For craft beer lovers, Bozeman was rocking Friday night, October 23, when about 900 people crowded into exhibition buildings at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds for the first-ever Octoberfest sponsored by the Montana Brewer’s Association (MBA).
All seventeen brewery members of the organization were on hand featuring their favorite brews, 54 choices in all, and since I was among the 900, I can testify to the fact that the crowd loved every minute–and every ounce–of it.
“It was a good start and turned about how we expected,” MBA president and owner of Red Lodge Ales Sam Hoffmann told NewWest.Net after the event. “We were pleased with how everything went. We had great representation from all of our members, a great turnout, and some great HB400 beers.”
(HB400 is a law passed earlier this year by the Montana Legislature allowing brewers to make specialty beers with higher alcohol content than 8.75 percent by volume, the former maximum allowable limit.)
“We’re looking forward to do it again next year,” Hoffmann added.
“Definitely a successful event,” agreed MBA executive director Tony Herbert, who did much of the organizational work to put it all together. “Everybody had a really good time, and the volunteers were outstanding.”
Proceeds from the Octoberfest went to Montana Brewers Association, Gallatin Valley Land Trust, and KGLT, southwestern Montana’s public radio source.
Three Montana bands–Little Jane and the Pistol Whips, The Growlers, and The Dirty Shame–provided the entertainment, and Montana Fish Company and Old Chicago, both of Bozeman, provided the food.
“The brewers are very pleased with the results,” Herbert added. “And we hope to build on these results and plan to have another festival next year.”
Herbert said there was some talk about moving the brew fest to another community, but lots of people were also happy to leave it in Bozeman.
Unlike many beer festivals, the MBA Octoberfest did not have an extensive judging of beer in various categories, but the organization did have a People’s Choice Award, voted on by the participants.
And the winner is…..Redheaded IPA brewed by Beaver Creek Brewery, Montana’s most remote brewery located in Wibaux, Montana, which is a stone’s throw from North Dakota.
And also the subject of a recent feature and video on NewWest.Net. Click here to check it out.
Lewis and Clark Brewing of Helena won second place with its Pumpkin Ale, and Madison River Brewing of Belgrade won third with its Black Ghost Stout.
So, microbrew loyals who missed this hoppin’ good time, start planning for next year. You don’t want to miss two in a row.