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the editor

F OR R OCK C REEK C OFFEE R OASTERS ,

NOVEMBER 2015 • VOLUME 22 • NUMBER 2

HARD WORK LEADS TO NATIONAL RECOGNITION

mike gulledge tom howard COPY EDITOR chris jorgensen GENERAL MANAGER allyn hulteng PUBLISHER

EDITOR

Not long ago I made a late-night trip to the post office to mail some bills. As I pulled up to the stoplight at Second Avenue and Broadway, just under Skypoint, I peered in the window at Rock Creek Coffee Roasters and saw owner Joel Gargaro at the roaster, packaging coffee beans that had likely come out of the roaster just a few minutes earlier. There’s nothing unusual about seeing the owner of a busy coffee shop working after hours. But a few weeks ago, Gargaro, and his wife, Peggy, received word that their hard work is paying off with national recognition. Rock Creek Coffee Roasters, which has been keeping downtown Billings happily caffeinated for the past 11 years, received a silver medal in Compak Golden Bean North America, a nationwide competition for gourmet coffee roasters. The Golden Bean competition originated in Australia and was introduced to the United States this year. It was held in Portland, Ore. The Gold Bean, goldenbeannorthamerica.com made awards in eight separate coffee categories. Specifically, Rock Creek received recognition for a sample of its Ethiopian Ardi coffee that was sent to the competition. It was entered in the “emersion filter” category. Over the years, I’ve consumed enough Rock Creek coffee to float a battleship, but I’ve never heard of an emersion filter. Gargaro helpfully explained that the brewing method is a little bit like a French press. Gargaro said he was encouraged to participate in the competition by a Bruce Milletto, a coffee industry consultant who he has known for several years. Perhaps the best part about entering the competi-

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tion, Gargaro said, was getting valuable feedback from the judges. “It’s kind of nice to know how we rank,” he said. “We try and do a good job. We spend a lot of time roasting and making sure everything tastes good, and we try to buy good beans.” Keep in mind, learning to roast coffee takes a little more effort than thumbing through the instruction manual that came with your smartphone. “It sounds like a cliché, but it’s something you spend a few hours learning, but it takes a lifetime to master,” Gargaro said. If you’re a certain age, you remember the bad old days when coffee choices were limited to bland massmarket brands such as “Mountain Grown” Folgers pitched by Mrs. Olson, or maybe “Good to the Last Drop” Maxwell House. Fortunately, specialty coffee shops like Rock Creek have educated Americans about good coffee. Whether you’re talking about coffee or beer, Billings is in the midst of a brewing renaissance. Local breweries frequently garner awards from a variety of brewing competitions. Recently, Uberbrew won the 2015 Alpha King Challenge for its new Alpha Force Double Tap in a contest decided in Denver by hop growers from the Yakima valley in Washington. Also, Montana Brewing Co. took home a bronze medal at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival in Boulder. Sorry, Mrs. Olson. There’s an adult beverage revolution brewing in Billings, and the locals are winning.

SALES

dave worstell ryan brosseau RETAIL SALES MANAGER shelli scott ADVERTISING SALES karen anderson ADVERTISING SALES milt lang ADVERTISING SALES arcadea scott ADVERTISING COORDINATOR linsay foley

SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR MAJOR ACCOUNTS, CLASSIFIED, DIGITAL SALES DIRECTOR

PRODUCTION

DESIGNER CREATIVE DIRECTOR

alyssa small bob tambo

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