What began in 1999 as a small celebration of the area’s many fine microbreweries has now blossomed into a full day of music, food, and, of course, drinking, with 11 brewers represented in 2004. Held at a small park in Gardiner, and shadowed by Teddy Roosevelt’s arch entrance into Yellowstone, Brewfest was one of the events I was most looking forward to during my tour of Montana... and who wouldn’t feel the same way? With mountainous terrain and blue skies as a backdrop, about the only thing one has to worry about is drinking too much, too early. Thankfully, my group and I successfully paced ourselves long enough to make it to dinner without seeing doubles, which was no small feat judging by the glazed eyes and big smiles of our fellow attendees as the sun began to set.
We paid the $5 entrance fee, which includes a plastic Brewfest mug and two beer tickets, and made our way towards the beer tent, with the sounds of bluesy rock ‘n’ roll music helping set a worry-free tone for the day. With so much good beer to choose from, we were delighted to reacquaint ourselves with a few of the brewers we had previously met, including Bill and Beau from Neptune’s Brewery in Livingston, MT.
After downing a few ales and chatting with Beau about his big marketing plans, I retired to a picnic table to take it all in. All kinds of people were out enjoying themselves, from senior citizens to young, crunchy hippies who brought their dogs along with them. Hamburgers, bratwursts, and other barbecue-friendly eats were served throughout the day, and of course there were other refreshments available in case you just couldn’t drink another beer. But what are the chances of that, right?
Afterwards we "enjoyed" watery spaghetti and mysterious green beans at a local restaurant, though by that point we were just glad to have something, anything, to help soak up the beer. The festivities continued at a few neighboring watering holes, but as far as we were concerned, dusk had fallen on Brewfest 2004.
by Mr. Wonka
Brooklyn, New York
April 2, 2005
From journal Yellowstone Country: Beds and Breweries