Posted: Mar 19, 2013 12:01 PM by Tara Oster - MTN News
COLUMBIA FALLS - The latest brewery to call the Flathead home has the advantage of being the only one in Columbia Falls and the closest one to Glacier National Park.
Owners Shawn and Kelley Christensen had a one-month-old baby boy named Jonathan and were going to school about 15 months ago when they realized they wanted to put their lives on another trajectory.
"We love to homebrew and we love making beer and we thought, well, let's turn this into a profession," Kelley told us.
Desert Mountain Brewing and Draughthaus opened for business on March 6, and they say the reception has been very positive.
"The city has been very, very easy to work with which is really nice. They were pretty much on board from day one. The landlord here has been on board from day one. I think he's kind of always wanted a brewery in here," Shawn said.
They've also been busy, which is a sign the locals are excited to finally have a brewery in their town.
The Christensens have three beers on tap: Bad Marriage Blonde, Two Ocean IPA and Siyeh Stout.
Shawn says their interpretations are just a little bit different.
"[Customers] come in and they say, 'Well, I'm not really a blonde or a stout person,' and they try it and they really like it and they end up having another one," he said.
Desert Mountain will team up with the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation in May to create a new brew, and the foundation will get 50% of the profits from a batch of this new beer.
"We'll have a release party on May 17, so if people want to come in and support the Bob, they can," Kelley said.
They will also be pairing up with other local nonprofits throughout the year to periodically have new beers on tap.
Most of the work on the inside of the brewery the Christensens did themselves and much of the materials, including the wood for the bar and floors, come from the Flathead area.
"This has been such a long process and we've put so much of ourselves into it. It's just really rewarding to be open and have people in here," Kelley said.
They're also working on another beer, Gunsight Pale Ale, which should be ready to go within the next couple of weeks.