The Billings TrailNet wrapped up their biggest fundraiser on September 9, Ales for Trials. The event that has been going on since 2001 had something new this year: a beer competition. The nonprofit organization announced the winners of the Ales for Trails Beer Competition Monday. 

There were three beer categories: Wheat, American IPA, and Amber/Red ale. For the American IPA category, Thirsty Street Brewing Company from Billings won gold,  Lewis and Clark Brewing Company from Helena won silver, and the Kettlehouse Brewing Company from Missoula won bronze. For the Wheat category, Diamond X Beer from Billings won gold, Bayern Brewing Inc. in Missoula won silver, and Lewis and Clark Brewing Co. won bronze. For the Amber/Red ale category, Diamond X Beer won gold again, Lewis and Clark Brewing Co. won silver, and Crazy Peak brewing company in Billings won bronze.

For the Ales for Trails beer competition, there were four certified beer judges at the event: Russ Christian, Sara Killeen, Scott Mechura, and Loy Maierhauser. Loy tells yourbigsky that she reached out to people in and around the Bozeman area to round up the judges for this competition. 

Loy has been a homebrewer for more than 15 years and got into beer judging after taking her certification exam in 2015. She says it took over a year’s worth of studying to feel fully prepared for the exam. Since then, Loy has had plenty of experience in beer judging. She has organized and judged homebrew competitions and commercial beer competitions. Some of the competitions Loy has judged include the Oregon Beer Awards and the Best of Craft Beer Awards. She was also a judge for the International Beer Awards, which was called the North American Beer Awards when she was a judge.

A job well done to the judges, and congratulations to all the winners who won this year’s beer competition; stay tuned for who wins next year!