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The original item was published from 2/23/2015 9:28:27 AM to 3/10/2015 12:10:01 AM.

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Butte-Silver Bow

Posted on: February 23, 2015

[ARCHIVED] Tapping 'er light: Uptown's newest brewery hopes to add creativity to local beer scene

CopperWild Brewing isn’t going to be a huge operation. But that’s fine with owner and brewer Christopher Graves.

“It lets me be a lot more creative,” he said.

The new brewery, featuring five Butte-brewed taps, is open in the same building as Trimbo's Pizza on Park Street, in the shadow of the new NorthWestern Energy building.

Graves and his wife Elizabeth bought Trimbo's in October. That was a departure from the original plan, which was to open only a brewery. But the couple decided that the two businesses would dovetail well.

“This brewery is way too small to survive on its own. We’re definitely the little kid on the block” Graves said. “We had a lot of people come in to try the beer and order some pizza,” or vice versa during a soft opening earlier this month.

A loophole in the statute regulating microbreweries allows them to be paired with restaurants if the two are technically separate businesses.

Graves started brewing when a friend bought him a “Mr. Beer” start-up kit. He “slowly but surely” got more into the hobby, until he decided he wanted to make it a career.

But starting up a brewery wasn’t easy. Between getting equipment, making renovations and securing permits, plans hit several delays.

At one point, a piece of equipment from Germany was held up by customs for two weeks.

“They had no idea what it was,” Graves said.

The couple had to get used to running a restaurant as well.

“We also wanted to see if our kitchen could keep up with production,” Elizabeth Graves said.

But things finally got rolling, and CopperWild had three of its beers ready for the soft opening – Boudica, an Irish-style red ale, Sweet Side Stout, a cream stout, and Copper King’s Rye, a rye pale ale. They’ve since added Columbia Gardens, a cream ale, and will add Aether, an imperial pale ale still being brewed.

Read the full story in The Montana Standard.
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