Hannah Turner tosses barley at Post Agronomy Farm in Bozeman September 5.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

Montana is one of the biggest malt barley producers in the nation. Most of the grain goes to Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, but that’s starting to shift as more microbreweries seek out local ingredients for a sense of place and unique flavors. Researchers breeding barley for the craft beer boom will be speaking with brewers at a conference in Missoula this week.

Stella Fong

Even with obscure names as Cold Smoke and Shady for their beers, KettleHouse Brewing Company  continues to light the way in the Montana craft beer world. The brewery opened in Missoula by Tim O’Leary and Suzy Rizza in 1995 began as a “U-Brew.” It was then the first microbrewery to charge patrons for a pint of beer, and recently one of the first Montana producers to package beer in a can.

The Trump administration's aluminum tariffs could cost thousands of dollars for breweries in the Mountain West.
Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

There are hundreds of microbreweries scattered across the Mountain West. In fact, in parts of our region there are more breweries per capita than most anywhere else in the country.

Many of them sell their beers in aluminum cans. So with the Trump administration’s proposal to slap a steep tariff on imported aluminum, the beer industry is feeling nervous.

Lynn Donaldson

On Billings’ Montana Avenue in Billings, Brewmaster Michael Uhrich of Carter’s Brewing and Executive Chef Jeremy Engebretson of Lilac are brewing new flavors. While many think of pairing food with wine, the duo is partnering beer with food, beyond the ballpark hot dogs and mass produced aluminum canned libations advertised with frogs and beautiful women.