We sat in a semi-crowded Kettlehouse Brewing Co. to enjoy a warm and promising Friday afternoon, when we realized beer is happy.
None of us could get our cell phones out fast enough to get a picture while it still looked like a perfect smiley face, but I think it looks good enough.
OK, so it’s not a representation of the Blessed Virgin on toast or a potato chip, but our smiling beer is proof that beer loves us and wants us to be happy. Or is that beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy? Either way, the picture proves that beer is happy and so should we be.
It can only improve things.
And I say this seriously. Montana barley is an incredible product, and one of the many reasons Montana beer is so good.
According to the Associated Press, Herb Karst, with the Sweetgrass Barley Association, signed a deal with Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma on behalf of the Montana barley growers.
Wow, that’s a mouthful. Say it slowly. Cer-ve-cer-ia – Cua-uh-te-moc – Moc-te-zu-ma. This brings me to the point of this post, which, incidentally, is not that Mexican beers will now contain Montana barley and surely will taste better. They surely will.
The point of this post is that beer companies, especially the mega-monster companies that produce everything under the sun, have ridiculously long and ambiguous names, which tends to water-down the product, so-to-speak.
Take the Brazilian and Belgian merger of InterbrewAmBev. “Please sir, could I have an InterewAmbev?” Luckily the brands all maintain at least their distinct names in this ever-conglomerating world.
Speaking of which, doesn’t Anheuser-Busch sound like a battery company?
Nothing in their names screams beer. Even the ambiguous Bev, which I assume means beverage, is meant to denote that these companies do not focus just on beer. Oh, no, they have malt beverages with every flavor under heaven.
I shouldn’t be ranting against the big companies, for fear I will sound unAmerican. I am a blogger after all, what’s more American than that?
But my point in all this is that in all the conglomeration going on, consumers lose sight of what it is they were interested in in the first place, a high-quality product with a recognizable name, ingredients that aren’t shipped deeply frozen or dried from points across the globe, and which is produced by an actual human being whose care and pride are evident in the product simply by their humanity . When the beer drinkers of the world have enough brands to appeal to every taste out there brewed by InterbrewAmBevAnheuserBuschCoorsMiller, or whatever ambiguous name they pick for that inevitable super company, they might realize that they no longer have a choice.
For now: Drink micro, drink local and get to know your brewer.
I would have loved to have gone to this event, but my budget is a bit constrained for a trip out to D.C.
Listen to it here.
Is it ale or lager? She’s the expert: Club to teach women about microbrews
It might have been interesting to be a fly on the wall the day the brewing industry decided to start marketing beer to women rather than just using them to market beer to men.
The collective “d’oh!” might have been deafening.
Hence Betty’s for Beer, Missoula’s only women’s beer club, at Big Sky Brewing Co.
There is a reason that beer commercials aren’t all bikini-clad women serving ice-cold long necks to tongue-wagging frat boys these days.
Women now make up 30 percent of the beer market in America.
Betty’s for Beer, which was started by a couple of female employees at the brewery, is an attempt to help even the playing field and, perhaps, change the Stone Age image of the beer industry.
“We have a lot of girlfriends who can’t really appreciate going into a taproom,” said Trinda Heaton, sales and events coordinator at Big Sky.
I realize this is late, and you’ve probably already picked up your beverage of choice and cruised off to your Memorial Day barbecue, but in case you haven’t, here are a couple suggestions.
Sessions lager by Full Sail Brewing Co.: This session beer is great for the stubby bottles, low alcohol content and great taste. You can have a few and still drive home safely.
Karma Ale from Avery Brewing Co.: A throwback to the some of the farmhouse and pale ales of Belgian, this Colorado product is tasty and a lot lighter than its rich copper color indicates. It will stand up great to anything grilled while it’s light enough on alcohol to be able to enjoy a few while standing around the barbecue.
And remember, Memorial Day is about those who’ve fought for our freedom and given their lives so we could enjoy this life. Please remember them today.
On the heels of the Betty’s for Beer post, I received a tip from Mike Mahns about On Tap, a television series hosted by brewmaster Jennifer Talley. The show looks great, and highlights all of the things I’m about on this blog, such as: pairing beer and food, microbrew education, and what’s happening in the wide, wide world of craft brewing.
I guess the interesting thing for me, after interviewing a couple of gals over at Big Sky Brewing Co. about the Betty’s for Beer Club, is that the next major viable market for the beer industry is women.
I’m sure some smart marketing execs figured that out long ago, which is why we have such things as malted beverages and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. But with efforts like Betty’s for Beer and On Tap, and the growing number of female brewers, this won’t be just another effort to cater to already decided tastes. There is a concerted effort to educate people toward more varieties of beer, which is good for the diversity of styles in this country.
For most of her life, my wife has been opposed to beer. Mostly for the taste, though some of it can be attributed to memories of a beer-guzzling sometimes father. In the last several years, and especially since we moved away from our beloved Willamette Valley wineries, she has developed a small taste for beer. We’ve been through the Belgian beers together, as they’re candied spiciness lends itself to new beer palates. We’ve been through the hefeweizens, and the colored beers, the browns, the ambers and the blonds. But we haven’t crossed into the high-gravity hop monsters that I adore. When we fill the Party Pig at the Kettlehouse, we do so with Eddy Out Pale Ale or the Lake Missoula Amber. She won’t quite go for the Double Haul IPA.
But she’s growing in her appreciation for good beer that can be sipped and paired with food like fine wine. And when she buys beer for us, she does so knowing what she likes. I’m sure we’ll get to the big beers that I’m fond of, though it might take a little more time.
Can you imagine the explosion that will take place in the craft beer market when more women find out that we like beer for more than the fact it makes us burp, is not as expensive as wine and makes us feel like manly men?
I’m excited. I think growth is a good thing if it continues to produce more styles and experimentation. Besides that, women are only coming into something that always was theirs.
They were the first brewers and purveyors of beer. It was from their capable hands that the church took the art and craft of brewing and turned it into profit.
To all my favorite female brewers, beer goddesses and keepers of the brewing legacy,
Check out this great opportunity at Big Sky Brewing Co.
Why not throw back a Lucifer?
This bottle-conditioned Belgian golden ale is anathema to a long, cold, Montana spring. It is a slightly dangerous reward for a long day spent in a blistering reminder of the extremes of this perch above America’s prairies.
Yes, we live in a hamlet at the “confluence of great trout rivers.” Yes, we live in the “Last Great Place.” Yes, we live in Western Montana, this alpine paradise, but we don’t live in the backwoods.
You can get great beer in Western Montana, heck, you can get awesome local beer at any one of 20-plus breweries within a half-day’s drive. But on a hot Sunday, there is nothing finer than to hit Worden’s Market for a something naughty, or nice, depending on which side of your shoulder you listen to.
Lucifer pours like a Western Montana sunrise. It’s a fine balance between a lightly hoppy and fruity pale ale and a winter warmer. In fact, if you didn’t see the color, you’d think you were drinking something Santa might chill out with after the long haul.
At 8.5 ABV, this bad boy of summertime is the perfect beer for a fine meal on a warm day, or a trip to a sandbar in Alberton Gorge. The stubby bottle is unassuming, and the Italian mocha-colored head softens to a fine spiderweb around the rim of your glass.
I was planning to take a trip out to Lang Creek Brewing this weekend. Not just for the fact it is considered America’s most remote brewery, but for all the things I’ve heard about their beer.
Unfortunately, summer hours haven’t started quite yet out near Marion, MT. That means the brewery won’t be open this weekend, and I won’t be heading up there just yet.
I did get some info from the tap-room manager though. He said Lang Creek Brewing is just about to release its summer seasonal, Fishon! Summer Ale. Chances are you’ll have better luck finding it in Kalispell, but it’d be worth checking out a few Missoula bars and restaurants to see if Fishon! made it this far south.
Also, Lang Creek Brewing will undergo a remodel this month. The construction is scheduled to take 4 to 6 weeks, after which the taproom will have a larger capacity for those tour buses that travel down the wrong road and somehow stall out in the boondocks. They are lucky tourists that break down in front of a brewery.
The larger taproom should serve the Grizzly Growler well, as I plan to post a video tour of the brewery just as soon as things are dusted and shined.
Though he doesn’t address the hops or water specifically, I thought this comment from Brad Simshaw, a co-owner of Blackfoot River Brewing Co., is fairly informational about what it takes to become certified organic.
There is much more to an organic beer than just ingredients. In a truly organic beer not only must all ingredients be certified as organic but also the production process used in brewing the beer must be certified as an organic process. All parts of the process are scrutinized; the storage of the organic ingredients, the milling of the organic grain, the flow of the wort and beer through pumps and hoses, etc. The organic certification process is a rigorous inspection that even involves a check of sales records to determine if more organic beer is being sold than was produced. This inspection is completed annually. Only then are you allowed to declare that the beer is an organic beer. At Blackfoot River Brewing Company (which, for the record, I am part owner) we are glad for the strict regulations regarding organic beers. This guarantees an organic product for the consumer. Our organic beer does not come in bottles, but the tap handle does sport the USDA/Organic label, something allowed only if the beer has been certified organic. For those who would like to try an organic beer on tap I believe our organic porter is in the Missoula market.
Thanks Brad, and I’ll be looking for some of that organic porter around town.