MAP Brewing: Officially On The MAP
photos by Zach Hoffman, by Cassi Miller
Imagine, if you will, a beautiful, sun-shiny Saturday afternoon drive on the edge of Bozeman. You leave the din of the interstate interchange for the industrial vibe of Griffin Drive, still itching for something a little less crowded. You turn left onto Manley Road and the familiar scene of the Bridger Mountains rises up over the East Gallatin Recreation Area. Combine that view and that favorite local spot with good beer, good food, and good people, and, well, now you’re onto something. And that is exactly what MAP Brewing Company is doing.
The gorgeously behemoth building housing MAP Brewing Company sits on the shores of the recreation area, with an inviting patio and an outdoor fire place for chilly winter days. The outside is stone and wood, enticing any curious passerby with its lodge-like feel. Step inside, and that feel continues with rustic lighting, comfortable leather chairs around the bar, and a huge moose head crafted out of old bits and pieces of metal. Creating that unique atmosphere and putting in the man hours to make it happen, the crew at MAP Brewing welcome all from the chillest ski bum to the fanciest resident in Bozeman. I sat down with Dash Rodman, one of the part owners, to talk beer, Bozeman, and the passion of doing what you love.
CM: What got you into brewing beer?
DR: Well, I have been home brewing for over six years, but another one of our owners actually attended the Seibel Institute, the oldest brewing school in the country, in Chicago. In a round-about way, he got involved with Wild Onion Brewing, which was started by the family of another one of our partners. We had all cultivated a love of Bozeman earlier in our lives and eventually ended up back here. We all wanted to be here.
CM: Why brew beer particularly in Bozeman?
DR: Well first of all, it’s a fun business, one of the most fun businesses to be involved in. We’re seeing an increase in craft beer lovers and people are becoming more aware of what good beer really is. Plus, tasting room culture is unlike anything else out there. People who appreciate good beer appreciate that sense a tasting room brings to the experience. Combine all that with Bozeman, with the outdoor recreation and the feel of the entire town, and this is home.
CM: So, what’s unique about MAP Brewing?
DR: Well, we’re pretty proud of the view. Looking out those windows, you can’t get another view like this in town with the pond and the mountains; it’s breathtaking. We wanted to build around what we love: those mountains. The lodge feel of the building was also purposeful, built to connect with outdoor adventure, but we also wanted it to feel comfortable, comfortable for anyone who steps through those doors. The name itself comes from an appreciation of the map. It stands for exploration, road trips, hunting, skiing, and mountains. It’s about the simplicity and the pursuit of adventure.
CM: What do you want people to experience at MAP?
DR: My trifecta is this: great beer, great atmosphere, and great service. We’re proud of our brews here and we want people to enjoy them. That’s directly linked to the service you receive here. Bozeman is filled with wonderful people, so it wasn’t hard to put together a crew who can do that well. We’ve also partnered with Grille 406 to be a brewery with food, and it’s great food. We’re working on getting some live music going in here, too. We’ve been doing that on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays with fun acts like Russ Chapman and Tony Polecastro. And we want Bozeman to be a part of this. Businesses and non-profits can reserve our upper deck for free for meetings, holiday parties; whatever they may need the space for. It has a separate bar and plenty of seating. We want this to be a public house for all.
CM: Lastly, what’s your favorite beer to drink and your favorite beer to brew?
DR: I like a good stout. They are rich, dark, and delicious. A farmhouse or saison is great, too, which we have in the works right now. Our newest brew is a gratzer which is made from 100% oak-smoked wheat. When you look inside the bag, the wheat is this really unique charred color and that flavor comes right through in the beer. It’s from an old, almost extinct Polish recipe. We also have an altbier coming in December. Overall, we want consistent beers for everyday beer drinkers that push the edge of mainstream.
My experience at MAP Brewing was nothing short of fantastic. From the moment I set foot in the door and Johnny Cash’s “In the Jailhouse Now” was playing over the speakers, I knew I would enjoy this place. I tasted their Northbound Ale, which just won a gold medal at the Missoula Brewfest, that Smoked Lion Gratzer, and the Destination Session IPA. Combine that with delicious poutine from Grille 406 and the hospitality and laughs offered up by Dash and company, and this place is a beer drinker’s home away from home. My visit ended four hours later after calling some friends to join me, and it was four hours well spent on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
On January 5, MAP Brewing will be hosting a benefit for the Gallatin Valley Food Bank and Bozeman Warming Center with raffles for items from companies like Sitka, Montana Troutfitters, Mystery Ranch Backpacks, and more. Visit their website [mapbrewing.com/] or Facebook page to see what’s currently pouring, but more importantly, visit their tasting room any day from 12-9, with last call at 8 p.m. MAP Brewing Company is officially on the map in the Bozeman brewing scene and is sure to become a fast favorite of anyone who adventures out for great beer and good fun.