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A Beer Drinker’s Manifesto

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Author Brent Zundel

By Brent Zundel
For the MSU Exponent
April 18, 2013

An old aphorism claims beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. And when one adds to Montana’s world-class beer offerings the breathtaking diversity of our landscape, from the eastern prairies to the western mountains, one could be forgiven for believing that Providence has especially favored our state.

If the state legislature maintains its sometimes wavering support of our homegrown microbreweries, Montana will be well on its way to establishing itself as the Napa Valley of beer within a few short years. Boasting the second most breweries per capita in the nation, we already have 38 breweries — with nearly 10 more in the works — that are adding value to the agricultural products that comprise the backbone of the state’s industry. Read More…

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Wine Not: Que Syrah, Syrah

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Author Brent Zundel

By Brent Zundel
For the MSU Exponent
April 4, 2013

This week, leave your beer mug on the shelf and dust off your long-stemmed glasses for a toast to Dionysus. We’re talking wine.

Wine production, or vinification, dates back to at least 6,000 BC, although different regions developed it at different times. While Montanans are becoming more and more familiar with craft beer, any wine fancier than Franzia still intimidates many college students. Read More…

The Excrement Brewponent

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Author Brent Zundel

By Brent Zundel and Matt Kennedy
For the MSU Exponent
March 28, 2013

Note: This column originally appeared as part of the Exponent’s annual April Fools’ Day edition, the Excrement.

The Coffee-ponent

Turns out, coffee is way better than beer. I was trying to tell Brent this last week, but he was being a complete ass clown and wouldn’t hear me out. I was being super nice, really, and then he started shouting and threw beer in my face. So much for friends. Anyway, I’m sure the readers will see it my way, so I’m going to shell out the facts.

Unlike beer, coffee has rich cultural value. From the proud farmer to the discerning roaster, there is an inexorable love of the drink that runs through every moment of each bean’s existence. Beer’s only culture is moldy yeast. Brent tried to feed me this crap-beer he brewed in his closet — this was before he threw it all over my nicest shirt — which was probably brewed with his toenail clippings and spit. I’m surprised a hillbilly who drinks that swill can even write. Read More…

Tavern Association Sours Montana Microbreweries’ Mash

By Brent Zundel
For the MSU Exponent
March 21, 2013

If one special interest group has its way, Montana taps might soon run dry from Wibaux to Whitefish. The Montana Tavern Association (MTA) has spent the current legislative session sponsoring bills that would devastate the state’s burgeoning microbrewery scene.

Illustration by Jen Rogers, MSU Exponent

Illustration by Jen Rogers, MSU Exponent

With our state ranking second in the nation for microbreweries per capita, Montanans love our beer. An October 2012 study showed that craft breweries contribute $50 million to the economy, $1.5 million to the state’s coffers and about 500 jobs to the state.

Despite this, at the start of the 2013 legislative session, Rep. Jeff Welborn, R-Dillon, introduced a bill that would have restricted microbreweries to selling only 10 percent of their beer on site. The rest would have to be sold at bars or retail outlets, a requirement that could have shuttered 31 of Montana’s 38 microbreweries. Vigorous and immediate uproar killed the bill.

The text of another MTA-backed bill, sponsored by Rep. Roger Hagan, R-Great Falls, was just released Tuesday, March 19. This bill is no better: It would allow breweries to sell only 40 percent of their beer in sample rooms. Read More…

New Brewery Combines Craft Beer and Craft Pizza

By Brent Zundel
For the MSU Exponent
March 3, 2013

Bridger Brewing became the newest addition to Bozeman’s collection of microbreweries this Saturday, March 2. Located in the Town & Country complex just a block away from the MSU campus, the brewery is serving up “craft beer with craft pizza,” according to General Manager and Owner David Breck.

The sign above Bridger Brewing's bar. Photo by Brent Zundel

The sign above Bridger Brewing’s bar. Photo by Brent Zundel

Last night, Bridger Brewing held a family and friends night as a trial run, but today is their first day open to the public. Business was brisk, but not crowded as a group of friends and I were seated in a cozy corner table right away.

The brewpub’s ambiance is a significant shift away from any of the others in town. Large floor-to-ceiling windows shower the entrance in light, but the back of the building opens up into a cavernous seating area with low mood lighting and sleek black tables. Read More…

Drinking around Town

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Author Brent Zundel

By Brent Zundel
For the MSU Exponent
February 28, 2013

Good drinks abound in Bozeman, but what if you had to choose just one drink from each watering hole? No lingering over endless pitchers at the Hauf or lighting your pocketbook on fire for round after round at the Bacchus.

Instead of wearing ruts into a few blocks of sidewalk downtown, branch out and try somewhere other than the main slog of college bars. What follows is a non-scientific exploration of some of Bozeman’s most interesting places to knock one back, none of which you’ll find downtown. Read More…

Hangovers

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Author Brent Zundel

By Brent Zundel
For the MSU Exponent
February 14, 2013

Even if you don’t wake up with a tiger in your bathroom, a missing tooth or someone else’s baby in your closet, almost every college student will deal with a hangover sooner or later. Read More…