What you're drinking: A pineapple American wheat concocted by Lolo homebrewer Clint Nissen and on tap for a limited time at Great Burn Brewing.
What's the story: All these beer origin stories start the same way: over beers. Great Burn head brewer Mike Howard was having a cold one in his taproom with representatives from Zoo City Zymurgists, the local homebrew club. (Zymurgist, by the way, is a fancy term for scientists who study fermentation). Howard agreed to sponsor a contest whereby the winner got to brew five barrels of his or her recipe on Great Burn's equipment for distribution in the taproom. Rules: Stick to summertime beers, and bonus points for using Great Burn's house yeast.
- photo by Derek Brouwer
About the winning beer: It's certainly summery and sessionable at 20 IBUs and 5.6 percent alcohol by volume. Howard describes it as a pretty simple wheat beer with the twist of pineapple juice, which gives it a tangy flavor distinct from your typical orangey wheat. Finding enough pineapple juice for five barrels wasn't simple, or cheap, he notes.
About the winning brewer: Clint Nissen, of Lolo, is a frequent winner on the Montana homebrew circuit. He's been brewing for a decade and has won similar contests at Bridger Brewing in Bozeman and Mighty Mo Brewing in Great Falls.
In other news: Great Burn celebrates its third anniversary later this month. Mark the party on your calendar, though, for Sept. 10. It will feature food and free drinks for the brewery's mug club members.
Where to find it: Great Burn Brewing, 2230 McDonald Ave. Howard expects the pineapple wheat will be on tap for about three more weeks.