Laurel’s inaugural Brew Fest fun for brewers and beer drinkers

By 
Story And Photos By Jaci Webb
Thursday, October 7, 2021
High Plains Brewing Company owner Dave Bequette and his assistant Brenda Frank poured honey porter and haywire wheat Saturday night. High Plains Brewing, of Laurel, was voted Best Beer of the festival by the attendees.

High Plains Brewing Company owner Dave Bequette and his assistant Brenda Frank poured honey porter and haywire wheat Saturday night. High Plains Brewing, of Laurel, was voted Best Beer of the festival by the attendees.

Beer tasters clink their glasses.

Beer tasters clink their glasses.

Tony and Jenna Nardella line up for beer at the Kettlehouse Brewing Company booth.

Tony and Jenna Nardella line up for beer at the Kettlehouse Brewing Company booth.

Katelyn Cameron and Lacie Reed said Laurel needs more events like the brew fest.

Katelyn Cameron and Lacie Reed said Laurel needs more events like the brew fest.

Karen Black, Laurel Chamber of Commerce Board Member, sells tasting mugs at the Laurel Brew Fest Saturday night.

Karen Black, Laurel Chamber of Commerce Board Member, sells tasting mugs at the Laurel Brew Fest Saturday night.

You can’t go wrong with good beer and a fun band.

That was the formula for Laurel’s first-ever Brew Fest held at Miller’s Horse Palace Saturday evening. By 6 p.m., 250 people had already bought their tasting mug and were enjoying the brews from seven area breweries. And they were still coming through the door.

Cami Nelson, executive assistant for the Laurel Chamber of Commerce, said with the success of this year’s event, it looks like the Brew Fest will become an annual fundraiser.

“The money raised will help beautify Laurel this year,” Nelson said.

Miller’s Horse Palace donated the space, which proved spacious enough to accommodate four food trucks, the brewers, the Cimmaron band, and hundreds of beer drinkers.

Katelyn Cameron who came with her friend Lacie Reed, said Laurel needs more activities like the Brew Fest.

“We live in Laurel, and we want to have more events like this one,” Cameron said.

Her favorite beer: Uberbrew’s watermelon ale. People were also lined up at Laurel’s High Plains Brewery where owner Dave Bequette and his assistant Brenda Frank were pouring beer. They brought their award-winning honey porter and haywire wheat, which is the brewery’s signature beer.

“Everybody likes a microbrew beer,” Bequette said. “You can get a Bud Light anywhere, but a micro beer is something special.”

It’s been a tough year for many businesses, including breweries. Bequette said when his brewer quit, he turned to someone Bequette had helped out the previous year – Colter Todd at the Big Timber brewery, Crazy Peak Brewery.

“We are working as a co-op with Crazy Peak. They got shut down right after they opened last year with COVID, and we helped them out by brewing their beer. This time, they are brewing ours, using our recipes.”

Bequette said brewers are a congenial group, always looking out for one another. That’s what makes a brew fest so much fun for them. It also allows customers a chance to sample a variety of beers and learn from the brewers about what makes each one special.

Colter Todd, who owns Crazy Peak Brewing with his wife Kendra, said he’s always wanted to open his own brewery. As the owner of a construction company, Circle T Construction, he was able to remodel an old gas station into a brewery, finishing it at a difficult time – March 2020. It was shut down due to COVID just a few weeks later.

Todd selected unique beers for the fest, including a chokecherry gose, made with handpicked chokecherries, and a tangerine cream. He said customers seemed to like them both.

Jenna and Tony Nardella, of Laurel, were enjoying the wide variety of beer at the festival and appreciating that they didn’t have to travel too far from home to have such a fun evening.

“It’s kind of cool that Laurel is doing something like this,” Jenna Nardella said. “It’s great to see so many people here.”

She said her favorite beer so far was the pineapple IPA out of a Great Falls brewery.

Even the volunteers were having fun.

“This is a blast,” said Sharon Fleming, a volunteer with the Laurel Chamber.

It’s safe to say that another brew fest will be in the works for next fall.

“We already booked the band,” Bequette said.

Category:

Poll

Do you plan to vote in the upcoming city election?

The Laurel Outlook

 

You can find the historic archives of our paper here:

https://laureloutlook.newspapers.com/

 

We use Google cookies to determine our demographic of visitors to our site. You can opt out here.

We also use Twitter Analytics to track clicks from our twitter feed.