Bayern Brewing

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Bayern Brewing, Inc.
Industry Alcoholic beverage
Headquarters Missoula, Montana
Products Beer
Production output
10,000 US beer barrels (12,000 hL)
Owner Jürgen Knöller

Bayern Brewing, Inc. is a brewery in Montana, USA. It was founded in 1987 by Brewer Jürgen Knöller as the "only German brewery in the Rockies" and is the oldest surviving brewery in the state. The brewery has multiple award-winning brews and is known for its cooperation with local artist Monte Dolack in designing various labels.


Bayern Brewery was opened in 1987 as the "only German brewery in the Rockies" and today is the oldest operating brewery in Montana. Brewers Thorsten Geuer and Jürgen Knöller are both from Germany and use all German equipment and recipes.[1] Knöller was born and raised in Bavaria, German (Bayern in German and hence the company's name) where he also an apprentice and graduated as a professional brewer. He graduated as a Masterbrewer from Doemans' Masterschool for Brewing and Soft Drink Technology in Munich in 1987 after which he became the brewmaster for Bayern Brewing.[2]

All beer at Bayern is brewed according to Reinheitsgebot, otherwise known as the "German Beer Purity Law" or the "Bavarian Purity Law".

Size and expansion[edit]

At almost 10,000 barrels of brew a year, Bayern is the second largest brewery in Montana after Big Sky Brewing. Knöller has had facilities at three different locations, and its most recent move, in 2002, was built so that it could be expanded to produce up to 100,000 barrels per year if needed.[1]


In 2007 Bayern began to phase out the name "Trout Slayer" for one of its best-selling beers. For much of the beer's history it was known simply as "Light Wheat Ale" until it leased the name "Trout Slayer" until it was trademarked by Kalispell businessman Brian Beck. To avoid continued high licensing fees as well as begin a new with a name more in line with Knöller's philosophy of environmental preservation, the name was changed to "Dancing Trout".[3][4] The new Dancing Trout also became the Official Beer Sponsor of Montana’s Trout Unlimited with a portion of its sales' profit donated to help preserve trout and their habitat.[5] A new Trout Slayer Ale with a different recipe was released by Big Sky Brewing Co. later that year.[6]

Monte Dolack[edit]

Montana artist Monte Dolack opened his first studio in 1974 and is known best for his paintings "blending mythology, technology, and elements from nature" richly "infused with a sense of humor and irony."[7] He was first commissioned by Knöller to create labels for Bayern in 1987 and has since designed the labels of some of the breweries most notable brands: Doppel Bock, Pilsener, Dancing Trout, Maibock and Oktoberfest.[8]


Dark Doppelbock:[9] German-Style Strong Doppelbock

  • Gold Medal, 1999 North American Beer Awards

Doppelbock: German-Style Strong Doppelbock

  • Silver Medal, 2001 North American Beer Awards[9]

Dragon's Breath Dark Heff: South German-Style Dunkel Weizen/Weissbier

  • Silver Medal and Judges Award, 2010 US Open Beer Championship[9]
  • Gold Medal, 2012 US Open Beer Championship[10]

Dump Truck: German-Style Heller Bock/Maibock

  • Bronze Medal, 2010 US Open Beer Championship[9]

Maibock: German-Style Heller Bock/Maibock

  • Silver Medal, 2003 North American Beer Awards[9]
  • Silver Medal, 2000 North American Beer Awards[9]

Schwarzbier: German-Style Schwarzbier

  • Silver Medal, 1999 North American Beer Awards[9]

See also[edit]

Other breweries in Missoula, Montana

Taprooms only