brewer, Jason Lehman. "We have a new 15-barrel system that was made for us in Nebraska, so we'll be able to distribute kegs right away."

With this volume, Black Eagle Brewery already fills its own taproom and has beers available at the Pit Stop Tavern. The starting lineup includes: Smoke Stack Scottish Ale, Black Eagle IPA, Roe River Pale Ale, Smelter Men Blonde Ale, and Copper Nail Nut Brown Ale.

Lehman is somewhat of a homebrewer-turned-pro, but he had a little help from the other side of Montana.

"Paul Roys from Lolo Peak Brewery was instrumental in helping us get the brewhouse set up," says Lehman.

"Our theme is very industrial," he continues, "which reflects what Black Eagle was built on, and what Great Falls was built on." That is evident with the copper and custom woodwork throughout the brewery and taproom. Lehman knows that nearly everyone in Black Eagle has some ties to the smelter. He even had someone bring in a copper nail from the smelter and asked it be used in the brewery.

With the ability to produce up to 2,000 barrels of beer annually, Black Eagle Brewery might not be too far off from distributing their beers beyond taproom sales and kegs.

"We've been in communication with Spokes Mobile Canning [the Spokane-based mobile canner]," Lehman says, "but we may also get our own canning line before long."

So when you're out Great Falls way, stop in and check out the newest brewery in the area, and the first for Black Eagle.

The brewery plans to have a grand opening celebration on Super Bowl Sunday, February 1, 2015.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

News on Bigfork's new Flathead Lake Brewery

   Normally, given the opportunity, I would have visited the brewery and spoken with the owners personally to report on this, but the Flathead Beacon beat me to it.  The Flathead Beacon has limited distribution, so if you live outside of the Flathead, odds are you didn't read the great piece that Tristan Scott wrote concerning the new brewery in Bigfork.  So, in the spirit of keeping Montanans informed about the craft beer scene in Montana, I'm going to republish the Flathead Beacon's story here for the rest of Montana to enjoy.  If you would prefer, you can go directly to the Flathead Beacon's website and read the article there, here's the link.


   "BIGFORK – Overlooking the shores of the largest freshwater lake in the West, it’s easy to see why the owners of Flathead Lake Brewing Company are committed to building an environmentally sustainable brewery.
The jaw-dropping views afforded at the new brewery and brew pub site in Bigfork, scheduled to open next month, are a constant reminder of the pristine watershed that the brewery is perched above, and of the stewardship responsibilities that a business owner takes on in the region.
Imagining sipping a beer and noshing appetizers on the wraparound deck that faces Flathead Lake, lead brewer Tim Jacoby says the job has its perks, and that the new facility’s efficient design converts them into a guiltless pleasure.
“It’s a pretty big responsibility running a business here, and we are really proud of the engineering that went into this building. You can feel good about this because it’s environmentally sustainable,” Jacoby said.
Located just five miles north of the company’s popular Woods Bay brewery, the new site serves several purposes – it allows the brewery to ramp up production after years of lagging behind market demands for its tasty, award-winning beer; it provides space for a cannery line; and it puts the company at the fore of a movement to build sustainable, eco-friendly businesses.
The theory is simple: Great beer calls for quality ingredients, and quality ingredients require a healthy environment. So, building a sustainable brewery yields better beer, right?
That’s why at the new brewery, everything is recycled, reused and reclaimed, right down to the menus and ceiling fans (the latter are made from old jib sails that ferried ships around Flathead Lake).
It’s also one of the few Flathead County businesses to build according to standards administered by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), an accrediting program established by the U.S. Green Building Council to change the way businesses design, construct and operate their buildings and communities.
And after two years, the waiting has been the hardest part.
Since 2012, the Bigfork brewpub has been renovating an old bowling alley near the heart of Bigfork, improving the vacant site with its model for sustainability.
“This has been a long time coming, and a big reason we haven’t opened yet is because this building project has been so time consuming,” said Sandy Johnston, who owns the brewery with her father, Greg Johnston. “There are a lot of hoops we had to go through, but we wanted to get it right.”
Formerly, the site had no storm water infrastructure and potentially contaminated surface run-off was allowed to flush downhill into the lake. The Johnstons are improving the conditions by designing the roof and parking lots so that the vast majority of storm water will be collected and cleaned as it runs down to the aquifer.
Remodeling the bowling alley has also required intensive demolition work, but the owners have been able to divert waste from the landfill by sorting and re-purposing demolition materials, which were reused in the finished building, including 100 percent of the insulation.
The old windows, doors, ceiling tiles and duct work were donated to Habitat for Humanity, while scrap steel was donated to local groups to sell for fundraising.
Concrete was crushed and offered as clean fill for local projects, while building and interior design materials for the Bigfork facility were selected with preference toward regional and recycled sources. All of the brick was reclaimed from old buildings in Spokane, and the pub entryway was fashioned from a historic bridge that once crossed the nearby Swan River.
All of the lumber was locally sourced, and the furniture by the local company Vinoture is made from old wine barrels.
“Instead of this stuff going into landfills we have reused it,” Johnston said. “All of the wood was dredged out of Montana rivers.”
Four solar collectors on the roof help soak up rays to heat water for the brewery and kitchen, while spent grain is given to local farms where it is used as feed for livestock.
The brewery and adjacent pub house and restaurant will operate as separate entities. While the new brewery facility will be responsible for the bulk of production, the Woods Bay brewery will be used to create new and experimental styles of beer, like sours.
Jacoby, the lead brewer, said the new brewery facility is a dream come true for a craft beer maker. He’s been spending most of his time “flavor matching” the beers at the Woods Bay brewhouse to the beers brewed at the new facility, which uses a unique geothermal system – instead of heating the beer wort with flame, he uses recycled steam.
The facility borrows clean effluent from the nearby Bigfork Water and Sewer District and uses it to run several water furnace heat pumps, which, among other things, boils the beer wort. The equipment provides heating and cooling for the building and brewing processes, and provides yet another renewable source of energy.
As time passes and growth continues, the brewery will continue adding fermenters until it reaches capacity. It currently has eight 60-barrel tanks.
“This new location will really open the doors for us as far as style and creativity is concerned. We will now have the space to play, experiment, and brew all of our styles year-round,” Jacoby said.
The brewery is also set to begin canning some of its most popular styles – the Centennial IPA, Bufflehead Brown and Wild Mile Wheat.
“Everything we do here is to conserve energy,” Jacoby said.
Johnston hopes to open the doors to the pub house’s main floor in mid-January, though a date has not yet been set. The entire facility, which includes a game room with two golf simulators, will open by the fall.
“We’re excited to get this open to the public and show everyone what we’ve been doing,” she said."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Montana Breweries, Bottle Shops, and Books Turn to Crowdfunding

By midnight tonight The Hawthorne Bottle Shop's IndieGoGo fundraising page will end, and the bottle shop will receive funding for the next phase of its project (121% funded at the time of writing). The effort was to raise $20,000 to "uncork the first bottle at our local wine store and wine bar in Helena, Montana!" They succeeded.

According to the fundraising page, The Hawthorne Bottle Shop will offer the following services:

  • Wine from around the world
  • Bottles for $10 and under
  • Open bottles to sample each day
  • Craft beer
  • Growler fills, wine and beer on tap
  • Specialty meats and cheeses
  • Olives, nuts and honey
  • Monthly wine and cheese club
  • Wines by glass
  • Beer by the pitcher
  • Wine flights
  • Wine and beer cocktails
  • Small plates including cheese, charcuterie (“shar-kood-aree”), house made crackers, dips and spiced nuts
A focal point of The Hawthorn is a long communal tasting table where we will host wine seminars and tastings.  We will also welcome other wine professionals and winemakers to share their wine and their story.  We will offer a variety of classes to challenge both the seasoned wine enthusiast and those who are just starting to get excited about wine. This table and space will also be made available for custom wine-inspired events and tastings (business meetings, bridal gatherings, birthday parties, etc.)

Earlier this year, both Katabatic Brewing Co. and Imagine Nation Brewing (formerly Big Medicine Brewing) turned to Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, respectively, to fundraise for portions of their brewery operations. And both were successful. 

Even a project tied directly to Montana Beer Finder, the Montana Brewery Passport, was successful in raising $5,500 in order to come to fruition. 

And currently in the fundraising process is Backslope Brewing, which is seeking $12,500 by January 3, 2015 to "to create a positive experience for everyone who drinks our beer or visits our tasting room." If you don't already know, Backslope Brewing purchased the former Desert Mountain Brewing Company equipment when it went under. Part of that equipment was on loan to Bonsai Brewing in the interim. 

Backslope Brewing, however, will not do business in the previous brewery's location. They found a building site at 1107 9th St. W. (see below). The four barrel brew system will get them up and running, and they plan to offer five beers on tap at a time, according to their fundraising page: 

Backslope Brewing will strive to keep 5 beers on tap at all times: Pale Ale, IPA, Kolsch, Porter, and Stout. We will also have seasonal and rotating taps, including Scotch Ale, Ginger Beer, Imperial IPA, Imperial Stout, Barley Wine, and various Belgian styles such as Dubble, Tripple, and Saison. We have also acquired a few barrels from a local distillery, (thanks Glacier Distilling!) and will be running a small barrel aging program.

Photo courtesy Backslope Brewing Kickstarter

The Backslope Brewing Kickstarter is just over 25% funded, as of today. As with other Kickstarter projects, no money is provided unless the project is 100% funded by the deadline. 

Nationally, there are now two more alternatives for crowdfunding beer/brewery-related projects. (currently limited to investing in Wisconsin projects) and opened "shop" to help brewers open breweries and make beer. These new crowdfunding sources sprang up, likely in part, due to restrictions that have existed in the past on IndieGoGo and Kickstarter that discouraged people seeking money to open businesses. The original intention was to fund "artists" of all types to create projects (i.e. make something). For a brewery's sake, it does make beer, so that is something. IndieGoGo and Kickstarter have relaxed those rules a bit more recently.

However, there can be a dark side when it comes to crowdfunding and breweries. In Fortune magazine's October edition, a piece ran called "The perils of crowdfunding a beer." 

The article led with the story how Stone Brewing Co. raised $2.5 million in six weeks to sell "beer futures," though that in itself carried some controversy, notably because Stone Brewing tried calling it a "presales event" instead of "fundraising" (read the comments on the above link). But...they were using a fundraising website, right? So it looks like one thing, yet you call it another? 

Later in the Fortune article it describes that over 800 beer-related projects were launched on Kickstarter, and each of those had higher success rates with funding than the rate of their overall site.

But then there come the poster childs of crowdfunding-gone-wrong. Both a Kansas City- and Texas-based brewery received tens of thousands of dollars from backers, but neither got a brewery open, nor did they give any of the money back. To be fair, the Texas brewery opened for a very short time and then got closed down because of "naked game night," but it is yet to reopen.  

The questions that the article asks, and any potential backer of a project should ask, include: is this a transparent operation? Can I reasonably expect to get the return they promise? Should I fund it even if it fails? Is the business looking to crowdfunding as a "way out" of securing more tradition sources of funds (i.e. personal investment and bank loans)?

Is this all a new way of saying that "beer is social," as my friend at Growler Fills likes to say? Please discuss in the comments below.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Harvest Montana Brewfest in Great Falls

Harvest Montana Brewfest
A new brewfest is appearing in Montana, and Great Falls is the host city. Presented by and in conjunction with the Harvest Montana Grain Conference*, the Montana-only Harvest Montana Brewfest will take place on Friday November 21, 2014 at the Best Western Plus Heritage Inn from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. Only 400 tickets are available for this premiere event. Each ticket is $50 and includes unlimited tastings.

Organizing the brewfest is Evan Bowser, owner of Bowser Brewing Co. The Harvest Montana Brewfest, however, will be quite different than a “typical” Montana brewfest.

“We’re flying in certified beer judges from all around the country to judge Montana’s beers,” says Evan Bowser. “This will eliminate any unintentional biases toward host city breweries, and the beers will be judged based solely on their merits. We’ll award gold, silver, and bronze.”

“I’m also requiring that any Montana brewery that wants their beer judged must send an owner or brewer so the attendees will get to engage with the brewery and their beer more personally,” says Bowser. “This will add value to the ticket price. We’ll be advertising the event in national magazines and up into Canada.”

Bowser has sent out invitations to all Montana’s breweries, and so far he’s received over a dozen positive responses, including from a few breweries that don’t typically pour at in-state brewfests.

“The breweries have told me they appreciate the fact that we’ll have BJCP judges on hand,” says Bowser.

“There will also be many elected state officials at the conference, and we’ve invited all of them to attend the brewfest afterwards,” says Bowser. “This will give them a chance to meet the brewers and craft beer fans, and vice versa, before we enter into another legislative session next year.”

The list of judges brought in for the event (as listed on the event page):

Bill Downs lives in Durango, Colorado. He is a BJCP Certified Beer Judge, home brewer and a Beer Journalist for the Rocky Mountain Brewing News. He also blogs [www. homebrewingnews .com] and is the author of 12 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Homebrewing.

Steve Luke is the Lead Brewer for Elysian Brewing in Seattle, Washington. He runs the experimental brewhouse at the Elysian Fields location. Previously, he was the Head Brewer for Rogue's Issaquah Brewhouse, the Cambridge House Brewpub in Connecticut, and a brewer for Allagash Brewing in Portland, Maine. He has judged at the Great American Beer Festival since 2011.

Janet Hinkel has judged the National IPA Championship, the National Imperial IPA Championship, and the Global Warming Open since the inception of each beer competition. Janet is the former and original writer for the Beer Beacon, a snarky and honest tasting column in the Great Lakes Brewing News. While she no longer proselytizes in print, she will tell you how it is whether you want her to or not. Some of Janet’s fans call her the Original Beer Bitch, but it’s not true. She’s the Buffalo Beer Bitch, the East Coast counterpart to the West Coast legend. Janet now lives in Springfield, Oregon, where she refuses to denounce her East Coast beer roots.

Charlie Gottenkieny has been brewing since 1988 and is the only two-time winner of the AHA's Homebrewer of the Year award. He has been part of the Beer Judge Certification Program since 1994 and is a National-level beer judge. He is co-founder of Better Beer Scores, LLC, a webinar-based company that specializes in preparing beer judges for the BJCP exam. Charlie is opening an artisanal brewery in Denver, Colorado, in 2015.

Ron Carlson is a commercial beer judge living in Brooklyn, New York. He represents Pennsylvania's Voodoo Brewery, and has judged the National IPA Challenge and the Global Warming Open international competition since their inception.

Jamie Magee lives in Natick, Massachusetts. His beer journey began in Düsseldorf in 1984. He passionately discovered the newly minted microbrew scene at home, first in Colorado, where he was a journalism student; then in New England, where he worked in the publishing industry. He is a co owner of several Brewing News papers as well as American Brewer. Jamie's beer judging resume includes the the National IPA Championship, the Great International Beer Festival and the Alpha King Challenge.

Jen Schwertmann has been professionally involved in the Craft Beer world for over 20 years, having spent time behind notable beer bars in Denver, Colorado and New York City, before recently settling in Santa Barbara. She has started Jen Schwertman Consulting LLC, in order to help train bars and restaurants in the successful promotion of craft beer. The runner-up for Beer Drinker of the Year, in 2013, Jen is currently working on her BJCP certification.

Bill Metzger is the publisher of the Brewing News papers and owner of the Old First Ward Brewing Company, in Buffalo, New York. He is the founder of the National IPA Challenge and the Global Warming Open competitions. He also coordinates the judging for the Alpha King Challenge. Bill has judged in all of these, as well as over 100 home brew competitions.

*The Inaugural Harvest Montana Grain Conference is co-presented by Montana Farmers Union and the Lake County Community Development Corporation. It will “bring folks together from sectors of the grain industry to expand the grain, pulse, and oilseed economy through collaboration and business development, leading to additional profit retention and job creation in communities across the state.”  

Full disclosure: as a member of the "media," this author has been offered a free media ticket to attend the brewfest if he can/wishes.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

6th Annual Montana Brewers Fall Festival Returns to Missoula Oct. 11

6th Annual Montana Brewers Fall Festival 2014

The 6th Annual Montana Brewers Fall Festival returns for its seasonal pilgrimage to Missoula on Saturday October 11, 2014. And this year they are set to break records! 33 Montana breweries will be pouring 137 Montana-made craft beers.

Sponsored by the Montana Brewers Association, this brewfest features the best from its member-breweries. It also gives craft beer fans a chance to try new beers from new breweries, as Missoula's Caras Park will be host to Montana beers from as far east as Wibaux (Beaver Creek), as far west as Libby (Cabinet Mountain), as far south as Dillon (Beaverhead Brewing), and as far north as Eureka (HA Brewing).

Tickets for the event are on pre-sale now for $20 ($25 at the gate). Different than last year, the event is now featuring unlimited tastes for the entry fee. Tickets can be purchase online, or at Draught Works, Great Burn Brewing, or Lolo Peak Brewing (which is also hosting a contest for two VIP tickets - see below).

VIP tickets are $30 in advance ($35 at the gate) and gets members in an hour earlier than general admission. Regular entry will start at 3:00 p.m. at Caras Park. However, Brew Crew Members can also get in at the VIP hour for regular price. Just bring your card!

Here is the full schedule for the day's events: 
2:00 - 3:00 VIP and Brew Crew Card Early Entry with music from Missoula's own Tom Catmull
2:30 - Judging Begins- Zoo City Zymurgists
3:00 - Brewers Unveil first batch of 2014 Festival Release Beer
3:30 - 5:30 music from The Growlers
5:30 - Judging Results Announced
6:00 - Second Batch of 2014 Festival Release Beer
6:00 - 8:00 music from Cure for the Common
8:00 - Festival Ends- get home safely and ask for help if you need it. Why not contact Tap Room Tours?

Now for the beer! Here's the full list (and below is a printable version):
Bayern Brewing, Missoula 
Oktoberfest, Bavarian Dark M?rzen 6.0%
Groomer, Winterm?rzen 5.3%
Montana Helles Lager, Helles 5.6% 

Redheaded IPA, IPA 7.3%
Paddlefish Stout, Stout 6.3% 

Snowcrest Dark Lager, Lager 6.0%
Whitetail Whit, Belgian White 5.0%
Beaverslide IPA, India Pale Ale 6.77%
Snowcrest Dark Lager, Lager 6.0%
Pioneer Porter, Porter 6.0%

Bitter Root Brewing, Hamilton  
Doppelbock, Doppelbock 7.2%
Summit IPA, Northwest IPA 6.2%
Single Hop, NW Pale Ale 6.3%
Last Cast, Black IPA 6.5%

Helambic, Lambic Style Sour Ale 7.6%
Imperial Singlemalt IPA, Imperial IPA 9.8%
Organic IPA, India Pale Ale 7.8%
1864 Old Ale, Early American Ale 5.7%

Blacksmith Brewing Company, Stevensville  
Hop Logger IPL, India Pale Lager 7.1%
Oktoberfestbier, (amber lager) 5.8%
Baltic Porter Baltic Porter 7.7%

Bowser Brewing, Great Falls  
Whyte Lady Double IPA, Double IPA 10.0%
Chip Off the OL Scotch, Scotch Ale 7.8%
Double IPA, Double IPA 10.0%
Spring Cleaning Monster, Aged Barleywine 9.8%
Kendall Gold, Dortmunder Lager 6.0%
Black Bison Coffee Stout, Stout 6.8%
Vanilla Bourbon Stout, Russian Imperial Stout 11.0%

Bozone Berliner Weisse, Berliner Weisse 3.0%
Terroir Local Fresh Hop, Fresh or Wet Hop Ale 7.0%
Bozone Nitro Stout, Dry Irish Stout 4.5%
Bozone Select Amber, American Style Amber 5.5%
Bozone Hefeweizen, Wheat w/Yeast 5.4%
Hopzone IPA, American Style IPA 7.0%
Bozone Plum St. Porter, Robust Porter 6.0% 

Bridger Brewing, Bozeman 
Vigilante IPA, American IPA 6.7%
Ghost Town Coffee Stout, Coffee Stout 5.0%
Lee Metcalf Pale Ale, American Pale Ale 5.5%
Bobcat Brown Ale, English-style Brown Ale 5.0%

E.S.P. (Extra Special Pumpkin) TBD%
Yaak Attack IPA, Northwest IPA 6.6%
Ross Creek Red, American Amber 6.4% 

Canyon Creek Brewing, Billings
One Night Stand, Blonde 5.0%
Cold Creek Scottish, Scottish Ale 5.5%
Beer Henge Hefe, American Hefeweizen 5.5%
C4 IPA, American IPA 6.0%
Draught Works Brewery, Missoula
Heart of Darkness Black IPA, Black IPA 5.7%
Scepter Head IPA IPA 6.1%
The Rut, Oktoberfest Lager 6.2%
That's What She Said Cream Ale 5.7%

Flathead Lake Brewing Company, Bigfork
Montucky Sour Brown, Belgian-style Flanders 6.2%
Bufflehead Brown, American Brown Ale 6.2%
The Imperial, Imperial IPA 8.9%
Flathead Lake American Sour, Sour Ale 5.0%
American Sour w/ Cherries, Sour Ale 6.4%
 The Front, Great Falls
Sunset IPA, Fresh Hop IPA (citra) 7.2%
Mountain Man, Strong Ale 6.8%
Punkin Rye, Pumpkin and Rye Ale 8.8%
CocoBrown Brown Ale Aged On Coconut 5.9%
Gelgian golden, Belgian 6.8%
Citra IPA, West Coast IPA 6.2%

 Great Northern Brewing Company, Whitefish
Frog Hop Fresh Hopped Pale Ale, 5.5%
Great Northern Oktoberfest, Marzen 5.75%
Good Medicine, Strong Red Ale 7.5%
Wild Huckleberry, Wheat Lager 4.75%

Higherground Brewing Company, Hamilton
Borderland Sour, American Sour 5.8%
Hula Hopped IPA, IPA 8.5%
Hurruh Scotch Ale, Scotch Ale 7.2%
Flash Flood Milk Stout, Milk Stout 6.0%
Homestead Ales, Eureka
Autumnal Saison, Open Top Saison 7.1%
Big Creek Porter Porter 5.8%

Kalispell Brewing Company, Kalispell
Two Ski Brewski, Pilsner 5.2%
Winter at Noon, Dunkel 5.1%
Cloudcroft IPA 7.3%
Snowslip Stout 6.7%
Katabatic Brewing Company, Livingston
Katabatic Scotch Ale, Scotch Ale 7.5%
Katabatic IPA, IPA 7.7%
Katabatic American Pale Ale, 6.2%
Katabatic American Hefeweizen, 5.7%

Lewis & Clark Brewing Company, Helena
Sleepy Hallow Stout, Foreign Stout 6.9%
Lewis & Clark Lager, Martzen 5.5%
Neighborhood IPA, Fresh Hop IPA 6.3%
Whole Flower Prickly, American Pale Ale 5.3%

Lolo Peak Brewing Company, Lolo
3 Needles IPA, American IPA 6.2%
AlpenGlow Wheat, Ale American Wheat Ale 4.7%
Shadow Darner Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest 7.4%
KooKooSint ESB, Extra Special Bitter 4.7%

Madison River Brewing Company, Belgrade
Green Emerger, Fresh Hop 6.2%
Salmon Fly Honey Rye, Honey Rye 5.4%
Hopper, Pale Pale 6.0%
Dropper IPA, IPA 6.5%
October Caddis, Oktoberfest Lager 5.8%

Meadowlark Brewing, Sidney
Squashtoberfest Field Beer, Oktoberfest 6.5%
Raspberry Wit, Fruit Beer 4.5%
Ole Gus, Scotch Rye Wee Heavy 7.00 
Mighty Mo Brewing Company, Great Falls
Russian Imperial Stout, RIS 10.0%
Dam Fog, American Hefeweizen 5.0%
Rising Trout, American Pale Ale 5.4%
MoToberfest, Oktoberfest/Marzen 5.0%

Neptune's Brewery, Livingston
Skellington's Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest 6.3%
Dirty Bird APA, American Pale Ale 7.6%
Chocolate Cream Porter, Porter 7.7%

Outlaw Brewing, Belgrade
Alt-toberfest, German Alt 6.0%
Passive Aggressive Pale Ale (PAPA), 6.8%
Irish Cream Ale Cream Ale 5.4%
Dunkelweizen Dunkelweizen 4.0%
Goemon's Gold Honey Lemon Ginger Braggot 6.6%

Philipsburg Brewing Company, Philipsburg
Black Pine IPA, Black IPA 7.2%
Headframe Bourbon Barrel Stout, 11.0%
Corners Porter, Coffee Porter 6.6%
Silver Chief IPA, IPA 7.3%
Rope Swing Saizon, Saizon 5.5%
Razzu Raspberry Wheat, Fruit Beer 5.2%

Quarry Brewing, Butte
Ironstone IPA Imperial IPA 8.4%
Gneiss IPA American IPA 6.8%
Open Cab Copper Irish Red 5.2%
Opal Oktoberfest Marzen/Octoberfest 5.1%
Tamarack Brewing Company, Lakeside
Bine Hopper White I.P.C., 6.6%
Hat Trick Hop IPA, American IPA 7.0%
Yard Sale Amber Ale, Amber/Red 5.5%
Tamaracktoberfest Barrel Lagered SMaSH, 4.8%
Elk Snort Scotch Ale, Cherrywood Smoked 6.8%
Sip 'n Go Naked, Apricot Hefeweizen 5.5%
Local Yokel Double IPA, Double IPA 8.75%
Tom's Lonesome XPA, 7.1%

Triple Dog Brewing Company, Havre
Fend For Your Own Rye P-A, India Rye Pale Ale 6.2%
Duck Face IPA, Imperial IPA 9.2%
American Mutt Pale Ale, Pale Ale 6.9%
Dumpster Diver Stout, Stout 6.3%

überbrew, Billings
Sticke German Style, Sticke 7.57%
Humulus Insani, Double IPA 8.6%
Black Hops 2, Double Black IPA 9.0%
Alpha Force, American Style IPA 7.71%
White Noise, American Style Hefeweizen 5.7%
The Great Pumpkin Massacre, 6.73%

Wildwood Brewing Company, Stevensville
Organic Bodacious Bock, German Bock Lager 7.5%
Organic Ambitious Lager, Munich Style Pale Lager 5.0% 

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