What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
The first beer I ever tasted was a light lager from a large commercial brewer. After several minutes of disappointment in my first beer, I decided that there had to be something better out there. So I kept trying new and different beers, finding better beers every time, and eventually I learned how to homebrew. After homebrewing for several years, the natural step up was to work in a commercial brewery. I broke into the craft beer industry as a sales rep. After several years of sales, I was longing to move over to the production side. I was offered the chance about a year ago with Blackfoot River Brewing Company [in Helena, Mont]. I am currently the assistant brewer there, which I prefer to refer to as “cellarmaster.”
What’s new at Blackfoot River?
New at our brewery is our first female brewer (me!)… coming soon to a brewery near you! We are also in the process of getting a 30 bbl fermenter as well as a 30 bbl conditioning tank. I work under an awesome head brewer who is letting me experiment with our firkins a lot, so there are new and different styles coming out all the time.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The best part about the craft beer community is the people. Seems like you can strike up a conversation with just about anyone, and everyone is always willing to share tips and advice. Oh, and of course… the beer!
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
When I’m not at the brewery, I really enjoy working on our house with my husband Ryan, cooking, and hiking with our dogs.
What’s your favorite food and beer pairing?
Can you really pick just one? I guess my favorite would have to be pairing different cheeses with beer. It’s such a simple thing to pair, and there are so many different varieties out there.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
Getting the nerve to one day pack up all of my things and move across country, from Delaware to Montana. If it wasn’t for that big change in my life, I wouldn’t have met my husband, and may not have been able to break into the craft beer industry.
What’s your favorite beer that your brewery does not produce?
So hard to choose just one. I’ll narrow it down to three: Yuengling Lager, Dogfish Head Aprihop, and Stewart’s Brewing IPA.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve have a chance to sample the local beer?
Germany. No question about it. There’s just something about those German beers that makes you want to go back for more!