The Limberlost Brewery has been a project in the making for nearly a decade and now it’s open in Thompson Falls.
Two Northwest Pennsylvania natives — Zach and Kate Whipple-Kilmer — learned from a close friend how to brew beer more than a decade ago. They saved their money, bought their equipment and bided their time.
In 2015 the couple bought the building which housed Montana Coin World. It was most notably home to Westland Chevy and was also a flower shop, the location of AA meetings, and a salon.
History is a major component of Limberlost, too.
The wood used to build the bar was milled at Diehl Mill in Plains. It was originally used to build the ski lodge on Baldy Mountain.
Two old saw blades also are a nod to the rich legacy of the timber industry in the region. One blade from the Anaconda mill in Bonner, Montana, is used as the beer board while another hails from an old mill in Superior.
They bought original tongue and groove lumber from the Corona Lake Ski Club Lodge in Plains and Billy and Nicole Setter did the remodeling.
In preparation for opening Limberlost, the Whipple-Kilmers traversed Montana, trying as many different breweries and beers they could find. Their goal was to create a style no one else had.
Two of his major inspirations were Northwest Montana breweries — Bonsai Brewing Project in Whitefish and Backslope Brewing in Columbia Falls.
He and his wife put together the brewery in installments, buying and installing things as the money came in. They’ve both had an interest in brewing for a long time now, they used to do small custom batches at home, Zachary commented that the biggest changes from doing it from home, to doing it on a business scale was size, and then sterilization.
“The ultimate goal of our business is to provide a way that a young family in the valley can make an honest living. However, money is not everything to us. Being able to give back to our community and help our local non-profits. We love Sanders County and we want to keep our rural way of life intact. We also want to provide a family friendly atmosphere and a community gathering place for folks in the Lower Clark Fork Valley, including Hot Springs and Eastern Sanders County.”
The Whipple-Kilmers also received a grant in 2019 from the Montana Agriculture Development Council’s Growth Through Agriculture program.
But the $19,000 grant also required an even match from them. The GTA program was established by the legislature to strengthen and diversify Montana’s agriculture industry by developing new agricultural products and processes.
Limberlost not only brews beer, but seltzers and sodas as well.
Future improvements to the brewery will include a map where people can leave markers from where they’re from, an outdoor seating area, and a stage, and not to mention they plan to add many more varieties of beverages to their menu.
Limberlost is open from 3-8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday, it is open from noon-8 p.m. and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.