Montana brewers made a statement at the North American Brewers Association awards last week, and one Billings brewery took gold in a category dominated by brands with Super Bowl commercials.
Montana Brewing Co., beat out some of America’s favorite beers, bringing home gold in the American lager category. But don’t expect their award-winning selection to be around long. It’s intended to be a one-batch brew.
“I don’t like to do the same one all the time. It’s one of my few chances to do something different and be experimental,” said Gregg Layman, brewmaster for Montana Brewing.
Layman won’t use the recipe again, and only six kegs of the sole batch remain. He created the beer specifically to target the large corporate breweries like MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch. The pilsner didn’t disappoint, and beat out the giants in their own category.
“The crowd went wild because all the craft brewers love it,” Layman said. “The brewers really like it when you beat the megabreweries.”
Layman said the Prohibition Pilsner is a lager, and most craft breweries stick to wheat ales simply because they’re more economical.
A lager ferments at lower temperatures for longer periods of time than ales.
A wheat ale can be produced in about two weeks, but Prohibition Pilsner took 62 days to brew.
The extra time paid off at the NABA awards, and the beer beat popular beers like silver medalist Coors Banquet.
“It’s a beer I designed for the express purpose to win that medal,” Layman said.
He said he plans to test the Prohibition Pilsner on an even bigger stage at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver in September. There are about five times the entries at this competition than the NABA contest, and more than 1,300 breweries compete from all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., according to the festival’s website.
Montana breweries were well represented at the national competition and won 31 medals, including 12 gold at the NABA contest.
“We’ve always had a lot of quality-conscious brewers and a lot of well-educated people bringing a lot of knowledge to Montana,” Layman said.
Beer drinkers can sample the award-winning brews at taprooms and taverns across the state. But don’t wait too long, because some are in short supply.
Billings breweries took home 10 medals at the North American Brewers Association’s 21st Annual Mountain Brewers Beer Fest.
Angry Hanks: Silver, Frost Killer, Scottish-style export.
Canyon Creek Brewing: Gold, MinPin Pils, Dortmunder/export; Gold, Copper, Scottish-style heavy; Silver, Rabbit Head Red, Irish-style red ale.
Carter’s Brewing: Silver, The Keeper 2015, Biere de Garde.
Montana Brewing Co.: Gold, Prohibition Pilsner, American-style standard or premium lager; Gold, Hooligan’s Irish Red Ale, Irish-style red ale; Silver, Custer’s Last Stout, oatmeal stout.
Uberbrew: Gold, Stand Down Brown Porter, brown porter; Silver, Uberstition CCS, dry stout.