A Handcrafted Life – Bonsai Brewing Project

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Bonsai Brewing Project in Whitefish, Montana may be lurking in the shadows of giants, but it is definitely not a shadow of a brewery. The beer, the brewery, and the food are each a piece of art that is well balanced and handcrafted.  This week we talk with Graham Hart,  the adventurous owner and head brewer, but more importantly the artist behind the Project.

Video Notes to Highlighted Topics

1:02 The Birth of a Bonsai
Graham stays true to his artistic nature when it comes to naming his brewery.

1:41 Montana’s Beer Laws
Montana has some unique laws when it comes to craft beer and craft breweries.  Graham touches on a few of these.

3:23 Tourism in Whitefish
Biking and boarding and boating…Oh my!  Whitefish is a tourist town that keeps its local feel.

4:19 A Handcrafted Life
Before opening Bonsai, Graham entered a competition to brew with the folks at Sierra Nevada.  Winning this competition with his slogan of a handcrafted life, he still follows this today at Bonsai.

6:03 Sierra Nevada Influence
Brewing with other homebrewers at Beer Camp helped shape Graham’s brewing life today. In fact, the name Bonsai comes from that – trying to be a miniaturized version of a grand brewery. He also mentions visiting Ken Grossman’s original brew system still being used by Mad River Brewing.

8:03 Brewing with Classics
Graham gives us a tour of his seven barrel system highlighting his handcrafted mash tun

9:39 Location, Location, Location
Starting in an old-school mall, Bonsai has grown into its beautiful new space quite nicely. Graham, of course, handcrafted a lot of the furnishings himself.

11:20 An Artist Brewer
Graham considers himself more of an artist brewer than a science brewer.  His artistic background is evidenced both in the brewery and the beer.  He also touches on Montana’s pride in its beer.

13:40 Social Enlightenment
“Good beer is the catalyst of social enlightenment.” Graham responds to the meaning behind his quote mentioning how a pub is like the original Facebook.

15:07 Beer is Art is Beer
Art and beer go hand in hand, and Graham’s beer does not disappoint both in balance of flavors and creativity in using those flavors in his recipes.

25:11 The Gallery Within
Staying true to artistic roots, Graham keeps a gallery of art within the brewery created by friends and family.

26:33 House Party
Before Bonsai took over the Public House, it was owned by a local gentleman well known in town, so Graham works hard at keeping up the beautiful building and the gardens surrounding it.

28:11 The Stout Life
Graham breaks his answer in half with beer and travel.

29:48 Beyond the Taproom
Graham talks more about his brewing schedule and equipment.

We’d love to hear from you.

Graham has handcrafted his life with beer, art, biking, and travel.  What have you done to handcraft your life? Let us know in the comments below.

pinto beer in the beer garden at Bonsai Brewing Project in Whitefish Montana

Check out Graham’s winning entry to Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp (property of Sierra Nevada).

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What is Craft Beer?

Old 121 Brewhouse – Stout Life Approved

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