What’s your current position at your brewery, and how did you get started in the craft brewing industry?
I am the beer ambassador and co-owner of Kalispell Brewing Company (KBC), a small craft brewery in downtown Kalispell, Mont. My husband, Cole Schneider, and I founded KBC in 2012. It took about two years to renovate a 100-year-old brick building into the future home of our decoction-focused brewery and taproom. Being involved with craft beer feels like a lifelong pursuit of mine.
What’s new at Kalispell Brewing?
Since opening in 2014, increased demand for our lagers means we’ve had to increase our fermentation capacity and packaging options. We added a canning line and will add a third beer to our six-pack lineup. Thanks to our increased distribution footprint, we have brought in more fermenters, adding another 80 barrels. Since we brew primarily German-style lagers, we’ve grown incrementally from about 40 barrels of fermentation capacity to now more than 180 barrels.
What’s the best part of being a part of the craft brewing community?
The people. All walks of life can come together and connect to exchange great ideas over a mug of beer. I find this not just with our customers, but with the larger brewing community itself.
Name a favorite food and beer pairing.
My all-time favorite pairing would have to be a traditional Bavarian breakfast of weisswurst sausage, a German hefeweizen, and a pretzel eaten in Munich, Germany before heading off to Oktoberfest. I also love homemade chocolate ice cream with KBC’s Snowslip Stout.
What’s your biggest accomplishment unrelated to your job?
I’m working toward my master’s in English. Also, seeing my own KBC family expand to include my son Charlie, who’s now two.
What’s your favorite beer from another brewery?
It’s a tie between any beer from Andechs Monastery in Germany, Bell’s Oberon (I’m from Michigan), and New Glarus Raspberry Tart.
What’s the most memorable travel destination at which you’ve had a chance to sample the local beer?
The Andechs Monastery in Bavaria. There are no cars allowed on the grounds, and we had to walk up this huge hill to get there. It’s deep in the Bavarian countryside with surreal rolling green hills. I remember the beautiful September weather and the incredible beer. It was an unforgettable experience.
What do you like to do in your time away from the brewery?
KBC is located in the heart of the Flathead Valley in northwest Montana. Glacier National Park is our backyard (well, almost). Our little slice of the world has some incredible mountains. If it’s wintertime, I’m skiing. If it’s summertime, I’m either hiking with a heavy kid on my back or floating down a river in a canoe.