Remember that family vacation you took many decades ago to the American West? You know, the one that followed Interstate 90 through Montana, Idaho, and onward to the Pacific Ocean? If you went on such a road trip back then, there is a good chance you made a stop in Billings, Montana for an evening dinner and a good night’s sleep. You may have taken in the local scenery and perhaps made a quick drive through the downtown, just to contrast the differences between this western outpost and your own, more heavily populated eastern hometown.
Except for sampling that elusive western brew known as Coors, you probably didn’t think much about beer and continued on your way toward the American west coast. But today, the beer culture has certainly changed in Billings and changed for the better. This was abundantly clear in Denver, Colorado this week when local brewery Uberbrew took home multiple medals, turned a few heads, and brought some much deserved attention to this often overlooked Rocky Mountain city.
Bigger Isn’t Better
Great Beer Now attended this year’s Great American Beer Festival award’s ceremony and one of the things that struck me this year is that the big craft breweries largely went without recognition. There were no medals handed out to Boston Beer, Sierra Nevada, Dogfish Head, Stone Brewing, or other craft beer heavyweights. In fact, unlike with past Great American Beer Festivals, I recognized the names of only a small fraction of the winners. Sitting in the front row, listening to the Brewer’s Association roll call of medal victories, I found myself feeling a little bewildered because I didn’t recognize the names of the majority of breweries. And in the middle of it all, one thing stuck with me: The state of Montana was mentioned with great frequency and the recipient of most of these awards handed out to the land of big skies was none other than Uberbrew
Abundance of Hardware
Uberbrew walked away from the 2016 Great American Beer Festival with a total of five awards! Here is a recap of Uberbrew’s incredible showing:
- White Noise, American Style Wheat Beer with Yeast
- Humulus Insani, Imperial India Pale Ale
- Average at Best, Double Red Ale
- Alpha Force Double Tap, American Style Black Ale
- Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
To win a pair of medals would be outstanding. To win three would be amazing. To win four would be astonishing. But five Great American Beer Festival awards? I can only imagine the state of euphoria felt by Uberbrew and its staff. Not only did the beer win four medals, but they even capped off the evening of recognition bliss with an award for Small Brewing Company and Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year.
The Case is Growing
Uberbrew’s fantastic showing at this year’s Great American Beer festival will certainly lead to a shortage of space in the brewery’s trophy case, but this isn’t the first time Uberbrew has been recognized for brewing excellence. A quick check of the records shows that Uberbrew has won awards in the World Beer Cup and North American Beer Awards. Plus, the brewery won a Silver Medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2014 for its Black Hops Tactical IPA. The contents of the trophy display case, and the case for including Uberbrew among the nation’s finest breweries, both continue to grow.
Visit Montana…for Beer!
Montana is a state of scenic wonder. Home to Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, and a gateway to Yellowstone National Park, Montana is a nature lover’s paradise and a place where one can lower the windows, take in the fresh air, and gaze in awe at the magnificent Rocky Mountain landscape.
I have visited Montana in the past and, as often the case, it was during a family vacation to the west coast. We passed through Billings and I didn’t give much thought to what was going on around me. But now that I know about the amazing craft beer talent at Uberbrew, I have a reason to revisit Montana’s largest city once again- a reason that goes beyond the natural scenery or the need for a quick meal and hotel on the way to the Pacific coast. Billings deserves attention as a destination unto itself, and Uberbrew is largely to thank.