Raise a glass to remember a friend


Moscow Alehouse owner Wendy Johnson organizes some table settings. Her restaurant and bar will host its fifth annual Brewfest tomorrow.

Some challenges in this world bring the community together, and the Moscow Alehouse chose to respond to these difficulties by hosting its fifth annual Brewfest to raise money for Relay for Life.

Relay for Life is the primary fundraiser of the American Cancer Society where participants, as part of a team, run or walk for 24 hours straight to raise money for cancer research.

During a Relay for Life event, every team member doesn’t always have to be walking, but at least one member is always on the track to signify that cancer never sleeps.

Wendy Smiley Johnson, owner and manager of the Moscow Alehouse, along with her friend Skye Taylor, who runs a Relay for Life team, decided to put on Brewfest after one of Johnson’s employees, Derek Arnold, passed away from melanoma.

“[The cancer] took him pretty fast and pretty hard, and we realized that although there are funds to help people from the government when they have cancer, there were no funds for people to help,” Johnson said.

Since then, the Brewfest has become an annual tradition to bring the Moscow community together. At the event, there will be brats served using Vandal meats, eight live bands, more than 50 different microbrews and a raffle with prizes donated from local businesses.

“Being part of Moscow and being part of this community where everybody helps each other is just spectacular for all of us,” Johnson said.

Brewfest will pour beer from 35 different companies, most of them from the Montana, Oregon, Idaho and Washington areas. Four or five ciders will also be on tap for those who are gluten intolerant.

“Not only do we have a huge variety, after working with all these breweries for so long, they have come up with some really special beers for this event,” Johnson said. “Being able to pull in all of our locals is even better.”

Dogs are also welcome at the event, as long as they are on leashes. Brewfest is expected to attract about 1,000 people throughout the day.

“We are just super excited,” Johnson said. “It’s about the amazing, great beer, but first and foremost, it’s about why we are all there. Almost everybody has someone, somewhere, who has been affected by [cancer]. The more we can work together to fight this, the greater we become.”

The entrance fee is $15 cash at the door, which includes a 12-ounce glass, five beer tokens and a few raffle tickets. Additional beer tokens and raffle tickets can be purchased inside. Brewfest will take place from 1 – 9 p.m. tomorrow at the Moscow Alehouse.