By Tyler Allen Explorebigsky.com Staff Writer
BIG SKY – The Lone Peak Brewery is celebrating its fifth year pouring pints in Big Sky this October. On Saturday, Oct. 13 at 5 p.m. the brewery will host a party culminating a week-long celebration at its tap house in the Meadow Village.
Opened in 2007 by Steve and Vicky Nordahl, the brewery has appealed to a broad clientele in the last five years. “We get constant recognition for all the hard work we do, and [for] being a place where both locals and tourists like to go,” Steve said. “We get a fairly tremendous mix of both.”
To commemorate the festivities, the brewery plans to unveil two new beers during its anniversary week. The Fifth Anniversary Ale will be available beginning Oct. 8, and the Fresh Hop Pale Ale will be released at the party, which will be upstairs above the tap house.
The tap house is expanding this winter and will host events and music in that space when construction is complete. The wall that currently divides the space in half will be knocked out by the day of the party.
“It’s a finished space,” Steve said. “It just won’t be my vision yet, which will take a little time.” They will move tables upstairs for the weekend’s festivities, he added.
The Nordahls moved to Big Sky in 2003 because it had the biggest ski resort in the country without a brewery. Steve’s family is from Montana, and both his parents graduated from MSU. He has been a commercial brewer for 21 years and started the Frederick Brewery in 1991, in Frederick, Md.
He says the biggest challenge to the business in the last five years was circumventing the brewery laws in Montana. As of 2009, Montana law differentiates brewery sample rooms from a tap house. Sample rooms can provide customers with no more than 48 ounces of beer during a business day.
“We had to split the business in half to have a brewery and tap house, and that made it possible for us to still be here,” Steve said. “It would have been pretty lean with just a sample room and having to close at 8 every night.”
The brewery will also be hosting an invitation-only party on Sunday, Oct. 14, for all the vendors, bartenders and restaurant owners that have served Lone Peak beer, “thanking them for the five years of support,” Steve said.
John Floridis, a session musician from Missoula on a quest to play every brewery in Montana will perform at both events. Attendees at the Oct. 13 event will receive raffle tickets at the door and an additional ticket with every pint purchased. Prizes include gift cards, pint glasses and a growler that comes with a free fill once a week for a year.