Wednesday, July 16, 2014

When Travel Writers Fall in Love with Montana

A few weeks back, I was asked to help lead a group of travel writers/bloggers on a one-day excursion to four Missoula breweries and its distillery. The tour was part of Tap Room Tours, and it was the brainchild of Glacier Country Montana.

Needless to say, we had a great day. It was a treat to hang out with fellow writers and people who clearly loved Montana (and its alcohol!). I encourage you to read through each blogger's adventures, but here are a few photo snippets as a teaser.





Monday, July 14, 2014

Tap Routes Living the Montana Dream of Many

Jeff and Katie of Montana's Tap Routes are spending a year living the dream of many in Montana...they have set out to visit all of the state's craft breweries and write about their travels on their blog. About a week ago they stopped by Missoula and spent time with Ryan Newhouse, founder of Montana Beer Finder (read about their Missoula trip).

Started in April 2014, Tap Routes was hatched while having a beer at Philipsburg Brewing Company, soon after the couple relocated back to Montana from Salt Lake City. Jeff originally hails from South Carolina, and Katie is a Bozeman native. As writers, they wanted to mix their passions with their talents, so off they went to try the state's best beers at all the breweries.

They are doing a fantastic job of capturing the moments that happen at the breweries they visit, as well as giving due credit to the beers they drink. What they already knew well and are recording is that breweries are reflections of their communities and contribute to enriching the lives of locals (and tourists).

Support their project via Tap Routes' "Beer Me" program. They deserve a cold one or two.

Good luck, Jeff and Katie!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America Mixed Pack Hits Montana

Montana Beer Finder was informed by Summit Beverage, distributor of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., that its long-awaited mixed 12-packs are landing in stores today. Supply is very limited and likely won’t last through the weekend (only 80 12-packs hit all of Missoula).

What makes this 12-pack so unique and beer-budget worthy is that it gives us “beer geeks” a chance to try 12 different collaborations between Sierra Nevada and many breweries that NEVER get their beers into Montana.

The 12-pack is made up of 10 bottles and two cans, and the release is “one-time only,” according to Sierra Nevada, a first in craft beer.

In conjunction with this release, Sierra Nevada is launching a seven-city tour across America (closest it’s coming to MT is Denver), where they are partnering with 700 breweries and pouring beers at every festival stop along the way.

The Beer Camp project started back in 2008 and since has invited distributors, brewery owners, journalists and a few lucky consumers to Northern California for a hands-on brewing weekend with Sierra Nevada's pilot system. The top brews were made on a larger scale and released each spring in a highly anticipated Beer Camp variety pack.

For this release, however, Sierra Nevada went much, much bigger, partnering with 12 renowned craft breweries from all over the country.


If you want to know what’s inside this limited 12-pack, here’s the full list:

Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME | Myron’s Walk Belgian-Style Pale Ale

Asheville Brewers Alliance, Asheville, NC | Tater Ridge Scottish Ale

Ballast Point Brewing Company, San Diego, CA | Electric Ray India Pale Lager

Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Kalamazoo, MI | Maillard’s Odyssey Imperial Dark Ale

Cigar City Brewing, LLC, Tampa, FL | Yonder Bock Tropical Maibock (CAN)

Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA | Torpedo Pilsner

New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus, WI | There and Back English-Style Bitter

Ninkasi Brewing Company, Eugene, OR | Double Latte Coffee Milk Stout

Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, CO/Brevard, NC | CANfusion Rye Bock (CAN)

Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, CA | Yvan the Great Belgian-Style Blonde

3 Floyds Brewing Co., Munster, IN | Chico King Pale Ale

Victory Brewing Company, Downingtown, PA | Alt Route Altbier

Hey, if you don’t manage to snag a 12-pack of your own, or land a seat at a beer tasting with someone who did get one, don’t fret, The Rhino (just voted Missoula’s Best Beer Selection!) got a 1/6th barrel of each of the 12 beers and will do a Sierra Nevada Base Camp TAP TAKEOVER on Wednesday July 30, starting at 4:00 p.m. until all the kegs are dry. Can you say SWEET! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Spokes Mobile Canning Visits Montana Breweries

Abbie Speer and Amanda Mead, founders of Spokes Mobile Canning of Spokane, Washington, recently made a pilgrimage through Montana to visit some of the state’s craft breweries and inform them about their business, which offers canning services and solutions.

“We put out a call to over two dozen Montana breweries,” says Speer, “and over a dozen responded with interest in meeting us.” Over a week the duo met with breweries as far east as Red Lodge, hitting breweries all along I-90, then north and south of Missoula and Helena.

Launched in February 2014, the mobile canning system, with its four-head filler capable of canning eight barrels an hour, is a relatively newer trend in the craft beer community.

“It’s great for breweries that want to can regularly, seasonally, or need emergency canning services,” says Mead.

Montana is not new territory for Speer and Mead. Mead is originally from northeastern Montana (Speer is from Pittsburgh), and the two met while teaching in Bozeman. After relocating for work reasons into the Spokane area, Speer found herself with some unplanned extra time when her job ended. Looking for work and while having a beer one afternoon in the Iron Goat Brewing Co., Mead and Speer were chatting with an employee there who mentioned needing a keg washer. Speer jumped at the opportunity. She quickly moved up the ranks and now brews beer at Iron Goat Brewing Co.

“We the only mobile canner in the nation with an actual brewer owner,” says Speer.
Abbie Speer and Amanda Mead, left to right

Everything that is needed for canning shows up at the brewery’s doorstep in the company’s 18-foot trailer, which includes cans, lids, rings, or Spokes can fill a brewery’s own cans.

From the looks of it, Spokes Mobile Canning won’t be out of Montana for long, which means more cans of Montana craft beer could be hitting the shelves sooner than later.

If you have a need for their mobile canning service, and as their company slogan suggests: “Ask us about our cans!” contact Abbie and Amanda at spokesmobilecanning@gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Montana Brewery Tours Pairs Beer with Whitewater Rafting

Alberton Gorge Montana
via Montana Brewery Tours
Montana is known for its outdoors activities and its exceptional craft beers. Montana Brewery Tours, captained by Dylan Shultz, has wisely brought the two together for two special summer tours. Available only on Friday July 18 and Friday August 8, 2014, participants will raft the whitewater of the Alberton Gorge and stop for appetizers and Montana beers along the way.

The Alberton Gorge offers class II-III rapids, and river-goers will be expertly guided by Lewis & Clark Trail Adventures. If you want to know what you need to bring, other than a thirst for good beer and adventure, Montana Brewery Tours put together a handy Gear List (PDF).

Tickets are available via Registration on the MBT websites and run $99/person, which includes the trip, appetizers, beer, and transportation from Missoula to the Gorge and back. Meet at noon and return by 7:00 p.m.
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