Showing posts with label Montana craft beers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Montana craft beers. Show all posts

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?, 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. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Kalispell Brewing...1st Look


After a 59 year absence, Kalispell once again has a brewery.  Can I get an Amen!?  Located in a historic downtown building that once housed the Henrickson Oldsmobile-Cadillac dealership, Cole Schneider and his wife Maggie Doherty have just made a decade old dream of theirs become a reality.  It was Kalispell Brewing's soft opening tonight (6.18.14), and like two proud parents they were both eager to show their baby off to the lucky members of the Demersville Drinking Club; KBC's version of what most breweries refer to as a "mug club."


As luck would have it, I happen to be fortunate enough to be in that club, and as a result I got a first look at Kalispell Brewing's operation in action.  I won't go into the trials and tribulations of the project or how long and how much it took to get to this point; that has all been written about before.  No, tonight is about what it has become, what it is now.

What that is, is a welcome addition to a downtown main street who has seen better days due to the tough economic climate we are all too familiar with and the addition of strip malls that have sprung up north of downtown.  Locally owned ma and pa shops, restaurants, and specialty stores can still be found on both sides of Main Street, but there are, sadly, a fair number of empty buildings as well.  For those businesses that are still open, there is not as much foot traffic going by them as I would like to see.  What this street needs is a draw, a reason to once again walk down the sidewalks of downtown Kalispell.

As you know, craft breweries have long been regarded as a community center of sorts.  A place where people gather to socialize, discuss current events, talk about their passion for craft beer, to expound on the beer's attributes and its qualities, and in general, just a great place for us to be really very brilliant.  Craft breweries are wildly popular these days and people are flocking to them.  There's your draw!  It is my hope that what Cole and Maggie have created will be a part of what draws people from the surrounding neighborhoods and communities back to downtown to walk those sidewalks and, hopefully, rediscover the charm of downtown Kalispell versus just dismissively driving by like so many do on a daily basis.

Now, on to the soft opening.  All in all, a very positive experience and I could wax poetic about the vibe, the character, the nuances, and the construction materials used in the creation of KBC, but I will spare you all that and simply let the photos do the talking.  Click on each photo to enlarge it if you wish.  Enjoy the tour.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Kalispell Brewing Company Construction Update...Part Two

Cole and Maggie, owners and operators of Kalispell Brewing Company, were nice enough to indulge my curiosity by taking me on another tour of the KBC facility today.  Not only is it to satisfy my curiosity, but the curiosity of every craft beer loving person I know that comes to me on a daily basis asking me, "So, have you heard anything about when the new brewery is going to open?"  I usually give them my best guess as to when that might be based on the progress I see taking place at the facility as I drive by it, taking in as much as I possibly can while simultaneously trying not to rear-end the car in front of me.

   So, when are they opening?  Believe me, they want to open and serve us beer as badly as we want them to be open and get served that beer.  If you've ever dealt with the construction process, even something as commonplace as the building of a house, then you know how days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months.  We are all at the mercy of the folks doing the construction, so it is what it is.  The anticipated opening at the end of July, obviously never happened, but Maggy and Cole are hopeful that they are going to be in a position to pour you a pint towards the end of October or beginning of November.  Fingers crossed!

   In an attempt to prove that the brewery is really making progress and to wet your appetite for the much anticipated opening of the KBC, I have included a few photos of the brewery in its current state of construction.

   Above we have the building itself.  The tap room will be located in structure on the right and the brewing facility will be to the left of that, behind the Henricksen Motors, Oldsmobile - Cadillac mural.  That mural is a historical piece of Kalispell history and Cole and Maggie have wisely decided to keep it.  The building at the far left is Colter Coffee and is not associated with the brewery.  Above the tap room, you can see the 3 large doors, that have been cut into the east wall, that just might be the signature feature of KBC...rooftop craft beer appreciation under the Big Sky!

   In the picture above we see the future tap room where 5 German style flagship brews will be offered, each being served in its own unique, brew appropriate style glass.  The top of the bar is oak with oak trim and will be covered with bar top epoxy and the bar base will also be clad in oak panels.  The OSB paneling, on the right of the photo, is a temporary measure meant to keep out the elements while the glass is being replaced.
Another view of the tap room and bar.  The brewing facility will be located behind the "Safety Tested Used Cars" mural.  The large opening to the right will lead to the men's and women's lavatories and the staircase that will take you to the upstairs and rooftop seating areas.  More on that farther down the page.

While we're on the subject of brewing facility, here it is.  Cole has been busy laying down thick layers of epoxy to protect the concrete from the beer and chemicals that are used to clean the tanks, as the brewing tanks will be occupying this area at the front of the building.  Large window panes will soon be installed on the other side of the OSB, showcasing the breweries big silver tanks, so as you drive by there will be no doubt in your mind that this is a brewery.

   View of the brewing facility, from the back looking towards the front.  The boiler room can be seen framed in on the left and employee lavatories on the right.

Now in the boiler room, Cole shows off their new boiler that will be used to provide on-demand heat to the facility as well as providing heat to the brewing tanks.   

   The 2 photos above show the space above the tap room that will hold an additional 20 beer lovers.

   Above is what I feel, will be the signature feature of KBC, the rooftop seating area.  This space will extend 15 feet beyond the wall and will hold an additional 20-22 craft beer aficionados.  This is going to be such a positive addition to downtown K-town, thanks Maggie and Cole for choosing downtown Kalispell as your area of choice to build what is sure to be one the major downtown attractions and destinations.

Friday, August 16, 2013

3rd Annual Missoula Osprey Brewfest

Saturday August 17, starting at 4:00 p.m. the Missoula Osprey kicks off its 3rd annual Osprey Brewfest at Ogren Park Allegiance Field. There will be a nice selection of Montana craft beers to choose from on the party deck before and during the game. Game time is 7:05 p.m., with the Missoula Osprey playing against the Orem Owlz. A game ticket and $3 entry fee is required to attend the brewfest. 
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