Once Upon a Brew Pub: Kalispell Brewing Co.

So there I was working in Kentucky late October 2015 and I get a text from my wife, “The kids put their house on the market and are moving to Montana. Do you want to go?”

It took me all of three seconds to answer ‘YES’ – but I am a very slow at texting. Good thing I agreed, she had already told my stepdaughter yes. LOL.

So as usual the first thing I started researching were local breweries. Much to my surprise there were five within 20 miles and a sixth opening in March of 2016. So we sold our house and bought one in Kalispell, MT.

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In March of 2016 we flew to Kalispell to check out our new house and the local breweries. The first brewery we visited was Kalispell Brewing Co. on Main Street in historical downtown. It has great beers and is still one of our favorite breweries in the area. Good thing it’s very close, 2.5 miles. No food but there is often a food wagon out back, and you can bring your own food in. Popcorn is always fresh and flowing, and makes a great dinner with beer. Live music is also a regular offering at the brewery.

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KBC has a 10-barrel brewing system with an additional vessel for decoction mashing, which is used for the lager beers. A longer process but results in much better lager beers.

Owner and head brewer Cole Schneider grew up in Nebraska and appreciates a wide variety of beer styles, and his brewing style reflects this. Maggie Doherty, Cole’s wife is KBC’s beer ambassador and is in charge of public relations. KBC offers specialty and seasonal beers as well as their regular offerings. I thought I would include their several specialty beers and not all off their regular brews. Well worth stopping by if you are in the area.

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Two Ski Brewskis Pils

Light gold and brilliant in color with a clean malt aroma accompanied with a spicy noble hops notes. Crisp, dry and moderately bitter with a clean dry finish and a light to medium mouthfeel. Very refreshing. As a hombrewer I would be very pleased if I could brew a pilsner this good. If you like a light and crisp beer give this one a try.

ABV 5.1% IBU”s 33

Winter at Noon Dunkel

Rich malt sweetness aroma with hints of chocolate, nuts and caramel and a touch of noble hops. Deep copper in color with red highlights. Rich complex malt accompanied with a touch of toasted bread crumbs Medium body provides a dextrinous mouthfeel with being cloying, rich and complex. This is a very nice example of a Dunkel. I like this beer.

ABV 5% IBU’s 18

Snowslip Stout

A moderate to strong roasted malt aroma with hints of chocolate, vanilla and caramel. Very dark, almost opaque in color with a nice head of foam. They usually have it on nitro once a week or so. My wife loves a good stout on nitro so you can guess what she drinks. Medium bodied accompanied by a great roasted malt flavor, roasted coffee and dark bittersweet chocolate. A nice stout that is even better on nitro.

ABV 6.7% IBU’s 46

Beer Drinks You Russian Imperial Stout

If there is an Imperial Stout on the brew list, my wife must try it. She does like her stouts, porters etc. A rich and complex sweet malt aroma with hints of chocolate and raisins. Very dark in color with ruby highlights. The flavor is rich, deep, complex and fairly intense with a noticeable alcohol warmth. There is a high malt sweetness well balanced with bitterness from the roasted malts and hop additions. This Imperial Stout should age very well.

ABV 9.4% IBU’s 70

Life’s a Beach Rauchbier

A moderate, pleasant smoky aroma with a touch of malt sweetness, the smokes malt was not overpowering or too intense. Bright clear amber/light copper in color with a creamy white head. The blend of smoked and regular malt creates a nice balance. Some versions can have a very intense almost over the top hop flavor and aroma. Medium bodied with a mild bitterness, finishes slightly dry and has a smooth lager finish. Life’s a Beach is a fine example of the German Rauchbier style.

ABV’s 6.7% IBU’s 30

Broken Tine Barleywine

A moderate-strong malt aroma with notes of caramel and the hop aroma is slightly assertive. A rich golden to amber color, bright and clear. Full bodied mouthfeel with strong intense malt flavors, with a nutty caramel sweetness which is balanced with a nice dry finish. Well hopped, which adds a pleasing hop bitterness. The 10% ABV gives it a warmth that makes this barley wine a great winter warmer. I was lucky enough to get a sample of last years brew. This barley wine aged well.

ABV 10% IBU’s 75

Demersville Dark Schwartzbier

The name dark Schwarzbier is rather redundant, Schwartz does mean black in German. The aroma has moderate malt and a low aromatic sweetness and a hint of roasted malt. Very dark brown almost black in color with hints of garnet. Medium light mouthfeel with no astringency or harshness. Light malt flavor, clean with a low malt sweetness. Low bitterness which lasts into a dry lingering finish. This is what you would expect in a Swartzbier.

ABV 4.9% IBU’s 30

Kalispell Brewing Co.
412 Main St.
Kalispell, MT 59901
406-756-7329

Don Williams
Don Williams has been a home brewer since 2002. He is a recognized BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) judge, and has taught brewing classes. Don enjoys visiting brew pubs in various parts of the country. He and his wife live in Kalispell, Montana.
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2 Responses

  1. Don, I love that you’re still our favorite pub reporter, even though you’ve moved away. Thank you for this review. It’s so nice to have your writing here again. We’ve missed you!

  2. Don Williams says:

    They are just celebrating their 3rd anniversary.. A couple great new beers have just been released. An English brown and a hefeweizen.

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