Garden City BrewFest: Oft imitated, never replicated

Montana’s largest beer festival features over 70 libations, food and live music May 6

New & Notable

Garden City BrewFest – Montana’s original and largest beer festival – takes place from noon-7 p.m. Saturday, May 6b in Caras Park in Downtown Missoula. This year’s event – touted as “often imitated but never replicated” – will feature over 70 beers, ciders, hard seltzers, and wines, plus local food trucks and live music from three Missoula-based bands.

The Garden City BrewFest originated in 1992 as the BRIW Fest, and was the first brewfest in recent Montana history.Photo © Downtown Missoula Partnership

Kicking of the festival will be local favorite, the Josh Farmer Band, from noon-2 p.m. Next, the energetic bluegrass band The Timber Rattlers takes the stage from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Missoula’s own Joan Zen will close the festival from 5-7 p.m. and as regulars at the Union Club know, the band is apt to incite a huge dance party.

While Garden City BrewFest is admission free for all to enjoy, those interested in sampling the brews can purchase a seven-ounce commemorative glass, wristband, and four tokens for $20. Additional tokens are two for $3. Food can be purchased from some of Missoula’s favorite food vendors: Big Dipper, Clove Cart Pizza, M-80 Chicken, and River City Eats. The Sentinel Kiwanis Club will also be serving up brats.

One aspect that sets this event apart from others in the marketplace is the Garden City Beer Awards, judged and provided by Missoula’s local brewing club, the Zoo City Zymurgists, who sample and judge each beer for a variety of awards that will be presented around 4:30 p.m.

Started in 1992, the event was originally called BRIW Fest, as the creators of the event were Bayern Brewing, the Rhinoceros, the Iron Horse and Worden’s Market. It was the first brewfest in recent Montana history and offered special beers that were not typically available for purchase. The event was gifted to the Missoula Downtown Association in 2003 and has served as a major fundraiser for the organization’s projects and programs.

Garden City BrewFest coincides with opening day of the Saturday Markets in Downtown Missoula. Community members are encouraged to bike, walk, or utilize Mountain Line to travel to events. If driving, ample parking is available in the Central Park, Park Place, and ROAM parking garages; parking is free throughout downtown on weekends.

Garden City BrewFest attendees are encouraged to drink responsibly and get a safe ride home. For more information, visit or call the Downtown Missoula Partnership at 406-543-4238.