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Happiest Hour

The Year in Brews



Put on your beer goggles, refill your glass and settle back onto your bar stool because we're going to recap the year's most memorable moments in local booze news.

April: Kettlehouse's Double Haul IPA wins gold at the 2014 World Beer Cup, beating 40 other entries for the top slot in the English Style IPA category. Big Sky Brewing also took home a silver for its Power Wagon Wheat Wine in the "Other Strong Beer" category.

July: Lolo Peak Brewing opens with the help of head brewer Paul Roys.

July: The Indy takes on the unenviable task of ranking Montana's best 50 beers based on distribution, name recognition and awards. Double Haul IPA beats runner-up Blackfoot IPA; everyone freaks out because their favorite pour should've prevailed.

  • photo by Cathrine L. Walters

August: Missoula Brewing Company, makers of Highlander, announce plans to build a new, 15,000-square-foot brewery off North Reserve Street. The facility is expected to open in mid-2015.

August: Great Burn Brewing opens on Missoula's Southside, just off Brooks Street, led by head brewer Mike Howard.

October: Draught Works comes up big at the Great American Beer Festival, winning Very Small Brewing Company and Very Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year. The brewery's Scepter Head IPA also won a gold medal in the American-Style Strong Pale Ale category.

October: Kettlehouse announces plans for a new production facility in Bonner to help meet increasing demand for its beers. The brewery expects to close on the property next spring; the new facility could be producing beer by 2016.

October: Zach and Sarah Millar announce plans to open The Dram Shop, a Front Street taproom set to open in 2015. The couple received assistance with their business plan from the Blackstone LaunchPad on the University of Montana campus.

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