Our Team

The Rock Cut team shares a common goal of providing the most exceptional experiences possible for our guests. We consider ourselves part of a family and hope you will, too! If there is anything about your time with us that could use improvement, please let any team member know or email our ownership team at email@rockcutbrewing.com. Your feedback is incredibly valuable to us and we hope you’ll help us as we continually strive for excellence.

Meet our team below!

Matt Heiser, Founder & Owner
How’d you get to Estes Park?
I grew up with a love of the outdoors and the mountains. Estes is an ideal basecamp for adventures and exploration in the Rockies. As I looked for where to go next after college, having friends out here made it an easy choice.
What’s your favorite thing about the area?
The outdoors always. But I’ve been here 20 years now, and it’s the friends I’ve made here, the community and the small town feel of Estes that have made it my home.
What you do when you’re not at Rock Cut?
If you know me, then you realize this question doesn’t really apply. On those rare days though, I treasure time away with my wife, hiking or fishing in Rocky, and of course getting out to see what the rest of the Colorado Craft scene has to offer.
And most importantly, what’s your favorite Rock Cut beer?
They’re all my children, but luckily they don’t have feelings, so… from our standard lineup, the Tyndall Porter was the second beer we brewed and has been at the top of my list from the start. I do really enjoy our cellar program though and there have been so many one-off beers that have come from barrels that I have trouble narrowing it down. Our first ever barrel-aged smoked beer was fabulous; the Funky Portal (brett IPA) always stands out for me; and we have a few sours still in barrels that I like so much it’s hard to hold back and not serve them right away – I just know they’re still getting better every day.

Kirby Nelson-Hazelton, Owner
How’d you get to Estes Park? Originally from Chicago, I’ve been coming to Estes since I was really little; in fact, I even took my first steps in Glacier Basin Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park. I completed my undergrad at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, then stayed in Colorado Springs and Denver for a couple of years before moving up to Estes in 2011. I wanted to give small, mountain town living a shot and I’m still here, nine years later. I joined Rock Cut on day three of us being open to the public and I can’t imagine not being part of this incredible brewery family. I love it.
What’s your favorite thing about the areaBeing surrounded by nature…nothing beats it. In five minutes I can be at a hiking trail for a quick lunch break or after work adventure. What could be better than that?
What you do when you’re not at Rock Cut? Hike, run, hang out with my awesome family and friends, rescue dogs, and of course, visit Colorado craft breweries with my husband and Rock Cut brewer, Jordan.
And most importantly, what’s your favorite Rock Cut beerOur first round of Wooden Buffalo still sticks in my mind; I love just about anything from our cellar program. For everyday drinking I’ll head for the Galactic Portal.

Jordan Hazelton, Owner & Head Brewer
How’d you get to Estes Park? My family had visited Estes Park for several years before deciding to move here in 1999. I have grown up in Estes and absolutely love this place. It’s a small town for sure, but my wife (Kirby) and I really enjoy living here.
What’s your favorite thing about the areaOf course it would have to be the mountains. I also love how close and accessible Estes is to the rest of the Colorado craft beer scene. Northern Colorado is producing some of the best beer in the country right now.
What you do when you’re not at Rock Cut? What does it mean to not be at Rock Cut? I don’t understand… I hike, frolf, run, play video games, hang out with family and friends, and quality check as much craft beer as possible.
And most importantly, what’s your favorite Rock Cut beer? Anything that’s barrel-aged. Working on our cellar program is one of my favorite parts about my job — we are doing some really cool and innovative things in barrels. 

Laura Shepard, Merchandise & Programming, Beertender
How’d you get to Estes Park? After graduating college in Wisconsin, the Rocky Mountains (which I had never actually seen in person before) were calling to me. I guess you could say I listened. I luckily found a year-round job in Estes Park and have no plans on ever leaving!
What’s your favorite thing about the areaMountains (duh…I come from central Wisconsin where they call a 100ft hill a “mountain”).  Being five minutes away from a national park is absolutely amazing. This area has endless things to see and do outside and the breathtaking views never get old.
What you do when you’re not at Rock Cut? Hike (a lot), snowboard, go on adventures with my cat (yes, she has her own backpack, but I am NOT a crazy cat lady), take in the views from wherever I can hang my hammock, and try to travel to see any corner of this beautiful world that I have not already seen before.
And most importantly, what’s your favorite Rock Cut beer? Ptart Ptarmigan (all aboard the sour bandwagon…choo choo!).

Kate Stephens, Beertender & Brewer
How’d you get to Estes Park? I’ve been visiting Estes Park ever since I was little as my grandparents lived in Glen Haven. After getting my undergrad degree (a super applicable double B.A. in psychology and philosophy), I was looking to move away from my home state, so took the opportunity to move into the family home in the mountains. I remodeled the place a bit and lived there for about a year (2015-2016). My wanderlust ways kicked in again and I moved to Richmond, VA. There, I completed a teacher preparation program and got the east coast experience out of the way. Turns out it wasn’t for me (mostly the humidity), and as soon as my program was complete, I moved back to the mountains. And now, here I am.
What’s your favorite thing about the area? Seemingly endless beauty. Countless hiking spots – I’m certain I could live here the rest of my life and still not fully explore half of what the area has to offer. I also like being able to wander around some cities from time to time without living in one.
What you do when you’re not at Rock Cut? Serve at a local restaurant. Hike. Read. Play cribbage. Kick it with my cat Rick. Spend time with friends and family (if they happen to be visiting). Write short, abrupt sentences. And once in a while, go to a concert or comedy show. In a grander scheme – I like to get out of the country whenever I can.
And most importantly, what’s your favorite Rock Rock beer? Half and half of Galactic Portal and Ptart Ptarmigan.

Caity Leeds, Beertender
How’d you get to Estes Park? After graduating from CU-Boulder many moons ago I, along with my now husband, moved to Chicago (the land where I am from), and hop, skip, and a jump later it was 2014 and my husband and I looked at one another and said, “We don’t want to be living this big-city life anymore.” This statement started our quest to get back to a place where work wasn’t everything and we could be minutes from the nearest trail. Even though we toyed with the idea of other states, no other place held our hearts quite like Colorado. We concocted this harebrained scheme that we were going to buy vacant land, build ourselves a cabin, and have no mortgage…two of those things came true. It took 3 years, a career change, and a lot of life lessons to get here, but get here we did! Estes Park has been a childhood vacation spot many, many times over and the fact that I now get to live here is truly a dream come true. Every day I wake up thinking about my journey back to Colorado and it makes me smile.
What’s your favorite thing about the area?
Three things: 1. The Beauty 2. The People and 3. The weather (it gives Chicago a run for its money..sorry Chicago.)
What do you do when you’re not at Rock Cut? My favorite things in this world are to explore, meet people, and drink adult beverages (I am not as picky), fortunately Estes Park allows me to do all of these things relatively easily. So you will probably find me either on a trail, getting involved in the community, or as a customer at Rock Cut or one of the other amazing breweries, distilleries, or restaurants we have in town.
And most importantly, what’s your favorite Rock Cut beer?
River Culture all the way! Did you know we get the cultures to make the beer from the river out back? How amazing is that!?

Dom Rickicki, Beertender
How did you get to Estes Park?
I first came to Estes when I was 19 to work at the YMCA for a summer as a groundskeeper. I kept coming back to Estes for several summers and have largely been a seasonal resident for the last 6 years. In May 2020 I moved back as a year round resident. 
What is your favorite thing about the area?
My favorite thing about Estes is the access to the mountains and the community. Being 15 minutes from the Long’s Peak trailhead is quite excellent, and so are the people. Folks in this town help each other out and I really appreciate that. 
What do you do when you are not at Rock Cut?
I mostly go rock climbing, I also work as a climbing guide for KMAC here in town and have been doing that for 4 years. On my rest days I go fly fishing. 
Most importantly, what is your favorite Rock Cut beer?
I hate picking favorites, but I could probably drink Enos Pils everyday for the rest of my life and be quite a happy camper. 

Jenni Gerard, Beertender (seasonal)
How did you get to Estes Park?
In 2010 I left my childhood home in St. Louis, Missouri and moved to Boulder, Colorado where I spent five years earning a B.A. in Environmental Design from CU. During my summers off from school, I worked as a hiking and backpacking counselor at Cheley Colorado Camps in Estes Park, beginning my love affair with the town and with Rocky Mountain National Park. After graduation, I spent a few years bouncing around small mountain towns for seasonal work and personal travel, including Breckenridge, CO; Durango, CO; Big Sky, MT; and Wanaka, New Zealand. In the spring of 2019 I was offered a seasonal job in Estes Park, and jumped at the chance to come back. I moved to Steamboat for the past two winters, but couldn’t resist returning to Estes Park yet again for the summer of 2021!
Whats your favorite thing about the area?
The mountains!!! Rocky Mountain National Park is stunningly beautiful and full of endless possibilities for outdoor, alpine adventures. Also, the climbing at Lumpy Ridge is amazing. 
What do you do when you’re not at Rock Cut?
I play outside! In the summers, I mostly climb rocks and run on trails, spending as much time as possible frolicking through the mountains. I enjoy the occasional mountain bike ride too. My main winter jams are splitboarding and snowboarding, although I have recently been introduced to and am psyched about ice climbing and winter mountaineering. The rest of my time is mostly spent eating snacks, working out, socializing, and snoozing.
And most importantly, what’s your favorite Rock Cut beer?
It’s honestly hard to pick a favorite because they are all delicious! But recently I have been loving Le Petit Citron.  Thanks Kate!!