The ninth annual Montana Brews & BBQs returns to MetraPark, held lakeside on Saturday, July 13, from 1 to 10 p.m.

The event will feature more than 80 craft beers from 35 Montana breweries, what organizers are describing as a statewide brewery tour localized at MetraPark. 

The event was established in 1994 by Mark Hedin and his wife, Rhonda. His sons, Devon and Beau, have also become a larger part of organizing the event as they’ve grown older.

"In Montana the craft brewing industry is thriving," said Beau. "What was once considered 'Bud Light or Coors Light?' has been replaced with a diversity and complexity that is as much science as it is enjoyment."

The Hedins boast that this event will take 2,000 patrons through Montana's diverse brewery scene. "We are proud to say that this year's Montana Brews and BBQs will represent 35 breweries that hail from every corner of the Treasure State," Beau added. 

Many of the brewmasters will be on hand to discuss brewing, and some have created seasonal beers that will be available at the event. 

Though the event is focused on beer, a few varieties of alcoholic ciders will be offered, as well as a spiked seltzer. 

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As part of the event, more than a dozen food trucks will participate offering barbecued foods. 

Participating vendors include Blue Moose BBQ, Burnin' The Bone BBQ, Camp House BBQ, Carbone's Pizzeria, Dawgs 'N Hawgs, Fat Taco, Funnel of Love, Half Ass BBQ, Little Em's Pork Rinds, Nacho Dog, Oktoberfest, Oriental Express, Santanahs, Taste of Asia, and The Bacon PD.

Live music will be provided by the Brickhouse Band.

A new addition this year is a party zone that includes cornhole, bocce ball, ping pong, and Frisbee games. 

Admission is free. Participation in the brewery tour is $25 at the door, or $20 in advance at Überbrew, The Divide Bar & Grill, CPR Cell Phone Repair (in Billings Heights), Adventure RV, or Beartooth Grill in Laurel. The tour includes a beer glass and 10 beer tokens. 

For a list of all participating breweries, visit www.facebook.com/MTBrewsandBBQ.

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