Beer tasting trails benefit gets new name

Friends of the Lewistown Trails, a non-profit group dedicated to maintaining and improving a 24-mile urban trail system, hosts the fourth annual Trails & Ales beer tasting benefit as the closing event of the Chokecherry Festival, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, September 9 at Trailhead Park (211 East Main). Newly named Trails and Ales in place of its former name, Trails, Ales and Bales.

“We decided to shorten the name to Trails and Ales as it more closely aligns with what the benefit has grown into, a toast to the trail system’s accomplishments for the year,” said James Chalmers, president. 

According to Chalmers, this year’s beer tasting benefit includes a record six brewers; Bayern Brewing Inc. of Missoula, Bozeman Brewing Co. of Bozeman, Madison River Brewing Co. of Belgrade, Red Lodge Ales Brewing Co. of Red Lodge, The Front Brewing Co. of Great Falls and Überbrew of Billings. Two distributors, Intermountain Distributing Co. of Lewistown and Gusto Distributing of Great Falls, contribute an additional array of microbrews to complete the event. Live music from Big Al Miller is provided courtesy of the Yogo Inn along with tasty snacks available for purchase.

“Building on the success of last year, we could see nearly 500 people in attendance. One of our priorities is to ensure everyone enjoys the event responsibly,” said Chalmers. “This led us to partner with Central Montana Shuttle to provide safe rides from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for a fee of $1.50 per ride.”

The inaugural Trails and Ales event in 2014 marked the newly completed Trailhead Park located between the Yogo Inn and Miller Street on East Main.

“2017 marks a major milestone this year with the completed paving of the City Loop,” recalled Chalmers. “The committee could not have done it without the generosity and talent of Century Companies, Inc. who we will honor during the festivities for their service.” 

Additional improvements include the completion of the west end highway trail, also known as the Airport Loop, allowing for the possibility of an 8-mile meandering stroll through town depending on the route you take. 

Next year, Friends of the Trails will focus on installing two bridges which will allow connection from the Fairgrounds Extension Trail across the Laxy KB fishing access site to the Berg Lumber railroad spur next to the Carroll Trail fishing access site and from there one could go back to town or out to the Airport Loop.

“Of course, Creekside Park is part of our future plans as well,” said Chalmers. “The ROC group in charge of the park’s planning will host a booth at Trails & Ales this year to share as well as gather community input.”

Tickets for the event are available at the gate on the day of the event. Entrance includes a collectible souvenir mug. Participants must be over the age of 21 in order to sample beer. It is advised participants bring their own seating. All proceeds benefit the Lewistown Trail System. For more information follow Lewistown Trails on Facebook or visit




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