Makes you wonder if Montana is next.
Silly, old, antiquated laws like the one that apparently did in Oregon’s homebrewers recently are a waste of time and money. Read all about it in this AP report.
The inclusion of prohibition-era laws in our modern world is a travesty that will cost states like Oregon and Montana potentially millions of dollars in revenue, and yet liquor laws are only now starting to be reviewed and rewritten.
If a state looked at its bottom line and realized what role craft brewers, many of whom got their start as homebrewers, play in the economic well being of said state, they’d instantly reform the laws and wipe away the antiquated alcohol laws that penalize businesses and keep hobbyists from practicing their art. Most state leaders are only now waking up to the realization that craft beer, wineries and micro distilleries are a potential windfall for them. And yet it’s a complete nightmare to navigate the current system.
Look at these Oregon statistics from the Editor’s Note in the most recent edition of Portland Monthly Magazine:
“According to industry sources, craft brewing contributed an estimated $2.33 billion to Oregon’s economy; winemaking a mere $1.4 billion.”
Okay, so it’s not a fair comparison to Montana, but we have, or did at last look, the most breweries per capita of any state in the union, and we tend to consume craft beer a little more than anyone else in the country. So there is no reason the Montana craft breweries couldn’t contribute a significant amount of cash to Montana’s coffers. Except those antiquated, prohibition-era laws that continue to plague the industry to this day.
Can you imagine of Jurgen Knoller, founder of Bayern Brewery, could produce more than 10,000 barrels a year and keep his tap room? The tax revenue for the state would be huge. Same goes for Tim O’Leary at Kettlehouse. What if Big Sky Brewing Company could have an actual tap room and continue to send great Montana beer across the nation? A boon for this state for sure. But we continue to be influenced by an old Tavern Owner’s Association lobby that utilizes old and antiquated laws to keep the brewers under their thumb.
Wake up Montana, it’s time to taste the goodness of craft beer in the can, the bottle, the growler and in our state pocket book.
It’s nothing I haven’t said before, but media covering the Savor event in D.C. seem to think this concept is the most amazing thing to come out of Washington in two decades.
It’s really very simple. Beer is more approachable than wine. Beer has more flavor possibilities than wine. Beer is more affordable than wine. Beer is just as good with food as wine.
Add it all up folks, and you’d do well to give that beer menu a second look next time you grab dinner out. I’m just saying, a $15 bottle of beer paired perfectly with your steak or roast chicken compared to a $50 bottle of wine makes sense.
Yes, it’s Cinco de Mayo again. For many years, I/we’ve celebrated by going to a gloriously overcrowded Mexican food restaurant and ordering TexMex food and buckets of Coronas with lime wedges.
I did none of the above this year.
Perhaps it’s because I live in Montana, a land curiously devoid of anyone of Hispanic ethnicity. This has a curious effect on Mexican food, which tends to be emulated by hippie children who stuff ginormous flower tortillas with everything from salmon to blue cheese under the guise of the ubiquitous burrito.
My wife and I traveled to Mexico every year for many years in search of authenticity, and it was in Mexico that we discovered that Cinco de Mayo is not much more than a card-company holiday. For the people of Mexico, Cinco de Mayo represents a significant win on the way to Independence, but it’s not nearly on the level of an Independence Day. It’d be like Americans going out to get drunk in celebration of the Battle of Ticonderoga or Paul Revere’s ride.
But Mexico is where we discovered the joy of a good Mexican lager on a hot day. It was in Mexico where we learned that you could get attacked for popping the lime into a bottle of Corona by children who collect the bottles for resale. It was in Mexico that we learned that you rub a lime around the lip of a bottle to kill germs that might be on it because it’s recycled.
As much as people might be hot over the issue of immigration, Mexico has contributed greatly to the North American culture. In the arena of beer, I know people who will order a Mexican lager over a domestic or a European import any day.
The first beer my wife liked was a Pacifico stuffed with about six lime wedges.
For me, it was a Negro Modelo on warm Sea of Cortez beach while eating skate tacos and shark-meat ceviche.
A Montana State University research team is editing footage they’ve been compiling that showcases the unique characteristics of Montana breweries, according to an article out of MSU.
For two years I’ve been writing about how I believe Montana breweries are completely unique among American breweries. From Butte to Billings, this state’s craft breweries offer more than just a product we all love, they offer a lifestyle that we’re looking for.
Being able to take my daughter to Kettlehouse Brewing Co. with me on Fridays is beyond what I could hope for in terms of balancing social life and family, because the brewery doesn’t just cater to college kids. They serve rootbeer and sort of foster a culture of awareness that little ones might be around.
Quarry Brewing Co. in Butte has chalkboard walls, a popcorn machine and games for the kids, while Blacksmith Brewing Co. in Stevensville allows families to order pizza delivered to the brewery and serves rootbeer for the youngsters.
The research team out of Bozeman hit up about 20 breweries around the state, which is more than I’ve hit, sadly, and they discovered what I discovered after visiting just one brewery. Montana probably has the best beer culture going in the country right now.
Hello everyone, I’d like to introduce you to Beaver Creek Brewing Co. from Wibaux, Montana. Chances are you might not get out to this brewery that often, but in case you’re in that part of the country, look them up, they’ve got an exciting lineup of new beers. But I’ll let Jim tell you about them.
Beers we plan to have on tap are:
1. Wibaux’s Gold-5.5%-lightly hopped made with some locally produced honey. What we call our “Bud Light Transformation Beer.”
2. Beaver Creek Pale Ale-6.6%-Refreshingly hoppy ale
3. Redheaded IPA -Rich red India Pale Ale with bold hop flavors
4. Paddlefish Stout-Made with dark roasted malts with a smooth espresso finish
We’ll have a 5th rotating beer someday!!!!!!! And root beer on tap. Hours are 4-8pm Thur-Sun
See you in Wibaux,
This article in the Denver Post highlights the desperation of the big breweries to catch the fast-growth craft beer industry. They are failing badly.
- Craft beer is a relationship between brewer and beer lover. Big breweries lost that relationship when they went after market share.
- Craft beer doesn’t skimp on flavor for production. Though some brewers filter their beer to prolong shelf life, most brew to exacting standards to preserve the taste and quality of their beer for conscientious beer drinkers.
- Craft beer drinkers like real choices, not one beer interpreted three ways.
- Craft beer often is real beer. It is a living organism not heat pasteurized and cold filtered. With apologies to Bayern, which produces lagered craft beers that go through a cold filtering. See the video here.
- Craft beer is a lifestyle, not an unrealistic beach volleyball scene with voluptuous women falling out of their bikinis.
- With the vast majority of the more than 4,000 breweries in this country being destination craft breweries, it won’t be as easy to dupe beer drinkers into believing the Miller Light Brewing Collection is anything other than Miller Light.
- Craft beer is local. Even regional microbreweries are pulling back to make sure their own backyard is covered. With so many small non-production craft breweries popping up, the landscape has changed to hyper local. There is nothing hyper local about Miller Light’s Brewing Collection.
- Craft beer is changing the way people think about drinking and eating. Beer is not just for chugging any more. Beer is now the hot item at fancy restaurants as sommeliers are constantly asked for a beer to match with food. Beer is food. Miller Light is not.
- Craft beer’s growth can be partially attributed to the education of the American palate. Once you go craft, you never go back. Though my best friend Jason has reverted to drinking PBR, I attribute that more to the fact that he’s an urban hipster and doesn’t want to hurt his image by drinking that bourgeoisie craft beer.
- There’s a new king in town, and its called craft beer. It is not one dominant brand, it is a nation of breweries as distinct as the geography and the humanity that define them.
A rose by any other name does not apply here. Cheap beer still is cheap beer, even if you call it craft style.
We’ll postpone Olympic coverage for one night in order to bring you a tour of what’s going on at Blackfoot River Brewing Co. in Helena, Montana.
This might get a little bit personal. For that I apologize. But Georgia is a country that is close to my heart. The people are some of the warmest, most-loving and hospitable people on the planet.
What is happening now with Russia is a devastating thing for a people who are committed to democracy and freedom.
A good friend of mine, Milena, is unaccounted for somewhere in Georgia. She traveled there in June to attend the funeral of her father, with plans to return to her studies at the University of Montana in August. I have not heard from her, and my prayers and thoughts go out to her family today and until I hear of her safe return.
The Georgians are not well-represented at the Olympics, nonetheless, Nino Salukvadze managed to bring home a bronze medal in the Women’s 10m Air Pistol event. I know this won’t resonate for many, but I wanted to bring it up because the Olympics are supposedly a time of peace. The fact that the Russians would use this time to launch a full-scale assault against Georgia is not only appalling, it is a basic affront to what the human race has established in terms of the preservation of human rights since World War II.
Georgia: It is a wine region with some of the oldest evidence of wine making anywhere in the world. It’s wines are touted the world round, though we don’t often get access to them in the West. My dear friend Milena has provided Georgian wine for me and my family at her own expense. For this I’m eternally grateful.
But for beer, which may actually predate wine in the region, the cold mountain water, some of which comes from 16,000-foot high peaks, makes for fantastic beers. Newer German brewery standards have revolutionized the beer industry, and now the beverage is taking on wine as a formidable export from Georgia.
Don’t forget that Big Sky Brewing Co. is doing a Firkin tasting today, and every Wednesday in August down at the Old Post Pub. Tasting begins at 4 p.m. If you don’t know what I mean when I say firkin tasting, read this.
See you there,
As I’ve said before, living next to a brewery has its advantages. Like $5 growler fills on Tuesday nights and Super Goat, an unfiltered, dry hopped version of Big Sky Brewing Co.’s Scape Goat Pale Ale.
With my kids screaming for cheeseburgers on the grill, and my wife away at work, it was an easy decision to cruise over to the brewery for a growler of Super Goat to wash down a Tillamook turkey cheeseburger.
Scape Goat is a light, refreshing American-style pale ale rich with the brewery’s characteristic East Kent Goldings and a healthy dose of Cascades. My apologies, it’s Crystal hops. Big Sky doesn’t use any Cascades.
Though Big Sky doesn’t micro filter any of their beers down to nothing, the unfiltered Super Goat retains some malt and yeast characteristics that only add to the golden glowing goodness. And the dry hopping adds a flavor dimension that while not profoundly different, gives off the subtle yet distinct taste of Juicy Fruit gum.
I’ll admit that I knew that, but I couldn’t remember the flavor profile last night as I was tasting, and I couldn’t put my finger on what the fruitiness I was tasting was. So I asked Big Sky head brewer Matt Long for a reminder.
Here’s what Matt says:
Scape Goat is an American Pale Ale that has English hops for the bittering. The fruitiness (distinctively grapefruit) comes from the domestic hops that are used for the flavor and aroma hop additions.
Super Goat is dry hopped with an entirely different domestic hop that lends a juicyfruit (yes, the gum) type of flavor. A lot of fruity and floral essence and flavor with this beer.
I’ll not disagree with him. As to matching this beer with food, it makes a wonderful companion to burgers, as I’ve already said, but it pairs great with cheeses too. I tried it with a robust bleu, havarti, swiss and a smoky cheddar. Each cheese brought out a different characteristic in the beer. Super Goat stands up well to barbecued chicken, pulled pork and pasta dishes. And the Juicy Fruit flavors of the hops used for dry hopping make for an interesting pairing with Big Dipper’s cardamom ice cream. Trust me, you’ll like it.