About the brewery -
The Lewis & Clark Brewery is a state of the art brewing facility located in the heart of America’s last great place – Montana. The great explorers are the inspiration for our breweries name and in many ways our brewing style. It is also where we live as we are located in the heart of the only Lewis & Clark County in the US. Our secret ingredient is the pride and craftsmanship added by dedicated people lucky enough to be called Montanans. Since our beginning, we have gone to the greatest of lengths to build one of the most efficient, sophisticated breweries around with one goal in mind: to produce the finest ales & lagers possible and serve them at their peak of freshness. Our beers are hand crafted and un-pasteurized and are brewed to levels of quality, which can only be achieved in the finest of breweries. We are proud of what we do and we are confident that everyone who drinks our beers will appreciate the care and craftsmanship served in every glass.
About our new location -
This building is comprised of several buildings that were added onto over the last 125 years with some dating back to 1885. The oldest building is the Stone “Smokehouse” (where the men’s room is located now) which was built by T.C. Power in 1885 to smoke meats. Shortly thereafter the “Packing & Provisions” building was built (behind the current tap room bar) and was used as a 3 story “Ice-House” with ice removed from the lakes in the winter then transported up the pass by rail and stored in caves until brought back down in the summer and hoisted up to the third floor to cool the entire building. After the “Montana Packing & Provisions Company” closed the property is listed in historical records as being used as a jail, then a seed warehouse. Later it became the birthplace of Columbia Paint and over 70 years it was added onto as the paint factory grew to be one of Montana’s most successful businesses. We have tried to preserve as much of the historical nature of this unique place (including leaving the old Colombia Paint staircase as we found it splattered with paint) as possible while still bringing the buildings into the 20th century building codes.
If you look out into the brewery up against the south wall (over the hallway you entered) you will notice a mural painted years ago by an employee at Columbia Paint. This was an area once used to print the labels for paint cans and so it said “Ye Old Print Shop” we just put a redline through the “R” to make it into “Pint Shop” We hope you enjoy our new home as much as we do & cheers!
About the brewing process -
The brewing process starts at our silo where are Montana Grown pale 2-row malt is stored (up to 25,000 lbs!).This malt is cracked in a roller mill along with the specialty malts required for a particular recipe. The milled malt, or grist, is transported by auger across the brewery to the grist hopper above the mash/lauter tun. Next is mashing where the grist is mixed with hot water in the mash tun. Over the course of a few hours, mashing converts starches in the malt to sugars.
This is followed by lautering in which the sweet liquid called wort is drawn off the bottom and pumped to the brewkettle. Once the brewkettle is full, the wort is brought to a boil. Bittering hops are added at the beginning of the boil, while hops used for aroma and flavor are added toward the end. After the boil and a brief settling period, the wort is cooled by pumping it through a heat exchanger. The cold wort is transferred through hoses to a temperature-controlled fermentation tank. Yeast is in the tank and this initiates fermentation, during which yeast cells ingest sugars in the wort to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide. For ales, fermentation lasts 3 or 4 days. Lager fermentation is colder and slower, lasting one to two weeks. Cold conditioning or lagering of the beer takes place in the same tank. The temperature of the tank is held near freezing for anywhere from two weeks to two months, depending on the beer style.
Most of our beers are filtered (except our unfiltered hefeweizen “Miners Gold”) by a diatomaceous earth filter. This filters out yeast and other small particles to produce crystal clear beer. The finished beer is carbonated then kegged or canned and stored in our walk-in cooler.