Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Montana Brewery Passport

Montana Brewery Passport
Official #MTBrewPassport Stamp
With great pleasure, I announce the official launch of the Montana Brewery Passport program. The website is live (http://www.montanabrewerypassport.com), as is the official Montana Brewery Passport Facebook page; the passports are available for purchase; and custom stamps are currently being sent to all Montana's breweries. For those who supported the passport's Kickstarter project, those premiums are being fulfilled this week.

What's the Montana Brewery Passport? It is a custom printed journal to keep track of your visits to Montana's craft breweries (all 47, and counting!). Also included in the journal is a glossary of beer terms, a how-to-taste beer guide, common hops, "Did You Know?" quips, how to toast in different languages, and games to play!

Montana Brewery Passport BookEach passport is 48 pages, measures 5"x7" and is printed on post-consumer stock (i.e. 100% recycled and recyclable). They are available online and will soon make their way into select retail outlets and breweries (If you want to carry these at your business, wholesale pricing is available. Contact us.)

To make this a social experience, we are asking that you use the hashtag "#MTBrewPassport" to send in pics and updates via social media. We will stream content on the website and our Facebook page.

A common question we have received about the program is whether there are prizes for those who complete a passport. The short answer is "Yes!". As of today, we are giving away a pair of Montana Beer Finder pint "can" glasses and stamping the passport with the official Montana Brewery Passport logo stamp (at top). We are also considering printing custom t-shirts and will be reaching out to other businesses/breweries to offer occasional incentives for collecting stamps. So stay tuned!

If you're ready to launch your MT brewery adventure, get stocked up with your own passport and sticker at our new website by clicking the button below. Cheers, good luck, and drink on!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Roundup of Montana Beer Events (September 2014)

Just like the onslaught of pumpkin beers every year at this time (which I quite enjoy), so too come a fantastic line-up of beer events, dinners, and brewfests. Further posts will highlight select events, but for today we will post a roundup of what's "on tap" for the Montana craft beer world.

Friday September 5
16th Annual Maverick Brewfest - Missoula Montana
16th Annual Maverick Brewfest - Missoula 
At Caras Park downtown from 4-10 p.m., over 40 beers will be on tap for this fundraising brewfest for the Missoula Athletic Council. $10 gets you in with a commemorative beer glass and two drink tokens. Food is available for purchase.

End of Summer Block Party - Livingston - Neptune's Brewery
Featuring music from The Fossils (they're second-to-last performance), Neptune's is shutting down an alley, pouring beer, and roasting a pig. Running from 5-10 p.m., there will be something for everyone. Facebook event page.

Sunday September 7
Chain Reaction Fresh Hops Festival

3rd Chain Reaction Fresh Hops Festival - Missoula
See our full description.

Germanfest - Missoula
This annual Caras Park event honors Missoula's sister city in Germany, Neckargem√ľnd. As expected, Bayern Brewing is a key sponsor of the event and will be pouring beers. In fact, organizers from the Missoula Cultural Council say the event doesn't start until Jurgen Knoeller, Bayern's owner, taps a wooden barrel. Black Cat Bakery will be on hand selling pretzels and German pastries, and The Shack will be offering bratwursts. For $20 you can order your commemorative stein, which includes a free beer at the event. Runs from 2-6 p.m.

Thursday September 11
Maine Lobster Feast - Big Sky
Inside USA Today's "Top 10 Ski Resort Microbreweries," also known as Lone Peak Brewery, guests can enjoy ALL YOU CAN EAT LOBSTER paired with great beers. Reservations are required. The first seating is 6:00 p.m., and they will include a second 8:00 p.m. seating if needed. Tickets are $45 and include lobster, corn on the cob, and salad. Call the brewery to reserve your spot. 406.995.3939.

Friday September 12
Montana Beer and Wine Festival - Missoula
Called the "Social Event of the Year," Summit Beverage and the Grizzly Scholarship Association are presenting the annual fundraiser, the Montana Beer and Wine Festival, at the Adams Center. Proceeds from this event go toward scholarship assistance. Tickets are $50/person and you must be 21 or older. Tickets can be purchased at the Adams Center, Worden's Market, or at gogriz.com. There will be a silent auction and local Montana artists selling their work. Food samples from Missoula's top chefs and restaurants are also a signature of the event.

Sunday September 14
Craft Beer Dinner - Bozeman - Bozeman Brewing Company
A collaborative dinner between Seasonal Montana and Bozeman Brewing Co., this beer dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available for $65/person. The menu for the three-course meal looks top-notch (prepared by Chef Melissa). 

Saturday September 20
Butte-toberfest - Butte

Back for the 6th year, the Butte-toberfest runs noon - 7 p.m. and will feature craft beers from 17 craft breweries (including the upcoming Muddy Creek Brewing Co. from Butte). Only 1250 glasses are sold for the festival, and it sells out! It is held at 139 W. Park St. in Uptown Butte. Tickets are $15 in advance (available at Quarry Brewing) or $18 day-of. A ticket gets you a glass and four tasting tokens (3 tokens = one full pint). Additional tokens are $1/each. 

P.S. If you come to this one, stop and say hello. I will be selling/signing copies of Montana Beer: A Guide to Breweries in Big Sky Country.

Carter's Brewery 7th Birthday Celebration - Billings
From 4-9 p.m. Carter's Brewery will be celebrating its 7th birthday at the brewery. To mark the event, Carter's will release a hand-bottled Lucky #7 Farmhouse Saison (bottled on 9/4/14). Other "rare" beers will be available, along with food from Lilac. Tickets will go on sale next week and include a tasting glass, food, and a bottle of Lucky #7. 
Courtesy Carter's Brewery Facebook
Lucky #7 Farmhouse Saison
P.S. If any Billings beer geeks want to send a bottle of #7 this way, you will be properly hooked up! ;-)

Thursday/Friday/Saturday September 25-27
The first of two weekends of this famed Oktoberfest kicks off in September. Held at Depot Park in Whitefish, this multi-weekend, three-days-each event will keep your lederhosen jumpin' and your bellies full of beers and food. For the full list of events, check their site
Courtesy http://www.whitefishoktoberfest.com/
Friday September 26
Ales for Trails - Billings
Called "The Best Party in Billings," the 13th annual Ales for Trails kicks off Friday at 5:00 p.m. at Dehler Park in Billings. This brewfest and its sponsors have raised over $400,000 over the years for Billings area trail systems. More than 50 local and regional craft beers will be served up alongside wine, music, and a festive atmosphere. Tickets are $30 and include unlimited beer and wine tastings and a commemorative glass. They can be purchased here.
Ales for Trails - Billings Montana

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

3rd Annual Chain Reaction at Draught Works September 7

3rd Annual Chain Reaction Fresh Hop Festival
Draught Works returns with its annual Chain Reaction Fresh Hop Festival, a bike and brew event in which 100 pounds of fresh hops gets transported via bike race up the Bitterroot Valley to join with freshly milled grains to brew the Chain Reaction Fresh Hop Ale.

The event kicks off on Sunday September 7, 2014 at the Fais Do-Do Farm in Corvallis. 12 teams of riders will haul hops on their bikes in relay fashion to Draught Works (50 miles!). The grains for the Fresh Hop Ale are also milled via bicycle, using a Bitterroot-designed and built GrainMaker grain mill powered by a bicycle. As volunteers pedal, grains get milled.
Draught Works Chain Reaction Milling
Rogue Cow Alert - BRING HOPS!
Draught Works informed us that due to some rogue cattle that got into the hops fields at the farm, nearly half the harvest was lost. If you have hops you'd be willing to donate to the Fresh Hop Ale, please call Draught Works (541-1592) (or message them on Facebook) with what you have and could supply. 
Check out post on last year's Chain Reaction!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

4th Annual Montana Mucker Mud Run September 6

It’s back, it’s muddy, it benefits CASA of Missoula, and it’s sponsored in part by Big Sky Brewing Company. It’s also called an “annual ooey, gooey fundraiser.” The 4th Annual Montana Mucker will get down and dirty on Saturday September 6, 2014 at the Missoula County Fairgrounds. Participants will set off in waves of 200 every 20 minutes, starting at 8:30 a.m.

Never been in a mud run? It looks something like this…
The 5k course includes 24 different challenges, and a moderate level of fitness should suffice for most participants. Those running the course can expect to commando-style rope climbs, hurdles, cargo net climbs, slippery slopes, and lots and lots and lots of mud.

The dress code? Well, that’s up to you. Get funky, get wild, get crazy, or get beery. Water is available at the start/finish, and Big Sky Brewing will have beer available for purchase as well. Although there is a customary “mid-race brewski” on the course, which we imagine will be courtesy Big Sky Brewing.

For the junior muckers out there, a kid-sized version of the race, a.k.a. the Mighty Mucker, will start around 3:00 p.m., restricted to kids six through 12, accompanied by a parent.

It deserves mention that the Montana Mucker is not the other mud race also going on in Missoula the same day. That other race did support CASA of Missoula for its first couple years, but according to CASA of Missoula director, Kristen Vorreyer (as told to the Missoulian), “We were partnered with the Dirty Dash for a couple of years, but we wanted to keep local, and with the Montana Mucker we could do that.”

The Montana Mucker is organized by Big Sky Organic Racing and Events, which is based in Missoula. Other sponsors of the race include presenting sponsor Bob Ward’s, as well as Montana Headwall, Missoula Independent, along with several other businesses and organizations.

Registration for the Montana Mucker is $50 through August 31, then goes to $60 from September 1-6. A “substantial portion” of registrations will go to CASA of Missoula. Find out what you get with your registration on their FAQ. Over 1,000 people have raced in the past , and organizers are planning for 2,000 racers this year.

Want to go? Want to save some money?? All you have to do is leave a comment below thanking your favorite sponsor of the Montana Mucker and send me a message via the contact form or on Facebook and I’ll send you a special discount code, which I’m told gets you $15 off your registration!

JOIN MY TEAM! I’m running at 10:30 a.m. under the team name MONTANA BEER FINDERS. All my team members get a free Montana Beer Finder sticker! WOOT! 

Disclaimer: I was gifted a registration to the Montana Mucker by a sponsor. If you want to run with me, I welcome the company! As stated earlier, I’m running the 10:30 a.m. heat under team name, Montana Beer Finders. Join me!
Ryan Newhouse (right), having run his first mud race in 2012.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Great Burn Brewing Opens in Missoula

Great Burn Brewing in Missoula
Great Burn Brewing, Montana's 47th brewery and Missoula's 5th*, is opening its doors to the public at 3 p.m. on Friday August 29, 2014 at 2330 McDonald Ave. A few of us (and mostly their Mug Clubbers) got a sneak peek last night, along with the chance to sip on their initial line up of beers. Which include:

  • Church Picnic Cream Ale
  • Pale Ale
  • Smoke Chaser Porter (smoked malts)
  • Black Burn Black IPA
  • Belgian Golden
  • Citra IPA
  • Double IPA
Great Burn Brewing in Missoula
Tap list at Great Burn Brewing
Co-owners Greg and Mike Howard (along with Greg's wife, Diana Garret, another partner, Jenny) had always planned to open a brewery with their other brother, Chad, but he passed away in 2009 from brain cancer before that dream could come to fruition. Chad worked as a U.S. Forest Service firefighter with the Lolo Hotshots and Krassel Helitack Crew in Idaho. 

The name of the brewery, Great Burn, is in honor of where Chad fought his first fires. The Howards keep a large picture of their brother in the brewhouse, "so he's always with us," says Mike Howard. 

Mike Howard is the head brewer, and he comes home to Missoula with exceptional brewing experience. He worked at Stone Brewing Co. with Mitch Steele, opened Blacksmith Brewing Co., and worked at Kettlehouse and Bayern Brewing, among others. 

"I call it the 'Frankensystem'," says Mike, and that it is. It is a five-barrel brewhouse with three converted dairy tanks, and parts and pieces that could easily be likened to a trip down Montana brewing history lane. One piece came from Wibaux's Beaver Creek Brewery, which before that came from Milestown Brewing Co. (once owned by Draught Works owner, Jeff Grant's, father), and the brite tank and serving tanks come via Kettlehouse's original system. The custom-built grain mill is operated by a hand drill, which "can mill about 200-300 pounds of grain in 20 minutes," says Mike. 

The total cost Great Burn Brewing spent on its brew system...$40,000.
Great Burn Brewing in MissoulaGreat Burn Brewing in Missoula
Great Burn Brewing in MissoulaGreat Burn Brewing in Missoula
When you get the chance, get down to Great Burn Brewing and taste for yourself Montana's newest craft beers. And raise one in Chad's honor. 


*If you count Kettlehouse as two breweries, that would make Great Burn Brewing Missoula's 6th.

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