HELENA — From Libby to Livingston, the 'Last Best Pale Ale' is coming to a tap handle near many Montanans. The project is a culmination of efforts by the Montana Brewers Association and 15 breweries across Montana, with each brewery putting its own spin on the 'Last Best Pale Ale.'
"Breweries that are in the Montana Brewers Association, we all came together, we decided on a style, the 'Last Best Pale Ale,' and we decided to brew it with ingredients and release it at the same time. It's a really good way for the brewers and the breweries to get together," said Tim Chisman, Blackfoot River Brewing's head brewer and managing partner.
Though the beers at each brewery are going to be under the same label, a beer at one brewery will not be the same at another.
"No recipe per se, except it's just a pale ale and then we asked that everyone buy either hops or barley from some of our small producers in the state to kind of highlight not only, you know, the great brewery scene we have here, but like this growing small craft Maltsters and hop farms that we have, which is kind of unique to our industry," said Ten Mile Creek Brewery co-owner Ethan Kohoutek. "This state is able to kind of check all the boxes in, in the actual production of this beer, because not a lot of states are able to grow, you know, all of the ingredients that need to go into a beer."
According to a press release from the Montana Brewers Association, a portion of each sale of a 'Last Best Pale Ale' will be donated to the MBA "to continue the mission of promoting the production and sales of the freshest and highest quality Montana made beers." Another portion of the donations will go towards funding scholarships for students at MSU's Barley, Malt, and Brewing Quality lab.
4/06/22 will mark the second installment in the project's life span and Chisman hopes this year's beer will be as well received.
"People were really excited to get a Montana grown, brewed, and consumed beer that everybody kind of collaborated together to make," said Chisman.
In fact, people were so excited that both Chisman and Kohoutek noted there were several customers who said they were taking road trips to try and taste as many as they could.
"The first week, in particular, there was quite a few people coming through. I don't have an exact number. But definitely, we already have some road trip warriors in the beer world that love going to the different towns." said Kohoutek. "I mean, it's a beautiful state to drive across. So this just adds, you know, another flavor or flair to that trip."
To find a 'Last Best Pale Ale' while supplies last, or to use as a guide for a road trip, a map is available.