Montana Brewers Association

Montana Brewers

Spring Newsletter

May 2018

Top Off Bozeman Craft Beer Week with Montana Brewers Spring Rendezvous

BOZEMAN –Craft beer lovers are invited to come celebrate Montana craft beer with brewers from all across the state in Bozeman for the Montana Brewers Spring Rendezvous this Friday, May 11th. For the second year in a row, the brewfest will cap off Bozeman Craft Beer Week.

Save $5 and get your ticket today.

Twenty-nine breweries from all over the state will provide a total of 106 Montana made brews, from traditional pale ales and pilsners to a honey lemon ginger Braggot and a kombucha ale blend. Admission includes a commemorative glass along with unlimited samples, all served alongside local food vendors and live music from Hawthorne Roots.

If that wasn’t already enough, the festival will also feature ‘Beer School’ for attendees. Whether you’re an aspiring beer connoisseur or don’t know the first thing about craft brewing, these classes will be an opportunity for all beer lovers to learn more about the different styles and how they are made. The four short classes will run every hour on the half hour, with Fruit Beers at 3:30, Pale Ales at 4:30, Scotch Ales at 5:30, and Sours and Kombucha at 6:30. Each class will be led by four Montana brewers each presenting their brewery’s spin on each style. Spots will be limited to 20 per class, so be sure to get there early.

The Montana Brewers Spring Rendezvous will take place on Friday, May 11th at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds at the Haynes Pavilion in Bozeman, Montana. We will kick it off with a VIP hour from 4:00 to 5:00pm. VIP ticket holders will receive a special edition VIP glass and gain early entrance to sample beers before the crowd arrives. General Admission begins at 5:00 pm and runs until 9:00 pm. VIP tickets are $35 in advance and $40 day of the event. General Admission tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the event. Get your presale tickets here.

The MBA would like to thank our generous sponsors: Big Sky Gas, Ensitio Design, First West Insurance, General Distributing, H+R Block, Little Stinkers, Malteurop, McDan- tim Gas Blending Technologies, Sandfire Resources, and Sysco Montana.

Second Annual Bozeman Craft Beer Week features over 20 beer-centric events, unique collaboration beer

Bozeman Craft Beer Week is here and adventurous beercationers and locals alike are contemplating which events to attend during the Gallatin Valley’s biggest annual beer bash. A celebration of craft beer, open space, and trails in its second year, Bozeman Craft Beer Week takes place May 5-12, 2018.

To commemorate the week, 10 local breweries have worked together to create a special collaboration beer appropriately called Gallatin Valley Lager. Brewed with locally-grown malt from Bridger Malt House and hops from Crooked Yard Hops, the beer is a refreshing, crisp Montana Pale Lager bursting with citrusy hop aroma. Craft beer week attendees can expect to find the collaboration lager available on tap and in cans at Bozeman Brewing Company, the host brewery for the beer project, as well as at participating sponsor businesses and retailers starting in late April through the end of craft beer week.

Participants battle it out in last year’s Blazing Paddles Tournament at MAP Brewing Co.

Proceeds from events throughout the week, as well as the sale of the collaboration beer, will be donated to Fermentana’s craft beer week nonprofit partner, Gallatin Valley Land Trust, to support their mission of protecting open space and creating trails across the community.

Along with the robust events list, Fermentana has also released the official Bozeman Craft Beer Week Passport for 2018 to assist beer lovers with their craft beer week journey. This pocket-sized guide features a full schedule of events and over $100 in special incentives and discounts for passport holders at select sponsoring businesses throughout the week.

Additionally, the Passport serves as event- goers’ entry into the Bozeman Craft Beer Week Giveaway which consists of over $2000 worth of prizes from participating sponsors, including a brand-new kegerator and YETI Tundra 50 cooler each branded to celebrate Bozeman’s Second Annual Craft Beer Week. Passports are immediately available for purchase on the event website and at select sponsor retail locations around Bozeman after April 16th, including Sidewinders American Grill, MAP Brewing, and Dee-O- Gee. Craft beer drinkers can acquire their official Bozeman Craft Beer Week Passport and merchandise, as well as view complete event listings and ticketing info for the 8-day beer bash at

No Barley, No Beer

A Discussion with Ari LeVaux

MISSOULA -Missoula-based reporter Ari LeVaux is getting a lot of attention for his article covering climate change and its impact on barley production in Montana. The story has appeared on The Weather Channel and the Food & Environment Reporting Network, and LeVaux was interviewed by Robin Young on NPR’s Here and Now about his story. Naturally, we wanted to learn more, so MBA Executive Director Matt Leow sat down with Ari over a couple beers at the Northside KettleHouse to hear more about his reporting, his travels around the Golden Triangle, and his favorite Montana brews.

Matt Leow: Ari, your reporting on the impact of climate change on barley production in Montana has brought attention to an important topic that has the potential to impact Montana’s brewing industry. So Ari, how did you come to this important story?

Ari LeVaux: Actually, the story came to me. I work for the Food & Environmental Reporting Network, and they came to me and told me that The Weather Channel was working on a 50 state series of stories on how each state is being impacted by climate change. They wanted me to look for the state food product that would be most impacted by climate change. I thought, “Well, there’s wheat, there’s cattle, there’s barley”, and honestly all of them would have made great stories. I chose barley because of, well, beer, and because it’s such a fickle crop that is so sensitive to climate change in so many ways.

ML: Can you tell us a little bit about why barley is so sensitive to climate change?

AL: The crop’s tolerances are super narrow in terms of what climactic factors the barley will tolerate, especially towards the end of their growing cycle. The actual stages of growing can be impacted by drought or mud. It has been bred so that it germinates and sprouts all at once, so if a minimal environmental cue gets it to germinate in the field it becomes worthless to the maltsters. We didn’t used to get these late August storms, which have been very problematic for the farmers and maltsters.

ML: Do you have any thoughts about how farmers are wrestling with the reality of climate change?

AL: They’re very open to different breeds. Quite a bit of this [research into different barley breeds] is being led by the big ones like AB InBev and MillerCoors. They know what’s going on. They’re not going to be particularly heartbroken if the farmers in Montana go out of business because they know they can get it elsewhere, but they have a guy whose job it is to basically travel the world trying to climate-proof their barley supplies.

ML: That’s interesting you say that the big brewers wouldn’t be particularly heartbroken if they couldn’t get their barley from Montana, because our people would. That’s part of what makes Montana such a great craft brewing state – great clean water, great supply of barley right here, and between Montana and regionally we have a great supply of hops. The vast majority of the barley in Montana beers come from Montana. Another really cool thing that’s happening is that there are local malt houses popping up in Montana, and their future is also dependent on Montana barley.

Can you talk a little bit about how barley came to be the crop it is in Montana, and then if you have any ideas of where it will go in the future?

AL: So it started in the Midwest where Milwaukee and the brewhouses started. Barley was a big crop in Wisconsin, Illinois, and other states in the Midwest, then a combination of factors – heat, humidity, bacteria, and so on – forced barley growing west to the Dakotas and Montana.

ML: What’s your favorite Montana brewery or beer?

AL: I’m honestly not much of a beer drinker. If I drink beer I like an IPA. I liked Scepter from Draught Works, and there are also some great beers down at Imagine Nation. All beer now is better than what you could get five or ten years ago. The one I’m having right now is extra special because I’ve been fasting for the past day and a half.

ML: We’re breaking your fast? Cheers to that! Do you have any final thoughts to share with Montana beer lovers?

AL: I would invite all readers to think about Nikolai Vavilov, a Russian botanist who spent his life collecting seeds from all around the world and creating a massive seed bank. He ended up in a conflict with a Stalin-backed Soviet biologist named Trofim Lasenko who disagreed with Vavilov’s use of Mendellian ge- netics. Vavilov was thrown in prison where he starved to death. His staff stayed behind to pro- tect the seeds and Vavilov’s legacy, and some of them ended up also starving to death rather than eating the materials preserved in the seed bank. This story has many connections to what’s happening now. Vavilov’s actual genetic materials are now being grown out in many states, including Montana, and
researchers are hoping they contain genes that could help in the development of winter barely. The holy grail of barley seed development is a cold-tolerant strain that can overwinter in cold climates. Researchers suspect several of Vavilov’s seeds may hold the genetic keys. His and his team’s work and sacrifices could literally help save the barley industry, and beer.

Bigfork’s Flathead Lake Brewing Company receives 2018 Montana Sustainabrew Award

FLBC accepts the 2018 Montana Sustainabrew Award in their brewhouse.

BIGFORK—Flathead Lake Brewing Company was presented with the 2018 Montana Sustainabrew Award at an event on Tuesday, April 24th at the FLBC Pubhouse in Bigfork.

The 2018 Montana Sustainabrew Award celebrates a Montana brewery that is taking action to protect Montana’s clean air and water by placing high value on environmental stewardship and renewable energy. The award is sponsored by Montana Brewers Association, Montana Conservation Voters Education Fund and Montana Renewable Energy Association.

FLBC was recognized for the remarkable sustainability and climate friendly features incorporated into the redevelopment of the old Bigfork bowling alley into the new FLBC Pubhouse and brewery, including diverting most of the waste from their renovation away from the landfill by donating or reusing most materials (including 100% of the insulation), and using reclaimed materials.

They also employ innovative technology to reduce their carbon footprint, including a geothermal water system that uses treated but non-potable water from the nearby municipal treatment plant to provide heating and cooling, a solar thermal hot water system, and energy efficient, low-emission and climate friendly equipment.

“We are truly honored by this award,” said Sandy Johnson, the FLBC Pubhouse owner. “As we state on our website: great beer calls for quality ingredients and quality ingredients require a healthy environment. We are proud to do our part to ensure a healthy environment, not just for our beer, but for everyone who enjoys the remarkable beauty of Montana.”

David Brendgard, FLBC’s Director of Brewery Operations, gives Sustainabrew attendees a tour of the brewery.

“Montana’s craft brewing industry depends upon access to clean water and high quality ingredients, especially Montana-grown malt barley,” said Matt Leow, Montana Brewers Association Executive Director. “We can’t take those things for granted. Mounting research reveals that climate change is threatening Montana’s malt barley industry.

Montana breweries are stepping up to be part of the solution, reducing their environmental impacts, reducing energy use and saving money in the process. Congratulations to Flathead Lake Brewing Company for receiving this Sustainabrew Award. It’s a well-deserved honor for a brewery that is leading the way in sustainability.”

“Considering the incredible view from their back deck, we are so excited to see a business that is investing in making sure its community continues to be able to enjoy that view for years to come,” said Andrew Valainis, Executive Director of the Montana Renewable Energy Association. “Thank you to Flathead Lake Brewing for their dedication and hard work. You are clearly doing your part.”

“Without clean air and water, Montana wouldn’t be such an amazing place to raise a family or start a business,” said Neal Ullman with Montana Conservation Voters Education Fund. “We’re proud to honor Flathead Lake Brewing Company for really going above and beyond to reduce their footprint on our environment.”

After a brief award presentation, Kevin Hyde from the Montana Climate Office gave a presentation called “Tears in Your Beers? – Barley in a Changing Climate.” Kevin is a researcher with the Montana Climate Office at the University of Montana, and discussed the recently released Montana Climate Assessment which found that, in part, “the effects of warming will become increasingly disrupting,” and that more 90-degree days will increase evapotranspiration and water demand for most crops and limit gran development from pollination to seed. More information can be found at

David Brendgard, Sandy Johnson, and Chris Saeger, the Flathead Chapter Representative on the MCV Board of Directors at the Sustainabrew event.

About Flathead Lake Brewing Co.

Flathead Lake Brewing Company was founded in 2004 in Woods Bay, just south of Bigfork, along the shores of Flathead Lake. A few years and many beer awards later, they needed more space. Instead of new construction on undeveloped land, they bought the old Bigfork bowling alley and committed to redeveloping the sight with sustainability in mind.

FLBC designed their Bigfork Pubhouse to LEED Silver standards. Their efforts toward sustainable redevelopment of the site was wide -ranging, including vastly improving storm water runoff to protect their namesake waters, diverting most of the waste from their renovation away from the landfill by donating or reusing most materials (including 100% of the insulation), using reclaimed materials when available.

They also employ innovative technology to reduce their carbon footprint, including an innovative geothermal water system that pulls water from the nearby municipal treatment plant that provides heating and cooling, a solar thermal hot water system, and energy efficient, low-emission and climate friendly equipment.

They proudly document their commitment to sustainability on their website.

Big Raffle under the Big Sky

Get your MBA Raffle Tickets

Grand Prize: Custom Sherpa Offroad Camper Trailer

Winner receives an offroad teardrop trailer from Sherpa Trailers with two roof racks, double awnings, a stereo, a TV, a solar power system, and more great features.

1st Prize: Great American Beer Festival

Winner receives a trip for two to the 2019 Great American Beer Festival, the premier U.S. beer festival and competition, in Denver, Colorado.

2nd Prize: NRS Inflatable Stand Up Paddleboard

Winner receives AIRE’s premier stand up paddleboard. Package includes a paddle, bag, and air pump.

3rd Prize: Avalanche Safety Packages

Winner receives two avalanche safety packages, complete with Pieps Beacons, touring shovels, and touring probes.

4th Prize: MT Beer Kegerator

Winner receives an Edgestar Kegerator with a custom tap handle and one free keg from the MBA member of your choice!

Tickets are $100 each and include a Montana Brew Crew Membership (Brew Crew Card entitles you to a free beer at 35 breweries). Funds support the MBA’s work to promote Montana craft beer and create a regulatory environment that allows Montana’s craft brewing industry to flourish.

Tickets are limited and can only be purchased at an MBA member brewery.

Montana Brewers Association

Montana Brewers Association

P.O. Box 8591

Missoula, MT 59807

406-948-BREW (2739)