HELENA — Breweries from throughout Montana are encouraged to pick their best beers and submit them for judging in the inaugural Montana Beer Awards.
“This competition is open to every brewery, and we want to foster some of that community and camaraderie that I think is really important for keeping craft beer kind of viable and alive,” says Loy Maierhauser, the Competition Committee Chair with the Montana Brewers Association.
The very first Montana Beer Awards will be held at Lewis & Clark Brewing Company on February 24.
They are accepting submissions for 19 categories. Breweries can submit multiple beers per category. Gold, silver, and bronze will be awarded for these categories. Additionally, the small, medium, and large breweries of the year will be named and the 2024 Community Impact Award given.
A panel of judges from across the country made up of industry experts, brewers, and certified beer judges will make their selections prior to the awards ceremony. Beers are judged blind.
During the event, the public will have the opportunity to try guest taps from breweries in the state as well as Lewis and Clark Brewing Company beer.
This competition can also provide constructive feedback for the brewers. Maierhauser hopes that the Montana Beer Awards will prompt all craft breweries to make their best beer possible and keep Montana’s name at the forefront of the craft beer scene throughout the nation.
“The hope is that we are giving breweries high-quality feedback on their beers, that they can turn around and like, tweak their recipes, and then feel really confident sending them into the Great American Beer Fest or to World Beer Cup because they've gotten that high-quality feedback. And then hopefully we start to see more Montana breweries, you know, confidently bringing home gold at some of these bigger competitions,” says Maierhauser.
Submissions must be in by the end of January and samples must be dropped off between February 12-16 at L&C Brewing Company in Helena.
The competition is only taking submissions from breweries that are licensed commercial breweries within state boundaries.