I grew up in LaGrange, Ill., a suburb outside of Chicago, and one of my best friends back then was Craig Frymark, who lived three houses down from me. When I moved to Missoula in 1995 at age 13 with my family, we lost touch, as is bound to happen. Recently, through my parents and the wonders of Facebook, I’ve learned that my old pal Craig is now co-owner and co-brewer, along with Evan Klein, of Barrier Brewing Co. in Oceanside, N.Y. The brewery was recently featured on the Brewery Show and, in just more than a year, sounds like it’s taking off.
Having only been around for a year, Barrier Brewing Company is a young and powerful two man team, developing a vast portfolio of stylistic beers available in the New York City metropolitan area. With a strong focus on providing a unique approach to the craft beer industry, they are on the cutting edge of the craft beer wave. Visit with us as we find out what’s going on, and what the future may bring.
Wish Craig and and Evan all the best, cheers.
- Matt Pritchard
Bloomberg Businessweek has Montana as the second biggest beer-drinking state in the country.
According to the article, Montana’s beer sales come in at 30.5 gallons per person, just shy of New Hampshire’s 32.7 gallons per person. The national average was 20.7. Rounding out the Top 5 is North Dakota, South Dakota and Nevada. It also says Montana collects just more than $4 million in state excise taxes on malt beverages.
Montana has 30 brewers, according to the Beer Institute—that’s far fewer than states such as California, which has 318, but it’s plenty per capita for a place with only 989,415 people. Montana brewers manufacture more than 75,000 barrels of beer each year, according to the Montana Brewers Assocation. Makers include Big Sky, Kettle House, Bayern and Bitter Root.
I love it when these articles mention Missoula-area breweries as examples for the state. Be proud you’re blessed with such great beer.
- Matt Pritchard
I was lucky enough to go and see Brandi Carlile and Ray LaMontagne on Monday night and happy to say that not only was the show great, but all the woes of the first Modest Mouse concert at Big Sky Brewing Co. were cleared up. The lines for the bathroom were no problem, and the lines for the beer tickets and beer were manageable. In fact, I think the longest line might have been for Famous Daves, which seemed a bit odd.
Not being a huge fan of either Brandi Carlile or Ray LaMontagne I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised, especially with Brandi. I’ve been told she puts on a good show, and those people were right.
It’s good to see the issues were all cleared up and I’m glad there’s music playing once again at the brewery, which is perhaps the best venue in Missoula.
Here’s the list of upcoming shows that have been announced:
July 21 - Slightly Stoopid with Rebelution
July 22 - The Decemberists with Typhoon
Aug. 27 - Volbeat with Cold and Anchored
Sept. 11 - Pretty Lights with Latyrx, Mimosa and Vibesquad
See you at the Decemberists.
- Matt Pritchard
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Montana’s senior U.S. Senator, Max Baucus, today announced the creation of his Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus, which he will co-chair with Senator Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. Baucus created the caucus as a forum to stand up for issues important to small brewers and examine the role of these small businesses in main street economies across Montana and around the country.“Montana’s small brewers don’t just make great beer out of the best Montana grains– they also support good-paying Montana jobs,” said Baucus. “I’m so proud to create the Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus– because as the state with the second highest number of craft brewers per capita in the country, Montana small brewers need a voice in Congress who’ll keep looking out for them.”“Montana brewers are main street businesses, producing quality beers, adding value using Montana grain, paying living wages to their employees, and growing their businesses,” said Tony Herbert, executive director of the Montana Brewers Association. “Montana craft beer production was up 10 percent in 2010 as craft beer enthusiasm grows throughout the state. The 28 Montana brewers and the Montana Brewers Association sincerely appreciate Senator Baucus’ leadership in bringing greater focus to craft brewery issues nationally, though the creation of the Senate Small Brewers Caucus.”“Small craft brewers are growing, creating jobs and contributing in small and big ways to the recovery of the American economy,” said Charlie Papazian, president of the National Brewers Association. “Under the leadership of Senator Baucus, the bipartisan Senate Small Brewers Caucus reflects the collaborative, grassroots community spirit in which the nation’s small brewers contribute to their local communities.”Montana has the second-highest number of small breweries per capita in the nation, with 28 registered breweries. Small brewers use more than 5.6 million pounds of malted grain, approximately half of which is grown in Montana. They employ more than 250 Montanans.Facts about the Montana brewing industry:
- Small brewers utilize more than 5,000 retailers, and sell their products in 24 states.
- Small brewers manufacture and package over 88,000 barrels (2,728,000 gallons) of fine hand-crafted beer in pints, bottles, cans, and kegs each year.
- Small brewers experienced an 10 percent growth in barrels of beer produced in 2010, and had sales over $24,000,000.
Summer is technically less than a week away, but it sure doesn’t feel like it’s ever going to show itself in Montana. Sure, there have been bits of sun and warmth on occasion, but it’s been historically soggy – and cloudy – in the western part of the state. Nevertheless, we can’t let it get us down, especially with prime beer drinking season almost upon us.
So, while we wait, here are two of my favorite games to play in the backyard while enjoying a frosty beverage (which lately has been Sierra Nevada’s Summerfest):
Rules of the game vary, and for those you who play, I don’t want to start a big argument, which has happened. Basically, there are two teams of two, and the two “ladders” are placed about 15 feet apart. The object is to score exactly 21 points by tossing “bolas” (two balls attached with a string) and wrapping them around the steps. The top step is worth 3, the middle step 2 and the bottom step is worth 1. Opposite team members stand by each ladder and take turns throwing their three bolas. More details of the game can be found here, and if you don’t have a set, you can buy a fairly cheap one here or at a sports store.
Bean Bag Toss (aka Cornhole)
This has been my game of choice over the past year, I guess because I got a little burned out on Ladder Ball. According to the American Cornhole Association (yes, there is such a thing) the two boxes’ front edges should sit 27 feet from each other. When I play with my friends, draining the bean bag counts as 3 points and you get 1 point for landing it on the surface, but it has to remain there after each person on a side has thrown their three bags. Again, you have to get exactly 21 points and it’s best to play with two teams of two. If you don’t have a set, I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to make one if you’re handy.
If you’ve played these games then you already know how fun they are, and if not, then you should give them a whirl. And if anyone has any other backyard games they love go ahead and add a comment. Cheers.
- Matt Pritchard
Writer David Erickson has a nice piece on Draught Works that appeared in the Missoulian’s new InBusiness Weekly section in last Sunday’s newspaper. As most of you probably know, Draught Works was conceived by Jeff Grant and Paul Marshall, and is scheduled to open at some point this summer. It will be the latest addition to Missoula’s craft beer scene that has seen a boom in the past year with the opening of Flathead Lake Brewing Co. of Missoula and Tamarack Brewing. According to the article, Draught Works will start off with five beers: an “India pale ale, a pale ale, an alt ale (“alt” translates to “old” in German), a stout and a Czech-style pilsner.” (more…)
Big Sky Brewing Co. will host its very own barbecue festival this Saturday from 3 to 9 p.m. at the brewery on Trumpeter Way. There will be food, beer, free activities for kids and music by Tom Catmull and the Clerics, Russ Nasset and the Revelators, Zeppo MT and House of Quist. Best of all, the proceeds go to help the Montana Food Bank Network.
Sounds like a nice little Saturday.
UPDATE: Here are some updates on the fest from Big Sky Brewing:
- Matt Pritchard
Last weekend’s North American Beer Awards, held in Idaho Falls, Idaho, left many Montana breweries basking in the glow of shiny medals. The event was put on by the North American Brewers Association and was said to have drawn more than 200 breweries. Last year, for instance, more than 1,200 beers were judged.
In Missoula, Kettlehouse Brewing Co. took gold for its Cold Smoke, and Bayern Brewing took gold for its Dopplebock. Bitter Root Brewing also claimed a gold medal for its Oktoberfest. Montana Brewing Co. was the big winner in Montana, taking five golds, three silvers and a bronze. Here’s a link to all the winners by category. After the jump are all the Montana winners by brewery. Cheers to great beers. (more…)
It’s the beginning of the month so that means it’s time for Big Sky Brewing Co.’s video newsletter. This month’s clip has information on the Big Sky Brewing Concert Series, water restoration and some new beers. Sit back and enjoy, and congrats Alix!
- Matt Pritchard
Flathead Lake Brewing Co. is set to unveil its new Belgian-style Tripel during a “Kill the Tripel” release party in Missoula on Thursday, June 9, from 4 to 8 p.m. Ten ounce “goblets” of the beer will be for sale for $5.50, and $2.75 cents from each one sold will go to the Humane Society of Western Montana to benefit Adopt a Cat Month.
According to FLBC assistant brewer Jared Hanlon, the Tripel comes in at 9.4 percent alcohol by volume and 24 international bittering units.
“Our version is a dreamy, cloudy glass of liquid gold. The aroma and flavor run complex: tart citrus, yeast, malty sweetness, green apple, pear, white grape, alcohol warmth with a dry, spicy finish. It’s dangerously drinkable though it should probably be sipped. Pilsner, wheat and honey malts. Dextrose added. Hops: centennial and golding.”
Sounds like an intense summer brew.
- Matt Pritchard