The Big Sky Community Brew project is all about creating great hand-crafted beer for a cause.
This year’s winner is a Chocolate Coconut Imperial Porter called Missoula Five-O, brewed by Bill Ruediger. It was hand-picked from around 30 Imperial Porters – the 2011 style of choice – by Big Sky Brewing Co.’s head brewer Matt Long and others over at the brewery. Long said it was a close call this year, but the extra ingredients put Missoula Five-O over the top.
Ruediger has been brewing for the past four years and said he’s been working pretty hard over the past three to win the contest. His inspiration this year was Maui Brewing Co.’s CoCoNut Porter, after a visit to Hawaii in August. He brewed 10 different variations of his Imperial Porter, and it turned out that his first batch was his best.
In its sixth year, the Community Brew is chance for members of the Zoo City Zymurgists to show off what they can do with certain beer style. After a winner is chosen, the recipe is handed over to Big Sky Brewing, which then churns out a commercial batch, about 17 barrels or 34-35 kegs. The beer is then sold out of the Big Sky Brewing taproom and proceeds, after the cost of production, are divided between the club and a charity.
There’s a private release party for the brew on Thursday evening, so unless you’re a member of the Zoo City Zymurgists or have a connection to this year’s charity, AniMeals, you’ll have to wait to try Missoula Five-O. Growlers will be available Friday for $10.
- Matt Pritchard