Written by guest blogger Jamie Lynn Morgan.
I just have to say that I love where I live, Idaho! After a wonderful sunny weekend spent around Coeur d’Alene riding my bike, walking, and drinking in the usual places I was headed for Sandpoint, Idaho on Monday for some meetings. Since I was going to be in Sandpoint I decided to take an opportunity to visit the new Brewing facility for Laughing Dog and maybe get in on the scoop for the upcoming summer season.
The weather of course took a turn for the worse on Monday, but since I planned on spending my day inside it didn’t change my plans. My first couple of meetings were in the morning at Monarch Mountain Coffee, my favorite in Sandpoint. Laughing Dog Brewing opens at 11am and I didn’t want to be “that person” waiting outside for them to open the doors (not that being that person is a bad thing). I arrived at the brewery about 11:15 and was pleasantly surprised to see that there were two other people enjoying a before noon beer. (One of them was the Head Brewer having his lunch, but I am still going to count him!)
Decisions, decisions, decisions…there are so many great beers in the Laughing Dog line up, but I have to say one of my favorites is the Dogzilla so that is what I decided to go with. Normally I would save the heavy brew for later in the day and go with something lighter so early, but it was an adventure day and being the only woman in the place I decided to look tough.
It was pretty quite in the front of the brew house in the tasting room, but you could see the back was buzzing with trucks coming and going. I happened to show up on a day that Fred Colby, co-owner was going to be doing some interviews and lucky for me his 11:30 decided to not show up. That gave me a chance to ask him some questions about the recent move to this location and what the summer had in store.
Colby metnioned, “We just have a couple more things to move and we should be done.” What Fred was most excited about though was the expansion of the brewery that would be happening soon with the addition of five more fermenter’s. When I asked him if that had anything to do with the rumor I heard about them possibly adding canning equipment to the brewery, he replied “We are still looking at that, but nothing is set in stone”. What he did tell me is that the reason for the expansion is that they are going to become a internationally distributed craft beer with the addition of British Columbia and Alberta, Canada to their distribution area. (They are currently in 30+ states in the US). I told him that I was excited for them and commented about how that tied in with Sandpoint’s recent “Sandpoint Loves Canada” Campaign. Canada obviously loved Laughing Dog Brewing as they were the ones to approach them about getting the brews on the other side of the border.
The good news also warranted another Dogzilla for me…to help celebrate of course. Plus, I wasn’t quite ready to leave yet even though Fred had to excuse himself to interview the guys who actually showed up for their appointed times. I was enjoying the conversation with Bruce the bar keep. He was a 70+ year old gentleman (you would never know by looking at him that he was over 60). We chatted about why he chose to move to Sandpoint and how long he had been working at the Brewery. He said he had been with them since they opened at their first location and he moved to Sandpoint for the skiing and fishing. Bruce has been retired from the Navy for several years, but enjoys his two days a week working for Laughing Dog when he isn’t out enjoying everything Sandpoint has to offer.
All and all it was a productive and fun day. I think sometimes we get so focused on work, and for beer bloggers analyzing the beer, that we sometimes miss out on the things that made us love beer in the first place, Feeling Part of a Community.
The best conversations and gatherings happen around food and drink. I forget that sometimes, but days like Monday remind me of why I do what I do. It is nice to just sit and sip a beer, chat with the people around you, and just revel in the moment. I think I will be doing more of that in the future.
“Get my barstool ready Bruce, I will be back and want to hear more stories about your time in the Navy!”