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Garage Into Brewery

by Kristen Inbody GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE |

LIVINGSTON — In windy Livingston, Katabatic Brewing Co. is making a name for itself.

“A lot of the locals didn’t know what katabatic meant when we opened, but now it’s a word you hear it in the grocery store for the kind of wind we get here,” owner LaNette Jones.

Jones and her husband Brice opened the brewery in 2014. He’s the “director of fundom,” and she’s the “bean counter.” Brice was a smokejumper and a backcountry ski guide. LaNette was a social worker.

“We were both ready for a new career,” she said.

The brewery launched with a Kickstarter campaign that aimed to raise $10,000 but raked in $11,315.

Operating in an extensively remodeled building from 1881, the brewery’s ambiance builds on old brick, corrugated tin, lacquered wood and funky art. In the summer, the glass panel front opens to the street.

The brewery is tagged as “rugged yet refined” with “big, bold and bitter” beers so there’s something for all tastes.

The popular Katabatic IPA is a West Coast-style IPA, “not heavy on the malt and with hops that give a tropical and citrus fruit flavor.”

On the other end of the spectrum, the award-winning Katabatic Strong Scotch Ale has six malts in it. It’s dark with a potent 7.3 percent alcohol but it’s not heavy.

“It’s a great, big beer, but it doesn’t taste like it,” Jones said. “You can’t taste the alcohol flavor, and it has a smooth caramel finish. Some bigger beers can be heavy and thick, but this one people could drink three of.”

Another two of the brewery’s signature beers are the light, sweet wheat Katabatic American Hefeweizen and the Katabatic American Pale Ale. The APA, Jones’s favorite lately, is made with Columbus, Cascade and Galaxy hops.

“It has more of a caramel malt base, but we make sure it’s not too heavy on caramel,” Jones said. “We try to make sure all our beers have a nice finish. When you smell it, you smell the citrus of the hops, but it has half the bitterness of our IPA.”

This year the brewery is launching brewer’s choice special release Thursday at least once a month. This week saw the debut of Scotch ale aged two months in a bourbon barrel from Willie’s Distillery in Ennis.

Mosaic Pale Ale is one of the “rotators” on tap now, but it’s proven so popular it likely will be in the rotation more often this year. It has Mosaic hops for a grapefruit note without the bitter bite. Jones called it a transition beer for people ready for something hoppier than a hefe.

“It has a really nice flavor,” she said.

The brewery doesn’t serve food, but patrons can bring their own. There’s a Mexican restaurant next door and bakeries on either side.

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Kristen Inbody at