PNMBR – MIKE

Today’s Proudly Not Made By Robots feature is the magic man: Mike Klimek. A native of Ord, Mike is one of our founding partners and our Chief Brewing Office. I met Mike eight years ago as he and his wife Julie were making the move back to Ord. Our early conversations involved homebrewing and the possibility of opening a brewery. During those initial hangouts, he called me crazy more than once. But I was right about one thing: Mike brewed world-class beer as a homebrewer. He had 22 local, regional and national homebrewing awards under his belt before we opened SBC. He was a meticulous homebrewer. He appreciated (and still does) the precision of his process and the technicality and science behind quality beer creation. I was adamant that we could create something special given his talents as a brewer. Now after five years as our head brewer, he’s knocking out premium beers appreciated by thousands of Nebraskans.

If anyone was made to brew beer, it would be Mike. He excels at recipe creation and consistency between each batch. If anyone has seen our brewhouse, they know how talented he is to consistently reproduce the many delicious flavors found at SBC. I’ve been lucky enough to witness that level of technical competency pay forward and encourage others to pursue careers and interests in the beer industry. His efforts have resulted in two professional brewers learn under his tutelage, and helped encourage the establishment of two commercial hopyards in Valley County.

He told me years ago he wanted to leave a legacy like his father, and I can assure you all that’s exactly what he’s doing with his work at Scratchtown. Not only has his beer put Ord on the national map, he’s transforming our community through fermentation. It’s been an honor and a privilege to work next to him. So let’s get to know him:

What is your favorite SBC beer? Non-SBC beer? I probably drink more Hot Iron than anything else. Odell’s Friek is my favorite non-SBC beer.

Think back to your most memorable brewery experience: where and why? Coors in Golden, Colorado, early 1980’s. It was my first exposure to brewing and every so often, a smell while I’m brewing at SBC takes me back to that day.

What do you do at SBC? Head brewer, taproom shifts every so often.

What is your favorite SBC event? Scratchtoberfest!

What is one hobby you enjoy in your free time? I want to learn to make the perfect bread.

If you had a year to go on an adventure, where would you go and why? Europe. A chance to experience many cultures, brewing and food scenes.

Who is your favorite Star Wars character? Yoda. He’s wise but doesn’t take himself too seriously.

What bit of advice would you give your 18-year old self? You don’t have to know your life’s entire path today.

What do you want to be when you grow up? 6-feet tall and well-rested.

What is your favorite thing to do in nature? Lake time, sitting on a beach, staring at a fire and poking it with a stick.

What do you like best about SBC? I get to express my creativity and see the direct result of my work.

Deep thoughts by Michael Klimek

 

Bonus photo – the evening Caleb and Mike agreed to start SBC together.

PNMBR – CHRISTINA

Happy Friday! Today’s Proudly Not Made By Robots feature is on the one person who is most responsible for making Scratchtown a reality. She is the soul of this company, and without her blessing, unwavering support and hard work helping make the taproom (and my sanity) happen, none of this would be possible. That person is my wife, Christina. Originally from Omaha, Christina and I moved to Ord in 2008 for career interests outside of beer. More importantly, we wanted to move to a small town to raise our children. In Ord, we found a place to call home, along with a community where we could pursue our interests and the opportunities we found as individuals and as a married couple.

We share a love of traveling, fine fermentables and diverse cuisine experiences. Those experiences lead to the dream of starting a brewery in Ord, with a focus on sourcing local ingredients to brew uniquely Nebraska beers with uniquely Nebraska ingredients. We also wanted to build a purpose-driven, community-centric company that created measurable, positive change in our lives and in our community. Looking back at the past seven years of dreaming, planning and execution, we’re proud of the company we’ve built with our friends, partners and SBC family. None of this would have been possible, however, without Christina’s support, hard work and bread-winning in our household while we worked to get SBC off the ground and running.

Let’s get to know Christina (or Kiki as many call her):

What is your favorite SBC beer? Favorite non-SBC beer? Sideburns’ Milk Stout; either Levity Amber Ale by O’Dell or Nitro Milk Stout by Left Hand Brewing.

Think back to your most memorable brewery experience: where and why? My most memorable would be our first Scratchtoberfest event. I was blown away by the size of the crowd and the music was great. I remember how much hustle went into that day. We were all dead tired on Sunday, but happy and excited for what we would do next. We pulled off the biggest event to date and had a great time with our neighbors and customers.

What do you do at SBC? I mainly work in the taproom on weekends and help staff special events. I help with scheduling, with tasting events, cleaning and moving snow occasionally.

What is your favorite SBC event? My favorite annual event is the Darkest Day Dark Beerfest in December because there is a fantastic selection of beers on tap for that event.

What is one hobby you enjoy in your free time? Reading – I make time to do this every day.

If you had one year to go on an adventure, where would you go and why? I would spend one year exploring the national parks of the US, starting with Acadia National Park in Maine. The United States is filled with really diverse parks and I would love to see as many as possible. It would be a year full of beauty, wonder and adventure.

Who is your favorite Star Wars character? Ahsoka Tano from the Clone Wars (editor’s note: I love this woman!)

What bit of advice would you give your 18-year old self? First, it’s okay to ask for help. Second, enjoy the journey and take time to appreciate all the small moments and time you have with loved ones, family and friends.

What do you want to be when you grow up? I’m happy with what I am now, I help provide for my family, get to enjoy small town life and watch our boys grow up. If I had a dream career, I think it would be owning a bookstore.

What is your favorite thing to do in nature? Walk or sit by the water.

What is one thing you would do to make the world a better place? I would volunteer my time to things I am convinced make the world a better place: increasing food security and literacy.

Christina. Photo credit: Alan Bartels.

PNMBR – MICHELLE

Today’s Proudly Not Made By Robots feature is a regular OG: Michelle. Michelle is a born-and-raised native of Ord, and is married to one of our founding partners, Jade. Michelle is fiercely loyal to her community, her friends and her family. She knows many of our regular customers better than anyone, as she probably grew up with many of them! She also was the most inviting individual my wife and I got to know when we moved to Ord. We’ve never forgotten how kindness and hospitality can help make someone feel like they’ve found their forever home, and Michelle was that person for us.

Let’s get to know Michelle:

What is your favorite SBC beer? Non-SBC beer? Sideburns’s Milk Stout (YUM!); Brickway’s Coffee Vanilla Stout.

Think back to your most memorable brewery experience: where any why? Our first day of opening and Caleb walking through the door with our license. We went through a lot to get that license!

What do you do at SBC? I’m an owner, and work in our taproom.

What is your favorite SBC event? Scratchtoberfest, it’s such a fun day!

What is one hobby you enjoy in your free time? Yoga.

If you had a year to go on an adventure, where would you go and why? Alaska – I’ve never been and it looks like a wonderful place to visit and relax.

Who is your favorite Star Wars character? I’ve never seen Star Wars. Yikes – don’t be mad! (Editor’s note: this is a trend we must correct!)

What bit of advice would you give your 18 year old self? Don’t worry so much, friendship is about quality, not quantity. Live within your means, take care of your health, appreciate the little things, cherish your family, nothing good happens after midnight, and the best is yet to come!

What do you want to be when you grow up? Retired!

What is your favorite thing to do in nature? I am really enjoying learning to garden!

What do you like best about working at SBC? Meeting new people each and every week. It’s pretty cool.

What is one thing you would do to make the world a better place? Teach people to withhold judgement, practice compassion and be present.