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Beer Fest returns to West Yellowstone Oct. 18

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By Tyler Allen Explore Big Sky Senior Editor

WEST YELLOWSTONE – The fourth annual Beer Fest in West on Oct. 18 will showcase breweries from Montana and around the Northwest, and feature a headlining concert from the Hooligans with Bill Payne.

The keyboardist for Little Feat, Payne was recently named a full-time member of jam grass juggernaut Leftover Salmon and has been playing with the Bozeman-based Hooligans for more than three years.

The event will include 15-20 breweries at the Holiday Inn West Yellowstone from 2-8 p.m. with music by Big Sky’s Gallatin Grass Project and Bozeman’s Tomorrow’s Today. The Hooligans will follow at 7:30 p.m. and an afterparty at the inn’s Branch Bar will close the day’s festivities.

Friday night before the Beer Fest, the Holiday Inn will host a beer-pairing dinner with Bozeman’s Blacksmith Italian and Missoula’s Big Sky Brewing Co. The Branch Bar will feature a “Hangover Breakfast” with a Bloody Mary bar on Sunday morning from 7-10 a.m.

Audy Butler, a co-chair of the Beer Fest in West committee, said she expects 250-300 attendees. Last year the event drew about 225 people.

“We’re trying to create a really unique event to attract people not only from Montana but around the region, as well as showcase some of our local breweries,” she said. Beer Fest-goers will sample offerings from Montana breweries including Belgrade’s Madison River Brewing Co., Red Lodge Ales, Hamilton’s Bitterroot Brewing, as well as Draught Works, Bayern Brewing and Big Sky Brewing Co., all from Missoula.

Out-of-state breweries attending the event include Ninkasi Brewing from Eugene, Ore., Deschutes Brewery from Bend, Ore. and No-Li Brewhouse from Spokane, Wash.

Attendees can book package deals including lodging, beer fest and concert tickets with the Holiday Inn West Yellowstone and Gray Wolf Inn and Suites.

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