Hey there, beer drinkers. It’s me, Ross. I usually don’t make my presence known in these blog posts, but today I am going to. Today is, wow, my last day working at Kalispell Brewing Company. I have been employed at KBC since June of 2014, when the brewery first opened its doors to the public.
A recent college grad, I moved up from Missoula in 2014 to be with my significant other, who had started her professional career in the Flathead Valley as a school counselor. We had moved in just down the street from the then under-construction brewery. When I got the call from Maggie, notifying me with a job offer, I was so excited. Not only had I found my way into the craft beer industry, I could walk to work and it would only take two minutes.
The brewery opened in June of 2014 and I participated in the flurry of opening night. We had four beers on tap and one t-shirt for sale. In theory, we knew what we were doing.
Each day, early on, presented new challenges and unusual situations—we were slammed, as we say in the industry—but day by day, I got to meet many of you, and, gradually, we began to grow and work became easier. I’ve been lucky to be here the whole three and a half years up to now, to see all the developments. There was a time when canning beer, which we now do quite regularly, seemed remote. Beer on tap at restaurants? Remarkable!
I’ve always worked the day shift, because I like to hear and tell stories. The slower pace of the afternoon makes for easy conversation. I’m glad Kalispell Brewing doesn’t have any TVs, because talking, the oldest human entertainment next to staring at a campfire, is how people amuse themselves here. Beer, of course, helps with conversation.
Beer, in my opinion, is the greatest of beverages, though anyone who has spent time in the brewery while I am working knows I have a strong affection for coffee, too. Beer itself is a great thing to socialize over. Its components can be dissected and analyzed, and there are so many great examples out there. Have you tried this porter? How about that IPA? The process of brewing is fascinating and has a rich history as well. But in my mind, nothing fosters an atmosphere of conviviality like beer, and that is the best thing about it.
While I have been bartending, booking music, writing these blog posts and the Brewsletter, and updating the website, I have been writing fiction in my free time. This is what I love to do, and I am leaving KBC to pursue it. I have hopes of attending graduate school soon, to attain a Masters of Fine Arts degree in creative writing. And who knows, maybe one day you will be picking up a book that has been written by me from well-known bookstores across the country. Of course, the likelihood of me enlisting the help of freelance editors near me at some point in the future, to help make my novel as best as it can be, is definitely high. Even the best authors don’t do it alone. That is definitely the dream. But for now, I’m looking to focus all of my time and attention on attending a graduate school for a creative writing degree.
I have made so many friends through the brewery, and it’s been great to participate in downtown Kalispell’s reawakening. I will miss talking about music and movies and books and beer and weird Montana roadside attractions and everything in between with all of you. For now, I’ll see you on the “other end of the bar.”
Also, I hope to see you tonight, January 31st, at 5:30 p.m. right here at the brewery. We’re having a little get together in the upstairs area of the tasting room. It’d be great to drink some beer with you!
Peace, love, and fermentation,