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Montana Microbrew

Beer Fans Flock to Bozeman

It only happens once each year, a chance for beer aficionados to taste the signature brews of three-dozen craft breweries without leaving the building. And that's exactly what a couple of thousand of them did Friday night in Bozeman at the Second Annual Montana Beer Festival. At the door, after paying the $28 fee, everybody received an "Official Tasting Guide & Program" and a special six-ounce tasting glass--and a classy one, by the way, not a plastic cup--that they could fill up at no additional cost all night, from 5 pm to midnight.

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Montana Brewers, Taprooms Prosper in Local Markets, Drawing Tourists

Editor's Note: A couple months ago, in a moment of weakness, I decided to take on a new challenge, a year-long tour of Montana's microbreweries and write an article on each one. Today, I'm launching that new series on NewWest.Net with this overview of the industry and how microbreweries fit into the economic and tourism pictures in Montana. I'm also posting the first of long series of features on individual breweries starting with the Lewis & Clark Brewing in Helena. You will also be able to see the articles on the Travel Montana website, visitmt.com. Throughout the year, I'll be visiting most microbreweries in the state and posting profiles on them and their owners. After I finish this series, my byline might be a little scarce for a few months while I'm in recovery.-- Bill Schneider

Click more below for the first installment and check in with www.newwest.net/microbrew to tag along with Bill.

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Lewis & Clark Brewing: Home of the Hoppiest Beer in Montana

Above: Max Pigman, owner, and one of his unique, environmentally friendly six-packs. Middle: Environmentally friendly six-pack packaging found only at Lewis & Clark Brewing. Lower: Brewer T.J. Staples brewing up more IPA.

Lewis & Clark Brewing in Helena, Montana, used to be a Sleeping Giant. And perhaps it still is. In March, 2002, Max Pigman bought the struggling Sleeping Giant Brewing. Ever since, his business has been anything but sleepy. "We kept the Sleeping Giant name for about two years," Pigman explains, but then decided to re-name it. "Outside of Helena, the term 'sleeping giant' (a recognizable mountain north of town) wasn't well known, and we started marketing our beer outside Helena. Also, we decided the words 'sleeping' and 'beer' didn't really go together." Or do they? Editor"s Note: For a complete list of Microbrew Montana articles to date, click here.

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For Beer and Music Lovers Only

Getting festive at the Montana Beer Fest, coming up April 11 in Bozeman. Photo by Sam Porter.

If you like good beer, and a lot of Montanans do, they're holding a festival just for you. It's the second annual Montana Beer Festival, April 11 in Bozeman. Sam Porter of Porterhouse Productions, the primary promoter of the event, told NewWest.Net that he has 35 breweries lined up to serve 85 different "craft" beers.

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