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Montana Breweries Honor a Long History of Brewing

Montana Breweries Honor a Long History of Brewing

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Montana breweries have been serving craft beer long before it was cool

Whether it’s a casual drink at a backyard barbecue or a tasting among connoisseurs at a microbrewery, craft beer has never been so loved.

Sure the surge in excitement around craft beer is fairly new, the out-of-the-way state of Montana has been brewing delicious beers in Montana for a century and a half.

Here’s how Montana’s breweries got started, and what they’re brewing today.

Download a high-resolution version of the Montana Brewers Trail Map, here.

Bozeman’s History of Brewing

Bozeman is no stranger to the brewing scene. German immigrants, Charles Krug and Jacob Spieth, began brewing beer in 1867. Their operation still stands as the Union Hall Brewery in Bozeman. More on that in a minute.

The mining and logging industries were big in Montana back then, which produced lots of folks looking for a cool drink. Breweries were so integral to society that they became a sign of the economic health of a town, often going up in a new town even before churches. Even Jesus said it’s important to meet the body’s needs in order to meet the spiritual ones!

Now, the Montana Brewers Association boasts that Montana has the second most breweries per capita, only behind Vermont. 

Union Hall Brewery

“In Beer We Trust.” That’s the motto of Union Hall Brewery, Bozeman’s oldest brewery. Steadfast in their belief that beer brings people together, everyone is welcome to this craft beer haven in the heart of Bozeman. From executives to ski bums, tourists to blue-collar workers.

Nowadays, the brewery is run by two East Coast boys who came to Montana to ski. They fell in love with two Montana girls and here they are serving up pints to thirsty travelers.

Bridger Brewing Company

What goes great with beer? Pizza! The Bridger Brewing Company puts both together for a scrumptious feast for foodies and craft beer lovers alike. The folks who run Bridger Brewing are lovers of the outdoors. The company’s website says they “draw inspiration from wild places for every beer” they make.

Love the idea of giving back? The company donates $1 of every pint sold on Mondays to community organizations. During the COVID crisis, they have been actively donating to a local urgent care center to support those on the front lines.

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As Bozeman reopens for business, considering giving back to Bridger Brewing by buying a pint.

Big Sky Brewery

Over in Missoula, the Big Sky Brewery holds the distinction of being the city’s most popular brewery. On that note, the city itself ranks in the top 10 in the nation for most breweries per capita.

Craft beer enthusiasts — or anyone interested in the beer-making process — can take a free 30- to 45-minute guided tour of the brewery every Tuesday and Thursday at 4 p.m. To go on the tour, visitors can simply show up and let the staff know they would like to join the tour.  

The Popularity of Beer Brewing in Montana

One thing’s for sure, wherever visitors decide to go in Montana, they can find a great selection of craft beer. The state not only is full of beer lovers but also boasts a long and rich history of beer making.

It definitely should make it on the “must visit” wish list of craft beer fans everywhere.

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