Food & Drink

Friday, May 5, 2017

Happiest Hour early edition: The 25th annual Garden City BrewFest

Posted By on Fri, May 5, 2017 at 4:16 PM

Where you’re drinking: Yeah, as if you don't already know. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the bulk of Craft Beer Week, tomorrow, May 6, is Missoula’s annual Garden City BrewFest. And it’s become something of an Indy tradition over the years for us to pick through the offerings ahead of time so as to give our beer-sodden readers a nudge in the direction of a few thirst-inducing brews. Without further ado—because seriously, we’ve all got some drinking to do—here’s a rundown of the taps we’ll be elbowing our way to come Saturday.

Enter the dirty 30s:
This year marks the 25th anniversary for Montana’s oldest brewfest, but that’s not the only commemoration on display. Bayern Brewing (Montana’s oldest craft brewery. Theme!) is celebrating its 30th year producing beer in the fine tradition of Germany’s purity law. To honor the occasion, Jürgen Knöller and his compatriots have brewed up a 30th anniversary pilsener. If the flagship Bayern Pilsener it’s based on is any indication, this 5.4 percent ABV beer will be well worth the hype.

Not quite to sweet 16: Bayern isn’t the only Montana brewery marking a milestone in 2017. Helena-based Lewis and Clark Brewing has officially turned 15, and while that’s still a ways from legal drinking age, it’s as good an excuse as any to release an anniversary IPA. The description promises a hopped-up, pleasantly bitter brew with the brawniness of a varsity linebacker—7.4 percent to be exact.

One birthday slightly used: OK, so this one’s a holdover, but it’s still worth mentioning. Last year, Red Lodge Ales tapped a new brew commemorating the 125th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park’s Lake Hotel. The 1891 Summer Ale—infused with honey and boasting a mellow, citrusy taste—was enough of a success that it’s back to ring in the hotel’s 126th birthday. Or, you know, just provide Missoulians a 5.1-percent break from all those high-octane IPAs.

Old brewery, new brew: Usually when the Garden City BrewFest rolls around, the offerings from Harvest Moon are pretty familiar—namely Beltian Wheat or Pig’s Ass Porter. This year the brewery has cooked up something new: a seasonal called Watermelon Wheat. As the name suggests, this American wheat beer is pretty big on the watermelon flavor. And since the brew is still in diapers, so to speak, we’ll consider this one a “first birthday” situation.

Where the party's at:
The 25th annual Garden City BrewFest kicks off at noon on Saturday, May 6, in Caras Park. Certain brews tend to go pretty quick, so get there early.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Devil’s Hump Red Ale wins gold

Posted By on Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 2:56 PM

The stakes: Competition was thick in Denver last week. Judges at the 30th annual Great American Beer Festival waded through 7,227 entries from more than 1,750 breweries to select a mere 286 award-worthy brews. In other words, hundreds of brewers across the nation had simultaneously crossed their fingers. When the buzz cleared, one Missoula brew came away with a gold medal.
  • Photo by Alex Sakariassen
The winner: Devil’s Hump Red Ale, which claimed top prize in the Irish-style Red Ale category, is a whole lot lighter than the name might imply. The Missoula Brewing Company flagship weighs in at a drinkable 5 percent alcohol-by-volume. Taste-wise it tends to start out a bit on the sweet side, before the heavier malt body gives way to a crisper hops finish. And if that first sip triggers some deja vu, don’t be surprised.

The backstory: Though the name is new, Devil’s Hump has actually been kicking around western Montana since 2008. MBC owner Bob Lukes introduced the recipe after acquiring the rights to the Highlander beer label, and it won Best of Montana at the Garden City BrewFest in 2009. Formerly available only in bomber bottles and on select taps, the red-ale reimagining of one of Montana’s oldest brews finally enjoyed a wider release, including six-packs, shortly after MBC opened the doors of its taproom in 2015.

Fellow winners: MBC wasn’t the only Montana brewery to snag an award at last week’s festival. Philipsburg Brewing won a bronze medal for its 5 Phantoms Pumpkin Spice Barleywine. Billings-based Uberbrew claimed two gold medals, a silver and a bronze, and was also singled out as Small Brewing Company of the Year.

Find it: If you’re in the mood for a little Devil’s Hump, stop by Missoula Brewing Company at 200 International Dr., off Reserve Street.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email
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