FORT BENTON — A coalition of 19 breweries across Montana collaborated to create what they call "The Last Best Pale Ale," a fundraiser created by the Montana Brewers Association.
All brewers were given guidelines to use “C” hops from Crooked Yard Hops, Hopzoil from Glacier Hops Ranch, and pale and crystal malts provided by Farm Power Malt, Gallatin Valley Malt, Malteurop, and Montana Craft Malt. Outside of those guidelines breweries were able to add their own twist.
“This is very unique this is a barley that has never been brewed with before so to talk about notes and stuff this is a first-time go,” said Brandon Roberts about his twist ingredient.
The Buzz barley is known as a foundation seed because it is so new that it is not widely grown by farmers yet. Roberts had his Buzz barley custom malted by Farm Power Malt to make his brew known as a SHaSH, or Single Hop- Single Malt.
“So I really wanted to showcase the ingredients in the beer. I didn’t want them to get muddied or clouded with any other ingredients in there. So this is a very difficult beer to brew because you don’t have anything else to hide behind trying to allow people to really taste this new barley,” said Roberts.
The Montana Brewers Association created the Last Best Pale Ale fundraiser after COVID-19 caused the cancellation of all Brew Fest activities in 2020.
“We’re so lucky to live in a state where these local suppliers are our neighbors, they’re our friends. We have relationships with them, they’re excited to be a part of this. So it’s a celebration of not only Montana craft beer but also the agricultural industry that supplies our breweries here in Montana,” noted Montana Brewers Association director Matt Leow.
Now the Last Best Pale Ale has brought together farmers, maltster, hop growers, and brewers to produce a uniquely Montana beer.
“Heading straight to the source and working directly with agricultural producers— farm families and taking that and turning it into beer it’s what we are about,” said Brandon Roberts.
Funds from sales at all 19 breweries will support the Brewers State Guild and scholarship for students of the MSU Barley Breeding Program.
The fundraiser debuted on March 20 to ring in the first day of spring.
Find the Last Best Pale Ale at the following breweries starting March 20 (unless otherwise indicated):
- 2 Basset Brewery (White Sulphur Springs)
- Bitter Root Brewing (Hamilton)
- Blackfoot River Brewing Co. (Helena)
- Cabinet Mountain Brewing Co. (Libby)
- Copper Furrow Brewing (Helena)
- Draught Works (Missoula)
- GILD (Missoula) *on tap March 24
- Golden Triangle Brew Co. (Fort Benton) *on tap March 27
- Highlander Beer (Missoula) *on tap March 30
- Katabatic Brewing Co. (Livingston) *on tap March 27
- KettleHouse Brewing (Missoula)
- MAP Brewing Co. (Bozeman)
- Mighty Mo Brewing Co. (Great Falls)
- Missouri River Brewing (East Helena)
- Old Bull Brewing (Frenchtown) *on tap March 27
- Outlaw Brewing (Bozeman)
- Philipsburg Brewing Co. (Philipsburg)
- Ronan Cooperative Brewery (Ronan)
- Ten Mile Creek Brewery (Helena)