The Roundup -

The Bakken Brew Fest is Anticipated by Patrons and Brewers Alike


Brewer Tim Schnars (L) and founder Travis Peterson (R) enjoy getting people excited about craft beer and beer culture, and they have fun doing it.​

Local owner of the Meadowlark Brewery, Travis Peterson has been a proud supporter of the Bakken Brew Fest for the last three years. Initially becoming familiar with the event when his mother served on the Brew Fest Committee, Peterson would later become a part of the committee himself.

"The Bakken Brew Fest is good exposure for area breweries and having sample glasses makes it easier for people to try a range of brews without having to commit to an entire pint," commented Peterson. "It also raises money for the Chamber and gives other organizations a chance to get involved and earn money, whether it's the swim team being hired to do clean up or the Wrestling Club renting their bus for safe transportation. It gives people from outlying communities a reason to come to Sidney and that boosts the local economy; people look forward to it."

As Peterson and brewer Tim Schnars travel to other Brew Fest events, they take the opportunity to promote the Bakken Brew Fest. The Meadowlark Brewery attends ten to twelve events per year all over Montana as well as North Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado. In addition to the local Brew Fest, they will be attending an event in Bozeman, MT put on by the Montana Brewer's Association and will be in Philadelphia, PA the first weekend in May for the Craft Brewers Conference and World Beer Cup.

"Brew Fests are all about getting people excited about craft beer and beer culture. It's interesting because right now US brewers are trying to revitalize Old World recipes and in Europe they're trying to incorporate newer styles of craft beer. We want to give people variety and expand their tastes. It's much easier to produce different styles on a smaller scale which is why big brewers have a harder time experimenting," Peterson explains. "When we travel, we promote our can sales, but we also bring something new and exciting to every event. For instance, at this year's Bakken Brew Fest we will be showcasing our Fungus Shui brew which we've made with candy-capped mushrooms, giving it a maple flavor. It's not unheard of to use mushrooms in brewing, but it's not mainstream, either and we're pretty excited about it."

Fungus Shui will be just one of four to five different types of beer the Meadowlark will have available at the April 16th event. They will be joining other brewers from Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, with approximately a dozen of those brewers making the trip and several others sending beer to be sampled.

This is the 5th annual Bakken Brew Fest and it will be held on Saturday, April 16th at the Richland County Fair Event Center from 7:00pm to 10:00pm for general admittance, with doors opening at 5:30pm for VIP ticket holders. Live bluegrass music will be performed by The Lil' Smokies out of Missoula, MT. Tickets are available at the Sidney Chamber of Commerce at 909 South Central Ave or online at, so hurry to get yours! General Admission tickets are $50 and VIP tickets are $100; for more information, contact the Sidney Chamber of Commerce at 406-433-1916.

"The Bakken Brew Fest is one of the most well-organized events we attend," Peterson added. "It's a good way for people to get together and enjoy craft beer, good music, and have a safe night. It's a very well-rounded event."


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