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Billings breweries earn national recognition at beer competition

Posted at 5:11 PM, Oct 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-20 14:28:29-04

It's what they call "the Super Bowl of beer competitions"— a contest called the Great American Beer Festival that features nearly 10,000 beer entries and 235 expert judges from all over the country.

And this year, Billings ended up being well represented, as three breweries in town earned hardware at the competition in Denver, Colorado.

Of those awarded, Uberbrew, owned by Mark Hastings, earned a gold medal in the Wheat Beer category for their beer called White Noise.

“It never gets old. It’s always nice to be recognized for the hard work we’ve put in," Hastings said.

White Noise has won awards before, but this year was special.

“It was more competitive than it’s ever been, and to be recognized in that category for our flagship beer, super excited about it," Hastings said.

The other two winning breweries and their products: Thirsty Street Brewing Company's Big Bison Stout, which earned silver in the Stout category, and Canyon Creek's Rabbit Head Red, which also won silver, but in the Irish Style Red category.

Shea Dawson has owned Thirsty Street Brewing Company with his wife since 2016. It was the first honor they'd ever received at the competition.

“It’s one of the flagship beers that we’ve had since we opened in 2016, and we’ve worked it really hard," Dawson said. "Dark beer is definitely a Montana thing so we were really happy to get a silver medal in that one."

Dawson said he enjoyed watching the two-hour ceremony, especially when other breweries in Billings were honored.

“We sat and watched the award ceremony, and we found ourselves cheering just as hard for any Billings brewery to win,” Dawson said.

The Montana brewery scene has continued to grow and expand, and Hastings actually credited their success to the local competition.

“It’s competitive locally. You have to make great beer to make it in this market because we have so many great breweries," Hastings said. "So, to have Billings recognized for the great beer that we do have in this market... very exciting."

Now, these local breweries have pushed each other onto a national scene, and perhaps made Billings one of the beer capitals in the world.

"When you look at it as a whole in the country, there’s not a whole lot of cities who could say they walked away with three medals, so it’s a pretty great accomplishment for Billings,” Dawson said.