This week (May 13-19) is once again American Craft Beer Week, according to the Brewers Association. As they describe the event, it is a week-long celebration of “the 2,400+ small and independent craft brewers who continue to make the U.S. the world’s most diverse brewing destination.” They’ve assembled a calendar with over 1,200 events around the country, but sadly, not one event on their calendar is in the State of Montana.
The Brewers Association list 48 Montana breweries on their site, 30 of which are listed as members of their organization.
Might we suggest you visit a tap room or two this week for a spontaneous celebration?
Neal Leathers and Bjorn Nabozney, two of the founders of Big Sky Brewing Co., recently gave a talk at IdeaMensch Missoula about the process of starting the brewery. They have some great insight for anyone thinking about getting into the craft-beer industry or really just looking to start any business.
IdeaMensch focuses on bringing entrepreneurial ideas to life and took place in Missoula on July 13.
- Matt Pritchard
Missoula in known for a number of greats: scenery, people, fishing and (of course) microbrews.
Two of my favorite local beers are Cold Smoke and Summer Honey, from Kettlehouse Brewing Co. and Big Sky Brewing Co., respectively. Both are great for different reasons, and in case you’ve been living in the cave above Mount Sentinel, here’s a quick breakdown:
• Cold Smoke is a dark Scotch Ale imbued with roasted barley, giving it a “smoky” flavor.
• Summer Honey is of lighter fare, combining Northwest hops and Montana honey.
Being a notorious tinkerer, I decided to mix the two one night while barbecuing with the fam. The result? Quite possibly the best beer I’ve ever experienced. The two brews balance each other perfectly, dancing on the palate before smoothly slipping away.
I highly recommend that you stop reading this and immediately make your own. … But be warned: The blend is so fantastic that you may have a hard time drinking anything else. Seriously.
The tentative name for this delightful mix is Cold Honey, but here are some alternatives for your enjoyment:
• Summer Smoke – Depending on our fire season, this one may take the top slot.
• Missoula Black & Tan – Not as smooth on the tongue, but has the potential to unite the clans.
• Austin Ale – Shameless promo for the inventor, but clever use of the “AA” abbreviation.
Whatever you call it, please enjoy responsibly. And fret not, Jürgen, as I am sure there will be a Bayern blend very soon!
- Rod Austin is a Missoula native and local beer enthusiast. Reach him at rod.austin (at) gmail.com
I recently ran across this article by George Lenker breaking down 5 craft beer personality types: the beer geek, the beer populist, the beer gourmand, the know-it-all and the beer snob. Here’s a quick snippet of how Lenker describes each type:
The Beer Geek: They delight in talking about their favorite beers and rarely feel they need to come off (as) the smartest monkey in the brew zoo (even though they often are).
Beer Populists: While we are not obsessive, we really enjoy all types and styles of beer. Like beer geeks, we like to share our passion, but we do so by making craft beer seem accessible, which it is.
Beer Gourmands: These folks are casual craft beer drinkers (and) might even be seen enjoying a Michelob or a Budweiser once (in) a while.
The Know-It-All: These types are beer geeks with a flaw: They share their knowledge, but with an attitude that doesn’t encourage discussion.
Beer Snobs: Not only do they make beer aficionados like myself roll our eyes, they also turn off potential new craft beer lovers by their incessant need to dominate conversations.
I personally think labels like these are pretty lame, but Lenker does a pretty good job rounding them up. Where do you think you fall?
Read the full article here.
- Matt Pritchard
Matt Van Wyk, brewmaster at Oakshire Brewing in Eugene, Ore., tries to unravel the mystery behind “black IPA” in a recent article on CraftBeer.com. He argues that the name of this relatively new beer style is misleading and should be called Cascadian Dark Ale, for various reasons. Read the article and decide for yourself. And while you’re at it, check out Will Moss’ review of Bitter Root Brewing’s Black IPA.
- Matt Pritchard
The Myrtle Street Kettlehouse is no doubt one of my favorite haunts. I love going there, drinking a Double Haul and hanging out with friends. It’s always a great time.
The Montana Kaimin, where I worked for a time in college, recently interviewed brewer Thomas “Patches” Pacholik at work. Here’s the audio slideshow, enjoy:
And more from the Kaimin, reporter Josh Potter takes a look at the Missoula beer scene.
Craft beer and college, what a great match. And some nice work from my alma mater.
Man, there’s nothing worse than coming back from vacation to find out one of your community members is hurting. I love all the taproom folks that I’ve met over the years, but Angie Oakins, who works at Kettlehouse Brewing Company, is one of my favorites. She’s one of the few who greets me by name every time I pop into either the northside or the southside, and I love that she hangs around and grabs a beer after a shift to chat with anyone who is around.
Angie was hurt in a skiiing accident April 4, and there is a Facebook group of friends and supporters sending messages and good vibes to one of our favorite taprooms people. Join up and send Angie your thoughts and prayers.
One is an intrepid pioneer whose quality over quantity approach to brewing has defined his mega microbrewery, the other is an intrepid pioneer whose off-centered ales regularly make news headlines around the country.
This interview on the Brewer’s Association Web site is a fascinating look into the history of the craft beer movement by a man who saw it all go down in Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and an equally fascinating look at where things are going by one of America’s most forward-looking brewers in Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.
Enjoy the read!