Business

Winning Flavors at Sacred Waters Brewing Company

Sacred Eats opened in July to bring a new menu to the brewery; Party Hat Sour wins best brew at Montana Brewers Association Fall Rendezvous

By Maggie Dresser
The Huli Huli Rice Bowl from Sacred Eats at Sacred Waters Brewing Company in Kalispell on Oct. 6, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Only four days after Fork in the River, located next to Sacred Waters Brewing Company in Evergreen, closed unexpectedly this past July, a swift transition has now transformed the restaurant into Sacred Eats with a new menu and under new management.

Kallai Boyce, a former employee of Fork in the River, was returning her key after working at the restaurant for a year when brewery owner Jordan Van Elmeren offered her an opportunity to run a new restaurant.

Between Kallai, her husband Chris and one other employee, they managed to open Sacred Eats just a few days after the previous restaurant closed right in the middle of the busy summer season.

Now with a total of nine employees, Sacred Eats is running smoothly right next to the brewery, with an evolving menu ranging from a huli huli bowl to shrimp po boys to a beet spinach salad.

“Our goal at Sacred Eats is to create a seasonal menu,” Kallai said. “We will switch it up in the fall and come up with more variety.”

Chris and Kallai Boyce, managers of Sacred Eats at Sacred Waters Brewing Company in Kalispell on Oct. 6, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Since Kallai helped the previous owner create some of the menu items, some of those remained at the restaurant, including the curry bowl and the Philly Fever sandwich, but they plan to switch up the menu seasonally while keeping a few of their most popular items permanently. Hearty soups and stews and warm desserts are in the works for the menu this fall and winter.

The Boyces also make sure to involve their employees in the creative process, holding collaborative meetings to get input from their crew.

The Boyces say food shortages have been their main challenge, forcing them to adapt their menu to what’s available. Chicken wings, for example, have been in short supply lately, which means they sometimes have to substitute other items for the wing specials that are planned for Wednesdays and Sundays.

With 15 years of experience in the food industry and a graduate of the culinary program at Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC), Kallai transitioned naturally into her role at Sacred Eats after managing Zucca Bistro in Whitefish and Bonelli’s Bistro in Kalispell.

The Party Hat barrel-aged sour from Sacred Waters Brewing Company on Oct. 5, 2021. The brew won Best Beer at the Montana Brewers Association Fall Rendezvous. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Sacred Waters Brewing Company has also utilized graduates of FVCC, where Marty Vollmer attended The Brewing Academy of Montana and recently helped create the Party Hat Sour, which won best brew at the Montana Brewers Association Fall Rendezvous in Bozeman.

Vollmer and brewer Seth Orr helped craft the barrel-aged sour, which goes through a mixed fermentation process aged for five to six months compared to most sours that age for about a year.

Blended with 44 pounds of guava puree and mango flavors, the Party Hat exudes an exotic and balanced flavor, setting it apart from traditional sour beers.

Brewer Kylie Mortenson, Head Brewer Seth Orr and Assistant Brewer and beer tender Marty Vollmer of Sacred Waters Brewing Company pose with glasses of their top prize-winning Party Hat barrel-aged sour on Oct. 5, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

With 50 breweries at the Fall Rendezvous, judges select about eight beers for the Best Brew competition.

“The criteria is basically a beer that stands out and can be showcased,” Orr said.

After the second round, the Party Hat won against an Oktoberfest, an IPA and the Raspberry Wheat from Kalispell Brewing Company, which won best fruit brew.

“We went to that conference and we got to taste a bunch of barrel-aged sour beers so I took a lot of notes and increased our quality and number of sours,” Vollmer said. “I was super stoked that we won.”

For more information, visit www.sacredwatersbrewing.com.

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