Showing posts with label Columbia Falls. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Columbia Falls. Show all posts

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Community Socializing and Fussing Over Craft Beer Returns to Columbia Falls


   Montana's 65th brewery of the modern era, Backslope Brewing, has finally opened in Columbia Falls.  A couple of years ago we had a brewery, but alas, it was short lived and many dreams were dashed and hearts broken.  I'm not here to lament over that, but rather to sing the praises of Darin and Carla Fisher's dream of opening a new brewery in Columbia Falls, which in turn, has become a dream come true of many of the residences of the area.

  Backslope Brewing fills a need that many local beer lovers have; the need and desire to make the act of enjoying a pint of craft beer a social and communal affair.  The decision not to outfit the place with televisions was a good move, as the absence of such distractions fosters an environment of talking to your neighbor vs. staring mindlessly at something as mind sucking as a television.  At no other place do I feel more comfortable striking up a conversation with a complete stranger than I do at a craft brewery.  It's a low/no pressure atmosphere and everyone is there for the same reason...to enjoy and fuss over a well crafted, locally made, craft beer.  When I belly up to the bar it doesn't seem to matter who is seated next to me, they are always more than receptive in engaging me over the finer points of the beer they are enjoying, are curious as to what I'm drinking and my opinion of it, and if I have any recommendations.  

 The bottom line is, going to a craft brewery and enjoying the fruits of the brewmeister's labor is a social event, not a let's go to a brewery and get drunk event.  Seriously, when was the last time you saw a fight break out in a craft brewery between two intoxicated individuals?  When was the last time you witnessed someone in the bathroom praying to the porcelain goddess, because they were drunk off their ass?  I suppose it happens, but I'm proud to say that I, personally, have never seen this at a craft brewery.

    Darin and Carla are fostering the former rather than the later with the gem of a brewery that they have created here in Columbia Falls.  With its open floor plan and abundance of tables, by Montana craft brewery standards, I would label the tasting room space as medium sized.  The bar top is made from an old growth log that had been laying on the bottom of Flathead Lake for the past 100 years.  The bar's base is wrapped in corrugated, galvanized steel that was reclaimed from an old barn being torn down near Great Falls.  The tasting room space itself surrounds you in warm earth tones with its dark wood flooring, medium to light colored walls and table tops made of non-stained slats of wood, lacquered, and wrapped in wrought iron.  Large windows in the tasting room give you a direct view of the brewing facility where you can see the brewing magic happening.  When the weather gets warmer you will be able sit outside under a covered patio while enjoying your tasty adult beverage as you take in the sights of the beautiful Swan Mountains to the east.  Last, but certainly not least, Backslope had the wisdom and foresight to put in a kitchen!  Good move!  Not satisfied with appeasing you with the usual humdrum pub grub, Darin and Carla have enlisted the services of the food artisans of Columbia Falls' Palette Cafe, masters of all things delectable.  Great choice! 

  All in all, a very cozy, relaxing space that through color and choice of construction materials creates a low key, chill, atmosphere that exceeded all of my expectations.  If I could change one thing about Backslope though, it would be that they add a communal table.  The place fills up quickly and completely during peak hours and the addition of a communal table would force complete strangers to sit together and when complete strangers sit together, complete strangers they are no more.

    Jeffrey von Kiper













Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Columbia Falls to open Backslope Brewing, early summer 2015

   With the closing of Desert Mountain Brewing, back in September of 2013, residence of Columbia Falls once again found themselves without a hometown brewery.  Darin & Carla Fisher intend to remedy that problem by opening Backslope Brewing in early summer of 2015.

   Darin has over 10 years of brewing experience under his belt and his wife, Carla, has been managing the very successful, Montana Coffee Traders, in Columbia Falls.  With his knowledge of brewing beer and her 15+ years of management experience, it is hoped that Backslope will be slinging beer and providing a community hang out for the thirsty residence of C Falls for decades to come.

   It's their hope too, because they've bet the bank on its success by investing their savings into acquiring all the 4 barrel equipment from the old Desert Mountain Brewery and a mash tun from MickDuff's in Sandpoint.  Still, emptying your savings into what has been a longtime dream of yours isn't always enough.  The Fisher's want to do it correctly from the get go, vs. playing catch up, by acquiring the needed additional equipment and by upgrading the existing equipment that they have.  Currently they still need a high quality brewery pump, more serving kegs, a new brew kettle, high quality brewing hoses, and several other small but essential brewing components.  The acquisition of the aforementioned equipment is over and above what they have already invested, which is why they have turned to crowd funding for help and who's the king of crowd funding?  Kickstarter.com, of course!  Click HERE to visit Backslope's Kickstarter page.  It is, after all, the season of giving and if you are feeling a bit philanthropic, throw some money their way to help insure that this will be a success.


   About the facility. It will be located at 1107 9th St. West (Hwy 2) in Columbia Falls in a 50'x50' structure that will yield 2,500 sq. ft. of usable space upstairs and slightly less downstairs in the basement.  In addition the acquisition of the Desert Mountain brewing equipment and kegs, they also bought the bar base that is a piece of corrugated metal siding from a barn that was being torn down near Great Falls, a couple of chalk boards from an old Nebraska school house, and what will be the centerpiece of the tasting room, a beautiful bar top that was created from a tree that had been sitting on the bottom of Flathead lake for the past 100 years.

  Outside, on the right of the building, you will find what everyone loves...outdoor seating on a 426 sq. ft. covered patio complete with an elbow bar!  As you walk in you will find the layout to be 697 sq. ft. of seating ahead and to the right with the bar being located towards the back and center.  To your left is where the brewing will take place, in a 439 sq. ft. space, that will have a short partitioning wall, with an elbow bar, separating it from the seating area.

   What about that space in the back of the building, what are they going to do with that?  Well, what do we (Flathead residents) all complain about so bitterly when it comes to visiting breweries in these parts, especially when kids are in the mix?  FOOD!  Could it be that Backslope is thinking ahead and has plans to server you food?  The official lines is, is that they hope to incorporate some food component into the business, but are still looking at options, licensing issues, etc.  Everything needs to be in order before they announce firm plans to open a kitchen.  Keep your fingers crossed.



  Darin will brewing 5 flagship beers: a pale ale, IPA, kolsch, porter, and a stout.  He also has plans to have seasonal and rotators  like Scotch ales, ginger beer, imperial IPA's, imperial stouts, barley wine and various Belgian style beers like a dubble, tripple, and a saison.  Darin also got his hands on some whiskey barrels from Glacier Distilling, so look for a barrel aging program. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Desert Mountain to release 3 new brews.


   The owners of Desert Mountain Brewing, Shawn and Kelly, really have a soft spot in their heart for the Bob Marshall Wilderness.  DMB has teamed up with the Bob Marshall Wilderness Association and created a brew to honor that much beloved Montana wilderness.  For this special brew's name, they have parted from their usual GNP landmark names and have honored the Bob by calling this German style hefeweizen, Chinese Wall Wheat.  The tap handles for the Chinese Wall Wheat are even sporting an image of Bob himself.  In addition, DMB is donating half of the proceeds of the entire batch to the Bob Marshall Wilderness!  Chinese Wall Wheat is available now!

   DMB is releasing tonight (for mug club members), tomorrow (May 21st) for the beer appreciating public, their new North Fork Select English style bitter session ale.  They will also be unleashing on the unsuspecting public, their new F5 Imperial IPA.  F5 is rumored to weigh-in at a whopping 150 on the International Bitterness Unit scale!  So, for those of you who are hopalcoholics, this might just be Nirvana for you. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Desert Mountain Brewing Opens in Columbia Falls, Montana

On Friday March 8, newly-opened Desert Mountain Brewing will host its Grand Opening Celebration. Featuring music by Grandma's Little Darlings and pouring their first beers: Bad Marriage Blonde, Two Ocean IPA, and Siyeh Stout.

Learn more about Desert Mountain Brewing from their website:

BREWING A MONTANA BUSINESS
Shawn and Kelley Christensen moved to the Flathead Valley for the great hiking and decided to stay for the beer. They decided the great little town of Columbia Falls could really use a brewery.

Desert Mountain Brewing is about more than handcrafting great beer in the mountains - it's about contributing to the community with a product the locals will be proud of, through give-back programs like the Benefit Brews, by attracting visitors passing through Columbia Falls on their way to Glacier National Park, and by giving a generation that is both connoisseur of beer and cultivator of family a comfortable place to stop for a craft beer, a rootbeer and a board game with the kids.

Desert Mountain Brewing is thrilled to be the closest brewery to Glacier National Park. The DMB Draughthaus is conveniently located in the new Cosley building on Nucleus Avenue, downtown Columbia Falls. Daytime childcare is located downstairs at Outside Kids, and fabulous Montana-Italian dinner fare is located right next door at the Three Forks Grille.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Two New Breweries Opening in Montana in Summer 2012!

The Montana Brewers Association announced two new brewery members that plan to open this summer in Montana, which would bring the total number of Montana breweries to 36.

The Phillipsburg Brewing Company will open at 101 West Broadway in Phillipsburg, Montana.
Desert Mountain Brewing Company will open at 729 Nucleus Avenue, Ste. E in Columbia Falls, Montana.
Let's welcome them with empty glasses!
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