The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

Fair Board Reports a Successful Brew Fest


February 13, 2019

If making a profit can define success, then the inaugural Blaine County Brew Fest held in the Commercial Building at the fairgrounds on January 26 was a success. According to Fair Board member Loren Skoyen, plans are already in the works to make this an annual affair.

Although the Fair Foundation contacted 53 breweries, only seven Montana breweries were represented at the Brew Fest: Busted Knuckle from Glasgow, Jeremiah Johnson from Great Falls, Draught Works from Missoula, Bitterroot Brewing from Hamilton, and Old Station Brewing, Triple Dog Brewing, and Vizsla Brewing from Havre. Yellowstone Cellars and Winery was also represented, and several other beers were poured for purchase, such as an Alaskan amber and a Deschutes porter.

If a dry keg is any indication of a beer's popularity, an eight-gallon keg of Fender Bender Blackberry Ale from Busted Knuckle was the first one dry, followed by a sixteen-gallon keg of Bears Paw Belgian Wit, a wheat ale from Triple Dog Brewing Company.

The dates for next year's Brew Fest may change, since there were conflicts this year, but Skoyen reported that everyone left satisfied and hoping for a repeat of the event.

"I thought we were inviting trouble by holding the Brew Fest in a building with concrete floors, but we only lost two glasses, and those were from minor bumps; no one got out of hand," Skoyen said.

Other changes the Fair Board will implement include buying fewer glasses or not printing the year on the glassware since of the 400 glasses purchased, they only sold 267. There are also plans for arranging a shuttle from Havre that would depart at 4:30 p.m. and return after 9:00 p.m.

Not wanting to run out of beer, event organizers erred on the side of surplus. "Next year, we will not be buying any back-up kegs of beer because we had leftover beer," Skoyen reported, "so to liquidate that, I put out a notice on Facebook that we were filling growlers on Sunday morning in exchange for a free will offering. The breweries were very generous and brought more beer than we anticipated, so if we buy any extra, it will be from them."

Skoyen wished to thank all of the sponsors and volunteers who made the event a success. "Almost everything from the beer to the entertainment to the labor was donated," Skoyen said. "I want to give a BIG shout out to James DesRosier. He and Tori did all of the footwork in contacting the breweries and getting much of the event organized.

"And of course, none of this would have happened without the Fair Foundation and the Fair Board who donate their time," he added.

Skoyen went on to thank Tara Hofeldt, who arranged for the Yellowstone Winery to offer wine tasting; Debbie Ramberg who managed and sold the food; Chris Preputin for the sound equipment; TJ Overcast who sang and played guitar; and the entire crew who had to take a Responsible Alcohol Service (RAS) training before they could pour beer: Megan Raty, Carol Warburton, Carla Zarn, Trapper Skoyen, John Skoyen, and Cassie Johnson.


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