GREAT FALLS – A Great Falls home brewer is taking his award-winning recipe to the big time.
Steve Cantrell’s beer brewing journey started unexpectedly a little over two years ago.
“One of my friend’s wives worked at one of the breweries and I’d never had a craft beer before so they said, ‘Hey let’s go have a drink,’” recalled Cantrell. “I really liked it then I started looking into maybe I could do this myself.”
He bought a small starter kit for about $300 and that was all it took to get him hooked. “Bless my wife she puts up with me,” laughed Cantrell.
Last summer, Cantrell enter a dark wheat beer with blood orange and coriander in a contest with the Montana Home Brewers and Mighty Mo Brewing.
His beer, now named Blood Moon, won the fruit beer category and walked away with best of show.
“The winning beer got to scale their recipe up and brew it here on the big system,” said Casey Kingsland, Head Brewer and Co-owner of Mighty Mo Brewing.
This week, Cantrell started 310 gallons of his Blood Moon beer.
“It’s different, it’s a lot of fun though,” said Cantrell about using the big brewing equipment. It’s a bigger batch and a lot more clean-up than he’s used to, but the experience is worth the work.
“Every homebrewer kind of dreams of producing their beer commercially so I think that’s pretty cool for him to be able to do that,” said Kingsland.
Before his beer even hits the tap, Cantrell said he hopes to win again this year and that means back to the drawing board.
“Most of the time I’m always tinkering experimenting with this, see what works with that,” he said. The experimenting is what he enjoys most about brewing and it’s all part of fermenting a favorite.
Blood Moon will go on tap at Mighty Mo Brewing in about two to three weeks.
Reporting by Joe Huisinga for MTN News