Bozeman has a strong sense of place that not all locations are lucky enough to claim. The authenticity that you will find in our community is a big part of what gives us the sense of place, and what draws newcomers as well. Bozeman’s Brewery axis lies in MAP Brewing; along the shore of Glen Lake Rotary Park (formerly East Gallatin Recreation Area), Bozeman’s largest tasting room awaits. MAP has brought its own sense of place to our community; it’s a must-visit for the beer, the food, the people, and the view. This month we spoke with one of the owners, Dash Rodman, to ask our dining and drinks questions.
Angie Ripple: How was MAP Brewing conceptualized?
Dash Rodman: Patrick Kainz (PK) began 12 years ago on a journey to create a different type of brewery for Bozeman. The goal of MAP was to build a taproom that fit into the scenery of the surrounding area and to allow the patrons a view of the Bridger Mountains while enjoying incredible beer and outstanding food. PK worked on building other breweries in the past and he used all the insight that he had gained to work out the details and also to know his local audience. Getting MAP from ideas on paper to actually built was a slow and tedious task, but we were all patient with the process knowing that the final “product” would be better for it.
AR: What makes MAP unique in the Bozeman Food Scene?
DR: We prioritize using locally sourced products and think that if you are drinking the highest quality beer you can, your food should also be of that quality. Our Head Chef Bob is always looking for the freshest and best ingredients he can get to create these foods. We work hand-in-hand with local purveyors like Streamline Farms, Yellowstone Grassfed Beef, and Amalthea Farm to bring the best local foods we can to the table. With Yellowstone Grassfed Beef, we sat down and discussed in depth what we would want out of a burger blend and they accommodated us to create a custom blend that we use in all of our burgers. We also invest heavily in putting in the labor and purchasing the right equipment that allows us to make from scratch as much as we can. We work hard to keep our prices approachable and the meals the correct portions so as to not overwhelm the customer but to allow them to enjoy the whole meal. Our bar staff are all Cicerone trained beer servers and this helps them to not only know beers, beer styles, and brewing processes but also about pairing beers and foods.
AR: What do you want people to experience when they walk through your doors?
DR: Our Golden Triangle from day one has been great food and beer, great atmosphere, and great customer service! We use this model because we know if we hit all three sides, then the customer experience will be what we want it to be. We feel grateful when folks choose to come to MAP and we know that they will remember the “experience” much more than just the food or beer. The customer experience is something that all of us come back to time and time again. We work to create the taproom that any of us would choose to go to as patrons and we know that it is the overall experience we remember when we go somewhere.
AR: What do your regulars keep coming back for?
DR: We have a very welcoming vibe and allow for inclusivity on all levels. We enjoy building relationships with our regulars just as we would with friends. I think that our regulars know what to expect too in terms of service, beer, and food. They appreciate the new beers we put out as well as the consistency in all of our mainstay beers. We also have an amazing retention rate with our employees and I think that is nice for our customers as they see the same faces all the time.
AR: What do you enjoy most about being part of the Bozeman community?
DR: Being a part of the Bozeman community is one of our top core values and we have built solid relationships with so many folks in our town that we get to help out in a lot of different ways and work together. Our community is dynamic and strong, and our community is really good at getting things done together. Being able to reach out and collaborate on ideas, events, and community fundraisers is something that is special and doesn’t exist this well everywhere else. I feel like there is so much community focus in this town and people are really both humble and proud of that. This is our home and has been for a long time and that is never far from our minds. We know that without our community, we would not be able to be where we are and we are grateful for that.
AR: How has it been running the restaurant through the pandemic?
DR: It has kept us on our toes and also allowed our incredible team to shine in so many ways that I knew we could. This year has thrown all of the breweries and restaurants across the world a huge curve ball and we are no different. One of the mantras we used during these last 6 months was that we “adapt, migrate, or die.” We are not done doing what we do and we sure as heck are not migrating, so the answer to this curve ball has been to adapt. We worked closely with local and regional authorities to understand what we can do to create the best and safest options for our employees as well as our customers. I was on the re-opening board here in Gallatin County as well as a state liquor panel that worked with health departments and restaurant owners to realistically set up guidelines that would allow safety for everyone involved and not create a huge attrition of businesses. Once the guidelines were set in place, we became a full-service brewpub and we worked hand-in-hand with our staff to recreate how our taproom is run. Our staff and management team has done an amazing job of creating and adapting to these changes and we are proud of what we have created. It has not been an easy task by any means but it goes back to our hiring and company culture of hiring the best and treating them the best that you can. We are so proud of the team that we have and without their commitment and strength, it could have been catastrophic.
AR: Is there anything coming up that you would like the readers to know?
DR: We are excited about the change of seasons and the return of “local season” when the tourists and traveler traffic slow down. We tend to be fairly busy most of the year but we always enjoy the fall when things slow down a bit. We think that we have done a really good job of showing the community that our taproom is well run with public and employee safety of the highest priority. We will continue to make great food and beer, provide a great atmosphere, and keep on giving all of our patrons some of the best customer service they will find in the valley.
You can’t get much more Bozeman than a warm fire, a locally brewed beer and a million-dollar view of the Bridger Mountains. Find a seat at MAP Brewing and take in the view with a cold brew, made with love.
MAP Brewing has been voted Bozeman’s Choice Local Brewery (quality & variety of beer) for the past four years in a row in the Bozeman’s Choice Reader Poll. 2021 Voting is happening now through Nov 7, 2020 - if you love MAP give them a vote!