Buy Local Beer Campaign launches today

For Immediate Release 

February 9, 2016

Montana Breweries, Taverns and Restaurants Team up for Buy Local Beer Campaign

Beer Lovers Encouraged to Support Local Businesses, Enjoy Montana Craft Beer

Signs reading “Buy Local Beer Here” are showing up on the store fronts of Montana breweries, taverns and restaurants as part of a new campaign to promote Montana craft beer.

“Montana brewers are excited to see more taverns and restaurants getting on board with Montana craft beer. On a basic level it’s about responding to consumer demand, but it’s also about supporting local businesses and keeping more dollars in the local economy,” said Josh Townsley, President of the Montana Brewers Association.

The Montana Brewers Association, Montana Restaurant Association and Montana Tavern Association teamed up for the “Buy Local Beer” campaign.

“Montana taverns are excited to partner with Montana brewers to provide consumers exciting new craft products,” said Jim Johnson, President of the Montana Tavern Association.

With breweries now in over thirty cities and towns across Montana and demand for craft beer on the rise, more bars and restaurants are putting beer from local breweries on tap. What was once a niche market has now expanded into nearly every eatery and watering hole in the State.

“Montana’s restaurant owners are in the business of responding to consumer demand and Montana’s craft brews are very popular.  That’s why we are pleased to help promote the drink local campaign,” said Brad Anderson, Owner of Buffalo Wild Wings in Montana.

The “Buy Local Beer” campaign is also engaging the public and encouraging people to get involved on social media. Craft beer lovers can show their support for Montana craft beer with stickers that are available at taverns, restaurants and breweries participating in the campaign. Craft beer lovers are encouraged to post pictures of their “Buy Local Beer” stickers with the hashtags #BuyLocalBeer and #MTbeer.

“Look out for the ‘Buy Local Beer Here’ sign on store fronts and slap a sticker on your car, bike, skis or boat to show support for Montana craft beer,” said Townsley.

For more information, go to

For PDF images please click here Buy Local Beer images

BLB door sticker (2) BLB oval car sticker (2) BLB MT outline sticker (2)

Thirsty Street, Billings’ latest brewery, to open Feb. 18

Re-posted from Last Best News, by Ed Kemmick, January 31, 2016

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Shea and Jill Dawson are planning a Feb. 18 grand opening for their Thirsty Street Brewing Co. 


Shea and Jill Dawson had been talking about opening a brewery for years.

Shea, who works in finance and public affairs at the Phillips 66 refinery, worked in a handful of places for Phillips, mostly recently New Orleans, before they arrived in Billings a year and a half ago.

They really liked what Billings had to offer, and with twin girls who are now a year old, Shea said, they told each other, “we’ve got to really start thinking of putting our roots down.”

Those roots are now planted at 3008 First Ave. N., home of the new Thirsty Street Brewing Co., which will have its grand opening on Thursday, Feb. 18.

The Dawsons had been prepared to build a brewery from scratch, but they couldn’t resist when their real estate agent, Chuck Platt, told them last summer that Himmelberger Brewing was up for sale. Brewing pioneer Dennis Himmelberger had worked long and hard to renovate the old brick building on First Avenue North, meaning the Dawsons wouldn’t have to do much to get their brewery going.

Himmelberger, who opened his brewery early in 2012, closed at the end of last November, shortly after which Shea started brewing beer to prepare for the opening of Thirsty Street.

“I’ve got 95 kegs back there ready to go,” he said, gesturing to the brewing equipment behind the bar.

The biggest change is that the Dawsons have converted what used to be a coffee shop on the east end of the brewery space into a game room with two dart boards, a shuffleboard table and a pool table. The game room wasn’t something they’d planned on from the start.

“But we’re both pretty into bar games, and that room is just perfect for it,” Shea said. They’re also into sports, so they installed two big-screen TVs, one in the tap room and another in the game room.

They also brought in new tables and stools and covered the long bar with a sheet of copper, topped with a layer of clear glaze. They’ve got a sizable sheet of copper left over. “So,” Jill said, “if you know anyone who needs 800 pounds of copper…”

Jill came up with the brewery’s name, based on its proximity to First Avenue and 30th Street. “If you combine 30th and First, you get ‘thirsty,’ kind of,” she said.

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Thirsty Street Brewing also has a game room, with pool, darts and shuffleboard. 




Originally from New Mexico, both Dawsons have some experience working in bars, Shea as a bartender and Jill as a server. Shea also took a “brewing science” class in college and has been a home brewer for 10 years.

His favorite recipe is for a Belgian Dubbel-style ale that he’ll be serving under the name Dubbel Trubbel. Other beers he’s already got ready are Winterization Pale Ale, made with fresh spruce tips; Staycation IPA, “with tropical undertones”; Goud Times Belgian Blonde; Big Bison American Stout; and Rimrock’d Amber Ale.

He will rotate other beers in from time to time. Thirsty Street will charge $4 for a pint or $3 for a 12-ounce glass of beer, with a dollar off both sizes during a happy hour from 3 to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

The brewery will be open from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 on Sunday. They will be serving hot dogs and sausages from Pioneer Meats in Big Timber, with buns from Grains of Montana.

There is a fenced-off patio in the brewery’s parking lot, which will be open as weather conditions (and some space heaters) allow. Thirsty Street is right next door to Angry Hank’s, one of Billings’ seven breweries.

The Dawsons said they’ve frequented all of the other establishments and enjoy the camaraderie in the brewing community, the sense of shared passion and the idea that lots of options is less about competition than building a bigger audience of people who like good beer.

They’ve already hired three bartenders and will be serving their beer for the first time next weekend during the Taste of Billings at the Billings Depot.

During the grand opening on Feb. 18, they will have happy-hour prices and will be raffling off five “Mug Club” memberships. The memberships, which normally will cost $30, give regulars a fancy mug that can be used every Wednesday for a $2 fill.

Details: For more information on Thirsty Street Brewing, checkout its Facebook page and website.




New Helena brewery picks downtown

Re-posted from the Great Falls Tribune, January 15, 2016.

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The Rye Ale and Red Ale at Ten Mile Creek Brewery on Wednesday. (Photo: TRIBUNE PHOTO/JULIA MOSS)

“We’re working with as many local businesses as we can,” Kohoutek said. “Everyone wins like that. It’s part of building downtown. This walking mall has tons of potential.”

A downtown with two breweries (Blackfoot River Brewing is about four blocks away), bars, restaurants and shops, the scene offers a draw for everyone, he said.

“We want down to be the place Helenians go,” he said. “Between Blackfoot and here, we have seven or eight things to do every night, and that’s great for everyone.”

Blackfoot and Lewis and Clark Brewing Co. were a big help as the young brewers started their venture.

“When the tides rise, all ships go up,” Kohoutek said.

The seasonal beers go fast, Kohoutek said. Besides the coffee porter, this winter the brewery has 16K Winter IPA (9.94 miles or close enough to 10 to fit the theme). The winter IPA is brewed with Montana barley and a three-hop combo.

Always in the rotation are Tree Knocker IPA, 2nd Degree Rye Ale, You Got My Goat Oatmeal Stout and Reginald’s Red Ale. The red ale is Kohoutek’s favorite, though he’s also particularly partial to the oatmeal stout.

“I like them all,” he said. “It’s fun.”

The guys remodeled a historic building downtown on the walking mall. They used beetle-killed trees from MacDonald Pass. The bar and community table are each made from a single tree.

“We recycled five dead trees,” Kohoutek said. “And it looks really cool.”

The brewery’s look is western-industrial, with hardwood floors from the 1920s and correlated metal with a rust patina, the organic lines of the living edge of the bar meets concrete, plus a dose of Montana-cana with an old “Welcome to Montana” highway sign, ski signs and scenic photos.

“We learned woodworking on the fly,” Kohoutek said.

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Kristen Inbody at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @GFTrib_KInbody.

If you go

BREWERY: Ten Mile Creek Brewery

SINCE: 2015

LOCATION: 48 N. Last Chance Gulch, Helena

HOURS: Noon to 8 p.m. daily

TOP BEER: Reginald’s Red Ale


NOTE: Budget enough time to enjoy the neighborhood of downtown Helena. Within a few steps of the brewery is a candy shop, wine bar, ice cream parlor and fancy Italian restaurant.

Butte woman completes Montana Brewery Passport


Re-posted from the Great Falls Tribune, December 15, 2015, by: Kristen InbodyScreen Shot 2015-12-18 at 11.28.49 AM

Miranda Hackman poses with her completed Montana Brewery Passport at CopperWild Brewing in Butte. (Photo: COURTESY PHOTO)

He started with a Kickstarter campaign, raising $5,500 with 105 backers by July 4, 2014. His pitch was that breweries are Montana’s melting pot, bringing together locals and tourists to “taste, talk, and unwind after a day on the trails, slopes, or water. Ranchers sit next to college students; Californians sit next to Montana business owners.”

In the back of his mind was the national parks passport he’d had.

“I hadn’t used it before, but in researching I found it works best when you’re creating a tangible product,” Newhouse said. “Simply, it was a way to pre-sell and to gauge interest, to tell the story and to be upfront about what it is.”

The project created excitement around the passport, and it was a way to fund it without charging breweries.

“I didn’t want it to be pay to play. This seemed like the best way to get 100 percent participation,” Newhouse said. “The stamps are at no charge to them, and they can sell the passports if they want but don’t have to. It’s never cost the breweries a penny to participate.”

Only one brewery doesn’t have a stamp, and that’s because it’s new and the stamp is still in production.

Newhouse said his guidebook to breweries educates people about the stories of each brewery but the passport helps people engage once they’ve arrived at the brewery.

“The book only has 38 breweries whereas we have 62 breweries now open in Montana,” he said. “The book is a little outdated, but I do low print runs with the passport so I keep it up to date.”

The passport also has space to write in new breweries.

Those who finish the passport get a prize, which is still being designed.

Seeing the passport in circulation – he’s sold about 10,000 – has been rewarding, Newhouse said.

He was at a spaghetti dinner in Dillon for a race when a guy sat next to him with a new passport he’d gotten for Father’s Day.

“He was there to get a stamp from Beaverhead Brewing Co.,” Newhouse said. “It was a real small-world moment.”

In Missoula’s Imagine Nation Brewing, the owner of a Helena brewery approached Newhouse.

“We hadn’t met, but he said, ‘Your passport, just love it,’” Newhouse said. “It was a fun moment to have the owner of a brewery give a complement like that.”

Hackman was at Cabinet Mountain Brewing Co., in Libby when she met a woman working on completing her passport by going to every brewery.

“I thought that it sounded like fun and a great way to see Montana. So, I bought one there and started my brewery tour. I would plan a road trip for just about every weekend,” she said. “It also helped that I work four ten-hour shifts so I get three-day weekends.”

Hackman said having the passport made keeping track of her visits and making plans easy.

“I would meet a lot of people at the breweries that would ask me about my passport; a lot of people haven’t heard of them. When I would talk to them about the purpose of the passport and the experiences that I have had, they wanted to buy one for themselves and start their own brewery tour,” she said. “I would also keep notes about each brewery in my passport, which made it easy for me to recommend places and good beer.”

Hackman’s motto is “No good beer is ever too far out of the way.”

That said, some places were far indeed. Her last roadtrip was 1,100 miles, taking in breweries in Havre, Glasgow, Wolf Point and Sidney. She made Butte’s CopperWild her last one since she’s from Butte and wanted the journey to come full circle there.

“With some of the other ‘remote’ breweries such as the ones in Wibaux and Eureka, I was in the general area so I made it a point to go to them,” she said. “I have also been going to the new breweries as they open.”

And her favorite?

“There are so many good breweries in Montana,” she said. “Several breweries came to mind. But, if I had to pick one, it would be the Black Eagle Brewery, outside of Great Falls in Black Eagle. Their beer was outstanding, great atmosphere and a very friendly staff.”

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Kristen Inbody at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @GFTrib_KInbody.

What: Montana Brewery Passport

Why: Track your progress visiting breweries around the state

Cost: $10

Available: Breweries or online at

Socially: #MTBrewPassport

Sun brewed: Bitter Root Brewing praised for use of solar power system


RE-posted from the Ravalli Republic,November 12, 2015, Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 10.35.00 AM

Dan Brandborg, Jason Goeltz, Janelle Gustafson, Brent Donnely, Heather Handeland and Mike Dunn stand in the can storage area of Bitter Root Brewing. They are listening to Deborah Frandsen read a letter from Senator Jon Tester in praise of the solar installation.


Bitter Root Brewing has two solar arrays on its roof that have saved $2,000 in energy costs since June. USDA Rural Development and U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., recently recognized them for their efforts.

Jason Goeltz, general manager of Bitter Root Brewing, said the business is committed to solar energy. It has a large southern solar array, a small western array and a monitor displaying the performance of the solar panels and overall energy use to customers.

“We’re proud of it,” said Goeltz. “It’s great for our business. It has saved our business money, affording us an opportunity to take those savings and invest them in to other areas directly affecting our employees, our customers and the local economy through employee programs, equipment purchases and other areas that improve our efficiency.”

The Bitter Root Brewing solar system generates enough renewable energy to power 1.5 households per year.

Part of this solar project was paid for with an $8,670 grant from the USDA’s Renewable Energy for America program.

USDA Acting State Director Janelle Gustafson praised Bitter Root Brewing for improving the energy efficiency of the operation.

Deborah Frandsen read a letter from Tester in praise of the solar array installation.

“Renewable energy projects like this help diversify our energy portfolio and reduce the amount of carbon that is released into the air we breathe,” Tester wrote. “As a Montana farmer I know how important keeping your energy costs low is to growing your bottom line.”

Tester, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he will continue to fight to ensure USDA Rural Development is able to make important investments that strengthen Montana’s rural economy.

The solar arrays at Bitter Root Brewing were installed by Dan Brandborg, a photovoltaic specialist with SBS Solar. Brandborg has been in the solar energy industry for 30 years. He began working with clients who wanted to be off-grid and now is working with clients who are on-grid and want to generate their own power.

 “This project is 10,000 kilowatts with 40 modules on the south and west roofs,” Brandborg said. “East- and west-facing roofs are doable for solar power. A lot of people think they aren’t.”

Brandborg said the solar system took just two weeks to install.

“It’s really straight forward anymore,” Brandborg said. “There are really just three components: solar panels, mounts and an inverter that changes the power from the panel to what the house needs or what the utility needs.”

Goeltz said there is enough room on their roof for additional solar panels, and other businesses have contacted them about starting unique businesses at the brewery location using solar power.

“It has been great for our business because it is yet another step towards sustainability, which is truly in the vein of the brewing industry,” said Goeltz. “Brewing draft beer is sustainable at its core, and to have yet another sustainable cog in this wheel of ours is truly a gift.”

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The solar panel on the west-facing roof of Bitter Root Brewing at 101 Marcus Street is improving their business that has been part of Hamilton for 17 years.

Winning Beers at the 2015 Montana Brewers Fall Festival

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Re-posted from Growler Fills, Alan / October 17, 2015

The 2015 Montana Brewers Fall Festival featured more than 150 Montana-made beers from across the state on a perfect October evening in Missoula, MT. Missoula’s local homebrewing club, the Zoo City Zmurgists, judged the beers using the BJCP style guidelines in a blind-judging format. (Disclosure: I participated in the blind-judging round to select the best-of-show winner.)

Here are the winning beers from this fantastic showcase of Montana beer:

Best Amber: Tamarack Brewing Co.- Yardsale
Best Belgian: Flathead Brewing Co.- Swimmers Itch Saison
Best Brown: Mighty Mo- Coco Brown
Best Cream/Blonde: Map Brewing Co.- Northbound Blonde
Best Dark Lager: Kalispell Brewing- Winter at Noon Dunkel
Best Double IPA: Tamarack Brewing Co.- Redemption Red
Best Hefe/Wit: Lewis&Clark Brewing- Miner’s Gold Hefe
Best IPA: Draught Works Brewery- Pineapple Express Tropical IPA
Best Irish/Scottish: Katabatic Brewing Co.- Katabatic Scotch Ale
Best Light Lager: Kalispell Brewing- Two Ski Brewski Pilsner
Best Pale Ale: Katabatic Brewing- New ‘Merica Pale Ale
Best Sour: HigherGround Brewing- Borderland Sour
Best Stout/Porter: Big Sky Brewing Co.- Ivan the Terrible
Best Specialty: Philipsburg Brewing Co.- Badfinger Imperial Stout

Best of Show: Tamarack Brewing Co.- Redemption Red
Best of Festival: Muddy Creek Brewery- Occupy Octoberfest

Note: Best of Show was chosen by a five-judge panel from among the highest scoring beers. Best of Festival was chosen as the highest scoring beer among those first released for the festival during the preliminary judging rounds.

Flathead Valley Community College looking for: Program Director, Brewing

Flathead Valley Community College is an outstanding public community college located on a beautiful campus in Kalispell, Montana with panoramic views of the northern Rocky Mountains and Glacier National Park. Our vision is to improve lives through learning, and the trustees, faculty and staff are dedicated to values that foster and preserve the spirit of our College and promote and support the well-being and economic development of the communities we serve.

The College is seeking applicants to fill the position of Program Director, Brewing

This position is full-time professional, salaried. The pay range is $39,000 to $60,000 and is augmented by a competitive, fringe benefits package. Anticipated start date is January 4, 2016.

Please see attached position description for more information about the areas of responsibility and minimum, required qualifications.

You must apply online at If this is the first time you are using our online job application, you need to create an account with a Username and Password. After creating an account, click on the “Build Job Application” link. This application can be saved and used to apply for more than one job opening. This position is open until filled, however we anticipate review of applications to begin ASAP.

We ask that you submit the following application materials (may be added as attachments to on line application)

A cover letter indicating exactly how you meet the required qualifications.

A current, comprehensive resume.

Transcripts from all colleges or universities you have attended.  (Copies of transcripts are acceptable now; however, official transcripts will be required at time of employment offer.) Only transcripts from accredited colleges or universities will be used for employment considerations.

Names, addresses, phone numbers of three professional references.

NOTE:  For a step by step guide on how to apply using the online application process, click on this link to the Online Employment Application Guide.


JOB TITLE: Program Director, Brewing

DEPARTMENT: Educational Services

PAY GRADE: 50-54

PAY RANGE: $39,000 – $60,000 depending on education and experience, full-time, 12 months per     year, benefit eligible


Flathead Valley Community College is an outstanding public community college located on a beautiful campus in Kalispell, Montana with panoramic views of the northern Rocky Mountains and Glacier National Park. Our vision is to improve lives through learning, and the trustees, faculty and staff are dedicated to values that foster and preserve the spirit of our college and promote and support the well-being and economic development of the communities we serve. The new Brewing Science and Brewery Operations program was created to prepare graduates for careers in the brewing industry through coursework and hands-on training in brewing science, technology, and brewery operations. This position will design, facilitate and implement brewing science and brewery operations, assist with curriculum development; support the college by providing leadership to the production activities; monitor brewing facilities and equipment; and assist with planning, budget and purchasing for both curriculum and non- curriculum activities. Anticipated start date of January 4, 2016.


  • Administers the Brewing Science and Brewery Operations program including, but not limited to; student intake, teaching, advising, curriculum review and development, and brewery operation.
  • Provides career-oriented instruction and support to students in such areas as practical brewing, brewhouse processes, cellar processes, packaging, sensory evaluation, safety, and sanitation to assist them in brewing program and operations.
  • Recruits and coordinates adjunct and full-time faculty to meet the instructional requirements of the program.
  • Oversees operation and use of the campus brewing facility; maintains production equipment and supplies.
  • Convenes and works with Brewing Science and Brewery Operations advisory committee, inaccordance with the guidelines for Career and Technical programs at FVCC.
  • Conducts regular reviews of program and curricula, and revises content in conjunction with appropriate FVCC staff, faculty and advisory committee members.
  • Advises students according to established guidelines
  • Fosters positive student, staff and community relations
  • Maintains and submits instructional records in accordance with requirements and participates in assessment activities
  • Maintains professional ethics and confidentiality of students in accordance with applicable laws and policies
  • Remains current in practices, trends and research related to areas of assignment
  • Develops and maintains professional networks and relationships with brewing community
  • Attends meetings and participates in student and/or program assessment
  • Performs other related duties as assigned


  • Associate’s degree or higher in a brewing science-related field (e.g., chemistry, microbiology, physics, biology) or completion of a professional or university-affiliated brewing program.
  • Three years’ work experience as a Brewmaster, Head Brewer, Brewing Supervisor or Operations
  • Manager at a commercial brewing facility.


  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in Chemistry, Microbiology, Fermentation Science or related field.
  • Three years documented work experience in an industry-notable brewing facility.
  • Master Brewer certification
  • Experience working with instructional technology
  • Higher education teaching experience
  • Experience working with advisory boards


  • Ability to effectively teach content material in using a variety of instructional methods to facilitate student learning
  • Ability and willingness to serve as a representative for the College by interacting appropriately with the community
  • Ability to work within policies and procedures of FVCC
  • Ability to maintain effective and positive professional relationships
  • Ability to follow and issue instructions
  • Demonstrated communication, project management, presentation, educational service and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work effectively with people from a variety of culturally diverse backgrounds
  • Ability to maintain regular and acceptable attendance levels
  • Ability to pass a criminal background check
  • Ability to perform a Medium Duty job, according to the Selected Characteristics of Occupations Defined in the Revised Dictionary of Occupational Titles, U.S. Department of Labor and Industry. Medium Duty involves exertion of 20-50 pounds of force occasionally, and/or 10-25 pounds frequently, and/or up to 10 pounds continuously to move objects.


48 Hours in Southwest Montana

Re-posted from All About Beer Magazine , July 1, 2015 By

406 Brewing in Bozeman, Montana.

Montana is best known as Big Sky Country. Mention of this mountainous majesty of a state conjures up images of wide open spaces, free-flowing rivers and pristine views. Boasting more than 50 breweries, the state’s beer industry is strong and continues to grow, in the southwest region of the state in particular. A budding beer hub is taking shape in the Gallatin Valley towns of Bozeman (where two more breweries will open in 2015) and Belgrade and neighboring Paradise Valley’s Livingston. Accessibility to these breweries is made easy thanks to their close proximity to the I-90 corridor and the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN). Renting a car and bringing along a camera are highly recommended as you are bound to encounter scenic views.


Upon your arrival, stop at Bridger Brewing (1609 S. 11th Ave.) for daily happy hours from 2 to 4 p.m. Located near Montana State University, the brewery opened its doors in early 2013. During the semester, the college scene makes up a large part of the clientele, but you will still find a good mix of locals at the bar. Try the flagship IPA, Vigilante, which head brewer Daniel Pollard refers to as an entry-level “sessionable” Northwest-style IPA, with hints of caramel and biscuit and a balanced, but not overpowering bitterness, thanks to Chinook, Cascade and Centennial hops. The single-hop Lee Metcalf Pale Ale is a two-time award-winning Montana Brewers Association Fall Festival Gold Medal beer. Bridger also has a reputation for some of the best pizza in town, according to a local 2014 poll.

If pizza isn’t your thing, take a short drive or long stroll through campus toward downtown Bozeman toMontana Ale Works (611 E. Main St.). Established in 2000, this award-winning restaurant and bar makes its home in a retro-industrial railroad freight house and features 40 taps—one of the most extensive regional beer selections in the Northern Rockies. Here you will find locally sourced, upscale dishes like bison potstickers, house-ground beer burgers, or the roasted beet and grilled asparagus salad. Wind down after dinner with a pint and game of pool on one of the billiard tables that line the back wall.


Fuel up for the day’s adventures with a hearty breakfast at a local landmark, The Western Cafe (443 E. Main St.). Iconically nicknamed Bozeman’s “Last Best Café,” a spin-off of the state’s moniker, “The Western,” as locals call it, features rustic, but classic diner styling and down-home Montana cooking right on Bozeman’s main drag. Order the The Rocky Mountains: eggs, apple wood-smoked bacon or sausage, hash browns and toast. If you are especially hungry, the chicken-fried steak served with a side of eggs, hash browns and toast is sure to appease even the most ravenous of appetites.

Brewery tap rooms won’t open until noon or 2 p.m. Looking to improve your mind? Consider a visit toMontana State University’s Museum of the Rockies (600 W. Kagy Blvd.). Featuring a vast collection of dinosaur fossils and several complete skeletons, some of which were found in Montana, the museum is home to well-known dinosaur specimens like Tyrannosaurus rex and triceratops.

After leaving the museum, grab some snacks for the road at Bozeman’s Community Food Co-op (908 W. Main St.) and prepare for some sightseeing. Head west on I-90 across the Bridger Mountains to the town of Livingston (an approximately 30-mile drive) located in the picturesque Paradise Valley. The Absaroka Mountains act as a backdrop for this mountain town, and the Yellowstone River runs through its heart.

Your first stop will be nautical-themed Neptune’s Brewery (119 N. L St.), which in addition to beer, serves up favorite bar food and sushi. The Bozangeles Light Ale is a crisp, light pilsner with a slight bitterness that even the nondiscerning beer drinker can appreciate. For a Belgian flair, give the “She May” Knot a try. Aged for three months and naturally conditioned, this ale has a fruity ester aroma and soft yeasty flavor character.

Next, head back up the main drag to area newcomer, Katabatic Brewing Co. (117 W. Park St.) located down the street from Livingston’s historic Murray Hotel. Owners Brice and LaNette Jones began beer production with the help of their Great American Beer Festival award-winning brewer, Jason Courtney, in the fall of 2014. Katabatic refers to the down-sloping, sometimes severe winds that are common in the area. The space is beautiful and inviting with a long L-shaped bar and walls covered with exposed brick and reclaimed barn wood. The bar’s foot rail is a Montana Rail Link train track pulled out of a yard in Livingston.

Head to the car and make the drive back to Bozeman for a visit to Outlaw Brewing (2876 N. 27th Ave.). This brewery keeps a range of regular beers on tap year-round and switches out new seasonal releases every six weeks. Beers names like Horse Thief IPA, Hangman’s Imperial IPA and the gluten-friendly Gambler American Amber stay true to the brewery’s outlaw theme. A small-capacity brewery, Outlaw started in a facility slightly less than 250 square feet in neighboring Belgrade. It expanded production capacity in December 2014 when it moved into a 2,400-square-foot facility on the north side of Bozeman.

Wind down at 406 Brewing Co. (101 E. Oak St., Suite D). This brewpub caters especially to those who appreciate variety with its ever-changing beer lineup and is sure to have something to suit almost every palate, from the always-evolving Hop Punch IPA to a classic oatmeal stout. For dinner take your pick of artisan breads, pizzas and calzones made using the brewery’s beer, plus sandwiches, soups and salads. Just like the beer list, the menu changes weekly in line with ingredient availability. Monthly changing gallery showings from local photographers and artists make for a beautiful backdrop to enjoy music by local bands.


Experience a rustic breakfast of biscuits and gravy with a side of bacon at the Stockyard Cafe (1018 E. Griffin Dr.), cooked up in a rugged, retro bungalow at the former location of the Bozeman Livestock Auction. After breakfast, take a short drive to the trailhead of the “M” trail to hike and take in some amazing views. The iconic 250-foot-tall white “M,” which marks the summit of the trail, was first inscribed onto the mountainside of the Bridgers in 1915 by Montana State University students. Dependent on whether you take the easy or difficult loop and your fitness level, expect the hike to take anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes. From the top you’ll have an unobstructed view of Bozeman.

Before leaving town, grab a beer at the oldest operating brewery in the area, Bozeman Brewing Co., established in 2001 (504 N. Broadway Ave.). Support local charities in the process at the weekly Sunday FUNday event, which features a different nonprofit every week. Fifty cents from every pint sold benefits the chosen non-profit. The flagship beers of this brewery are made up of the strong, bold and fruity Hopzone IPA; Plum Street Porter, with its rich blend of seven malts and hint of chocolate; a slightly malty and mildly yeasty hefeweizen; and the Select Amber Ale. A variety of seasonal rotators like an imperial IPA, kolsch and pilsner are available throughout the year. This brewery also cans its four mainstay beers, so be sure to pick up a six-pack of your favorite as a souvenir.

If time allows, stop in for a bon voyage pint at Madison River Brewing Co. (20900 Frontage Rd.) in Belgrade, which is conveniently located less than a mile from the airport. Founded in 2004, this brewery is famous for its fly-fishing-themed favorites like Hopper Pale Ale and Copper John Scotch Ale and has a great selection on tap to make your goodbye a memorable one.

Finding Montana Beer

For listings of all the beer stops on this trip, plus others across the state, visit

Montana Brewery Passport

Need a logbook to record your adventures to Montana breweries? Get yours


Bozeman is your best option for lodging due to its central location to the breweries you will visit and its wide selection of hotels. To stay within walking distance of downtown, try moderately priced The Lark (122 W. Main St.). For a more low-cost option, try the Lewis and Clark Motel (824 W. Main St.).

Best Time of Year

Summer is the best time to visit southwest Montana, with sunny skies and warm temps in the 70s and 80s. Spring is a little chilly and wet at times. Fall can also be an option, but can be hit or miss with early season snow and cold. Winters are brutal, but can be well worth it for snow lovers, with excellent skiing and snowboarding options in close vicinity.

ON TAP: Montana

Re-posted from Men’s Journal, 2015

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You probably already know about the unmatched fly fishing, rock climbing, and mountain biking in Montana. But Big Sky Country is also one of the top craft beer states in America, ranking ahead of even Colorado in breweries per capita. The brewers and outdoors enthusiasts here are cut from the same cloth. So with the help of host Zane Lamprey, we sought them out, finding some of the best adventures — and brews — throughout the state.

Click here to read more on Men’s

Montana Dominates Beer Awards, Dethrones Big Breweries

Re-posted from News Talk KGVO Missoula, on June 10th, 2015

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The results are in for the North American Beer Awards and a Montana brewery has beaten big names like Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors in producing the best American-Style Lager.

Assistant Brewer Eric Rasmussen from the Montana Brewing Company in Billings says he was happily surprised to see the Prohibition Pilsner come out on top.

“To be honest, Prohibition Pilsner getting the gold was a huge surprise and, not to brag, but second place was Coors Original, so anytime you can take down the big boys at their own game… it’s pretty fun stuff,” Rasmussen said.

Montana Brewing Company was just one of 17 Montana breweries that came home with medals, many of them gold.

“Montana doesn’t have a lot of people, but the people here definitely appreciate a beer culture and I think the breweries are reflecting that,” Rasmussen said. “[Montana Brewing Company] walked away with three medals, and then Montana as a state won 31 medals. On a per capita basis we were definitely the top state, but as far as the total medal breakdown goes I think we are either number one or two.”

Montana is certainly on the map for good beer. Below is the list of Montana winners for 2015:

Angry Hanks Microbrewery in Billings won Silver in Scottish-Style Export for “Frost killer”

Bayern Brewery in Missoula won bronze in Helles Lager for “Montana Helles Lager”

Big Sky Brewing in Missoula won silver in Barrel Aged Strong Beer for “Barrel Aged Power Wagon”

Blackfoot River Brewing Co. in Helena won silver in the Lambic category for the “Blackfoot Helambic”

Bozeman Brewing Co. in Bozeman won Bronze in American Style Pale ale for “Watershed Pale Ale” and Silver in Robust Porter for “Plum Street Porter.”

Canyon Creek Brewing in Billings won in three categories. It took gold in Dortmunder/Export for its “MinPln Pils”, Gold in Scottish Style Heavy for “Copper,” and Silver in Irish-Style Red Ale for “Rabbit Head Red.”

Carter’s Brewing in Billings took home Silver in Biere de Garde with “The Keeper 2015.”

Draught Works in Missoula took home a bronze in the Cream Ale Category for “That’s What She Said” and a bronze in the Ordinary Bitter Category for “Shadow Caster Amber Ale.”

Flathead Lake Brewing Co. took home a Silver and a Bronze in the Flanders-Style Red or Brown Ale category for  “Barrel 14 Sour” and “Montucky Sour Brown” respectively.

Great Northern Brewing Co. out of Whitefish took home Bronze for American-Style Strong Ale for “Good Medicine Strong Red Ale.”

Katabatic Brewing Co. in Livingston took home Gold in the American Style Amber Ale catagory for “Anabatic Amber.”

KettleHouse Brewing Co. in Missoula won Silver in English-Style Summer Ale for “Fresh Bongwater,” Silver in California Common for “KettleHouse Kommon,” and Gold in Biere de Garde for “Biere de Garde.”

Montana Brewing Co. won gold in the American-Style Standard or Premium Lager with “Prohibition Pilsner”, Gold in Irish-Style Red Ale for “Hooligan’s Irish Red Ale” and Silver in Oatmeal Stout for “Custer’s Last Stout.”

Philipsburg Brewing Company out of Philipsburg won Gold in the Light Ale category for “Otter Water Summer Pale Ale”

Red Lodge Ales Brewing Co. out of Red Lodge won Gold in Doppelbock for “Dos Goatees Doppelbock”, Gold in Efeweizen for “Helio Hefeweizen”, and Bronze in Altbier for “Glacier Ale.”

Tamarack Brewing Company out of Lakeside won Gold in English-Style India Pale Ale for “Core Shot Copper,” Gold in the Specialty/Experimental Beer category for “Raspberry PHunkenstein” and Bronze in English-Style Barely Wine for “I Remember My First Barley Wine…”

Uberbrew in Billings won Gold in Brown Porter for “Stand Down Brown Porter” and Silver in Dry Stout for “Uberstition CCS”

View the list of Winners by Category and Winners By Brewery posted by  North American