Categorized under: beer

2019 Beer Now – General Musings

Great Falls, Montana – Celebrating Great Falls Beer Week

Here are some general notes from Day 1 of the Beer Now Conference.

Why Great Falls?

  • Lewis and Clarke spent some time here.
    • “The Lewis and Clark Expedition from May 1804 to September 1806, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the first American expedition to cross the western portion of the United States. Dates: May 14, 1804 – Sep 23, 1806” “They journeyed westward across Montana from April 1805 to September of that year.” (from Wikipedia)
  • Montana made malt. Agriculture within the Golden Triangle, with Great Falls being the bottom tip. Malteurop works with local Montana farmers, to malt local (2-row) barley
  • Montana is second in the nation for beer drank per capita. (Behind New Hampshire — YEAH BABY)

Top 10 things to do in Great Falls

  • Outdoor dining
  • Live mermaid show
  • Celtic Cowboy, best Irish Pub with Sports experience
  • Steinhaus (dedicated to local Montana craft beer)
  • Chat with a farmer
  • Head to elevation 33,30
  • Giant Springs State Park
  • Five Waterfalls (called Electric City). Hydro electric dams
  • 27 sculptures around town.
  • Meet the locals

Random Thoughts

  • Best Things Ever:
    • ROOM HAS AMPLE Power outlets. Floor and wall options.
    • WIFI has stayed fully operational (for now)
  • Conference Rule: (BOOO) If you are drinking beer, you can’t pour your own beer. [When will someone pour us a beer! This tea/coffee ain’t cutting it.]
  • 9:05 Reno pokes fun at Julia.
  • 9:36 First “Huck” reference
  • 10:45 The Montana Local, Better Website, Better Influencer, panel was informative. The website strategy guide and checklist can be downloaded from
  • 11:00 Sean is onto his second English Breakfast Tea. No beer sighting yet.
  • Lester Jones from NBWA, has an “entrance song”.
    • You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer – Frank Zappa
    • Cool notes from Lester
      • 1830 pieces of legislation passed since 2012
      • Frank Lauer was the first beer lobbyist, lobbying against taxes despite a civil war. (circa 1862)
      • From 1977 to 2019, there haven’t been many changes within the top five suppliers (market share) in the US. The Top 5 in 1977 had a 70% market share. Now, the Top 5, holds 80% share.
      • “Paintings are like a beer, only beer tasted good and it’s hard to stop drinking beer” – Billy Carter, 1977
      • TTB permit number 10,629 permitted breweries in this country. NH permits are 111. MA is 239.
      • New TTB permits 514 in Q1 2019. 5 in NH.
      • TTB brewery permits issued per day. Currently 5.7 permits per day, in 2019.
      • The number of places that you can buy beer is growing. (Amazon, Drizzly, MiniBar, Klink, Sauce, Hopsy, Total Wine, Bumble, Brick and mortar)
      • As new retail and e-commerce expands, traditional bars and taverns close? [Decline from 2010 through 2017, with a slight increase in 2018.]
      • Since 2010, on average, beer consumption might be down, but the average ABV per serving has increased. Drinking less? Bull crap! Just drinking differently. Not drinking less, drinking differently. We’re looking with blinders on, at different channels.
  • Malt: The Montana Difference
    • Three states in the US produce 75% of the barley in the US: Montana is #1 in seeded acres, Idaho is #1 in overall production and North Dakota.
    • Montana’s acres are “dry acres”. Not irrigated.
    • Hardly anyone plants barley, just for feed (unless it’s for their own operations).
    • “You can’t make good beer with bad malts.”
  • Keynote: Josh Noel, Author of Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out
    • “If you are telling the story of beer, with accuracy and respect to the story — you aren’t a beer blogger, you are a journalist”.
    • Why not the same passion for yogurt? “No one goes to a bowling alley and orders a pitcher of Yogurt”.
    • “It’s a frenzied and chaotic time in craft beer” “too much choice”
    • Not a fan of October.
    • Something learned: “joining pods” (not a positive thing) ….
  • Made in Montana
    • Learned about growing malts and hops in Montana.
    • Glacier Hops Ranch. Steam Distilled hop oils. Benefits include better shelf life for hoppy profile (aromatics). Only added on the cold side. It’s a substitute/enhancement for pellets. Produced only from fresh hops, before they are dried.
  • Beer and Cheese pairing, with Chimay
    • “I didn’t make the yeast, I isolated the yeast”, quote from Father Theodore
    • Chimay’s history
      • 1850 Founded the Abbey by 17 monks from Westvleteren
      • 1862 Launched Chimay Premier (Red)
      • 1876 Started to produce cheese
      • 1956 Launched Chimay Grande Reserve (Blue)
      • 1966 Launched Chimay Cinq Cents (White)
      • 1982 First shipment of beer to the US
      • 2013 First brewed Chimay Doree (Gold)
      • 2015 First brewed Grande Réserve Barrel Aged
    • Fun Facts
      • Started pairing beer with cheese in 1876
      • 51% of the Chimay beer produced is exported
      • There are 6 trappist breweries in Belgium, 13 total in the world.
      • (Now) 1.8 Chimay beers per second are consumed
      • It takes 10 liters of milk to create 1 kilo of cheese
      • There are 200+ farmers in the Chimay area, producing milk for the Chimay Cheese
      • Chimay uses 3.5 liters of water to create 1 liter of beer
      • In 2018, Chimay brewed 183,871 hecto liters of beer.
      • There are 154 employees working for Chimay.

Many thanks to Jeremiah Johnson Brewery for hosting a dinner at the brewery, along with other Montana breweries.

Cool Mug, Thank you

I hope that you enjoyed day one

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