Happiest Hour: Melody at the Big Sky taproom

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Every Friday, just before quittin' time, we profile a western Montana bar, bartender or beverage to whet your appetite for the weekend. This week, meet Melody Turner from the Big Sky Brewing taproom.

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Who she is: Melody has worked the taproom at Big Sky since November 2002, slinging samples, filling growlers and ringing up merchandise. Over the years she’s accumulated an impressive number of dedicated regulars.

Her secret: “The one thing that has always worked for me is using people’s names,” she says. “If I use it immediately, chances are I’ll always remember it.”

Case in point: On a recent Saturday, Melody knows the name of almost every patron inside the taproom. When a well-dressed couple pops in for a pre-wedding sample just as Melody’s preparing to close, she greets them by name—and hooks ’em up.

Who she serves: Big Sky attracts basically two groups of people—locals who love the free samples and specialty brews only available in the taproom (current specialty brews include a Double IPA and a pilsner called Weekend at Bernie’s), and tourists looking to scope out Montana’s largest brewer.

Her favorite beer: Big Sky IPA. “I like big flavor,” she explains. “Plus, I like the antelope. I’m an antelope hunter.”

Biggest difference between working in a bar and working a taproom: “Two things,” she says. “One, I rarely have to deal with drunks. Two, I’m home by quarter to eight. It’s a great job.”

Where and when to find her: The brewery is located at 5417 Trumpeter Way, and is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every weekday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. You can test Melody’s ability to remember your name during her usual Wednesday, Thursday and Friday shifts, or on some weekends.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail editor@missoulanews.com.

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