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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