Bayern Brewing, the oldest craft brewery in Montana, pairs up with the Rhino Bar to celebrate its 30th anniversary, 3-10 p.m. Aug. 19 at Caras Park.
Back in 1987, Reinhard Schulte began renovating the old Northern Pacific depot and sought a brewmaster from Germany to take charge. That’s exactly what happened when Jürgen Knöller, steeped in traditional brewing since age 16, arrived in Montana after a 21-hour flight.
In 1990 Bayern was producing 1,500 barrels a year, which included its main staples of Amber, Pilsner, Oktoberfest, and Doppelbock, and various specialties throughout the season, for a total of 11 different beers. The brews were shipped to as many as 12 outlets across Montana and beyond. By 1991, Knöller became the sole owner of Bayern Brewery, and relocated the facility to 3rd St. W.
Business continued to grow, pushing production to 3,000 barrels a year. In 1997 Bayern became the first brewery to bottle beer since Highlander closed its doors two decades earlier. In 2002 the brewery moved once again to its current location at 1507 Montana St.
Production has reached 10,000 barrels a year, and Bayern is now distributed across the Northwest. And since its inception three decades ago, the microbrew industry has blossomed to more than 60 craft breweries in Montana.
In 1992, Bayern teamed up with Worden’s Market, the Rhino, and the Iron Horse Brew Pub to host the first BRIWFest in Caras Park to raise the community’s awareness “of fine craft beer.” That event, held under the auspices of the Missoula Downtown Association, is now known as the Garden City Brewfest.
For 30 years, Bayern has continued to brew beer in accordance to the German Purity Law of 1516 (Reinheitsgebot). As the brewmaster said back in 1992, “We use only malted barley, yeast, hops, and water. If it has anything else, it’s not beer.”
The anniversary celebration includes live music by Royal Bliss and special guest Reverend Slanky, food vendors, a full bar and, natürlich!, Bayern brews. Call 406-721-1482 or visit www.bayernbrewing.com for details.