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Havre Breweries Make Strong Showing At Brew Fest; Vizsla Awarded Montana Brewery Of The Year

Havre breweries made a strong showing this past weekend at the Montana Brew Fest in Great Falls, bringing home a total of six medals.

Havre’s newest micro-brewery, Vizsla Brewing, won first place medals for all three beers it entered in the Montana Brew Fest competition. It was awarded the title of Montana’s best brewery.

“Everything we entered won a medal,” said Maria Naranjo on Wednesday. Naranjo co-owns the brewery with her husband, Raymond Miller, who is the brewer.

Havre’s oldest craft brewery, Triple Dog Brewing Co., which opened in 2014, didn’t do too shabby, either.

Michael Garrity, left, owner of Triple Dog Brewing Co., and Maria Naranjo, owner of Vizsla, show off their medals after winning at the Montana Brew Fest. (courtesy photo)

Triple Dog took gold for its scotch ale, silver for Mountain Man from Jeremiah Johnson, and a bronze medal for a Scotch ale.

Havre is home to three breweries. In addition to Vizsla and Triple Dog, Old Station Brewing Co. opened May 2018.

More than 36 breweries and cideries were on display at the Mansfield Center in Great Falls with over 100 brews and ciders. Brewers from all over Big Sky Country made the trip for one of the biggest brew fests in the state.

For Naranjo and Miller, who opened their brewery in October, this was Vizsla’s first showing to the fest. They entered their Bichon Saison, their Winter Red Ale and The Brown Lab. All three brought home the gold.

Unfortunately, Miller could not make it for the festivities. He was away for work.

Although he couldn’t attend the Brew Fest, “he’s feeling very excited,” about winning, his wife said.

Vizsla’s dog theme derives from Miller’s appreciation of the Hungarian hunting dog breed. He’s said in a prior interview that the vizsla represents everything he likes about dogs.

Naranjo and Miller are transplants, he from Longview, Texas, she from San Diego, who’ve made Havre their home. They moved to Havre in January 2016 for Miller’s job — and for a change in their pace of life. They opened their brewery in the Holiday Village Mall after Miller figured he shouldn’t wait any longer to fulfill his dream of having a brewery.

Naranjo says her husband is a traditional brewer.

Since opening, Vizsla has hosted in their spacious brewery music bands and salsa classes, among other activities.

Vizsla is open seven days a week, with one exception. During this month, since Miller is gone, the brewery will be closed Sundays.

As of recently, Vizsla patrons will probably notice one glaring item: a large metal trophy shaped like a keg, a sign at the top: “Montana’s Brewery Of The Year.”

Naranjo poses with her trophy in Vizsla Brewing, her brewery located inside the Holiday Village Mall. (Teresa Getten, Herald photo)

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated.

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