Brewers, beer drinkers descend on festival

By HALEY ANDERSON/Montana State News 

Some 1,400 people  and dozens of brewers converged on Gallatin County Fairgrounds last weekend for the sixth annual Montana Beer Festival where approximately 1,400 people gathered together to celebrate.

Hundreds of brew loving Bozemaniacs flooded the fairgrounds in search of the perfect pint. A flat ticket price from $25 – $50 covered all the beer you could drink from nearly 40 breweries, and many people found themselves over indulging in the opportunity.

Many of the breweries highlighted were local to Montana, but several others hailed from across the Northwest: California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming.

Over 100 beers were available to taste, and each differed from the last. Second time visitor of the festival, Matthew Perk, shared his personal view of the festival in saying, “The festival is great. It gathers people from all over together to share a common interest, being my second year here, I feel like I’m part of the club.”

Perk went on to say, “It’s also cool that people are able to see how good Montana beer is. Lots of our breweries don’t bottle, and if they do they don’t ship out of state. When people get the chance to try it here, they see another ‘best kept secret’ that Montanan’s have.”

For all the drinking that occurred, Montana Beer Festival was able to set aside a lounge for designated drivers to hang out in with free soda and water.

Mark Shilz, was one of the drinkers to have a designated driver with them. “I know how lucky I am! I live on the south side of town and there is no way I would be able to make my way back without her. Safety first.”

Along with the caution of having designated drivers on hand, the security this year had a low tolerance policy for people who had drank beyond their limits, “There’s a lot less violence this year. People are able to just enjoy themselves, and feel comfortable…if it were just a wee bit warmer.”

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