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It’s a special brew for a special cause.

E-Trail Pale Ale makes its return next month at the 16th annual Don’t Fence Me in Trail Run, a fundraiser for Prickly Pear Land Trust. The beer is the product of Montana grains and malts plus a community partnership between Prickly Pear, CWG Architecture and Blackfoot River Brewing.

Employees from the land trust and architecture firm were on hand at Blackfoot Tuesday to assist in E-Trail’s production. This is the second year for the beer-brewing partnership, an experience everyone involved looks forward to.

“This is actually my dream job,” said CWG president Tony Perpignano, who was busy “graining out” mash during the brewing process. E-Trail is his favorite beer, and as he’ll be out of town during the race, will have a special keg set aside awaiting his return.

Perpignano and others took turns pulling mash from the vat into a large bin, which a local farmer will use to feed livestock. The entire process takes a full day to produce a single batch, said Blackfoot partner Beth Flint

“It’s been really fun building this partnership between a for-profit business and a nonprofit,” she said.

E-Trail gets its name from the trail honoring retired brewer and longtime trail assistant Emmett Purcell. Blackfoot first brewed the beer several years ago, bringing it back last year for the partnership fundraiser where CWG will match a portion of the proceeds to support Prickly Pear.

Blackfoot’s beer guide describes it as an American pale ale, amber in color with a full body, a strong hop presence and grapefruit, pine and floral characters.

Beer drinkers can get their first taste of E-Trail on race day, Saturday May 7, at the Open Space Fair held at Pioneer-Heritage Park near the Lewis and Clark Library. Blackfoot will begin serving E-Trail at the Don’t Fence Me in After Party starting at 12:30, and will continue serving it for about two weeks until the tap runs dry.

The race will include the traditional 30k, 12k 5k and 5k dog walk starting and ending in downtown Helena. More information on fees and start times is available at http://pricklypearlt.org/.

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The 30k racers will see some changes this year, said Prickly Pear Executive Director Mary Hollow. With increasing interest in the longer distance, organizers changed the course to accommodate more runners.

Don’t Fence Me In has only grown in size and importance to Helena as an event and to Prickly Pear as a fundraiser, she said.

The 30k should also see an influx of competitive runners this year, said development associate Lanie White. La Sportiva, which sponsors the Mountain Cup Trail Race Series, decided to offer cash prizes at its regional qualifiers such as Don’t Fence Me In, she said.

“With La Sportiva trying to highlight more of these community races as well as having distances for all people, it’s a really awesomely balanced race,” she said.

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Reporter Tom Kuglin can be reached at 447-4076 or tom.kuglin@helenair.com

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Natural Resources Reporter

Natural Resources Reporter / Assistant Editor for The Independent Record.

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