Happiest Hour: Montana Brewers Fall Festival winners 

The party: Those who flocked to Caras Park last Friday for the 7th annual Montana Brewers Fall Festival were treated to four hours of bottomless beer samples exclusively from in-state breweries. Those who didn’t have a lot of drinking to make up for. The festival gave Missoula residents a taste of what the rest of the state has to offer, and a panel of judges from the Zoo City Zymurgists was on hand to offer their take on which brews deserved the most praise.
click to enlarge CATHRINE L. WALTERS
  • Cathrine L. Walters

The winners:
Two local breweries managed to score wins last week, with Big Sky’s Ivan the Terrible netting Best Stout/Porter and Draught Works’ Pineapple Express Tropical IPA netting Best IPA. A few western Montana stalwarts made the list as well—Miner’s Gold from Lewis & Clark, as well as the Yardsale Amber and Swimmer’s Itch Saison from Tamarack. Butte’s Muddy Creek Brewery walked away with top honors, though, winning Best of Festival for its Occupy Octoberfest.

The rest of the fest: Only 16 of the more than 150 beers at the festival received awards. But that doesn’t make the rest any less worth seeking out. Billings-based Uberbrew drained the last of its Double Tap Tactical IPA—winner of this year’s Alpha King Challenge at the Great American Beer Festival—within the first couple hours of the festival. Mighty Mo’s Vanilla Imperial Porter had us keyed up well before the taps started flowing. And Sidney’s Meadowlark Brewing, the most far-flung participant, was pouring not only its special Squashtoberfest but also a tasty and popular imperial pilsner called Car Ramrod.

The takeaway: The festival may be over, but a lot of these brews are still on tap around the state. So hit the road and judge for yourself. Otherwise it’ll be a long, cold wait for the next brewfest.

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