As I returned from a weekend in Virginia City, Montana, and attending the Dog & Grog Brewfest, I detoured southwest to Dillon, Montana, and its new brewery, Beaverhead Brewing Company. Having been open about five weeks already, owner/head brewer, Brett Maki, says, “It’s been busy, which is great.”
Brett was born and raised in Dillon. He began brewing in Seattle 13 years earlier after his wife surprised him with a homebrew kit for his birthday. After only three months he got the brewing bug and went to work for Pyramid Brewery, washing tanks and driving a forklift.
After Pyramid Brewery closed in Seattle, Brett wasn’t about to give up his new art. He started working for Georgetown Brewing and soon became its head brewer.
In 2011, Brett and his family moved back home. He thought his hometown should have a brewery again. Yes, again. The original Dillon brewery was also called Beaverhead Brewing Company, and it operated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This brewery, like many many others, closed in 1919 with Prohibition.
The modern-day Beaverhead Brewing Company is beautifully situated in a former car dealership, and though already quite spacious, Brett has room to grow his brewery should demand continue to increase.
“We brew on a custom seven-barrel system,” says Brett. A friend of his at Worldwide Stainless Inc. manufactured the brew system, but Brett himself ordered every single working part to put the system together.
|Brett Maki and his custom system.|
As for demand for his beer, it’s there. He has supplied kegs to Mac’s Last Cast Bar, just down the street from the brewery. “But I’ve already gotten calls from Butte and Bozeman,” says Brett. “I just want to get one thing down at a time.”
Beaverhead Brewing Company’s first brewfest will be at the Bale Brewfest in Virginia City on August 9. Brett has family in the area and knows the ladies who run the Bale of Hay Saloon. If you’re in the area, Virginia City and the Bale are worth a visit!
As for Brett’s approach to making beer, he says, “I want to make solid beers. I’m really not into fruit or strange brews.” And solid beers he has made. I tried all he had on tap and solid was the word I would use to describe them.
|A partial flight at the brewery.|
Beaverhead Brewing Company’s summer hours are Sunday – Thursday 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday – Saturday noon to 8 p.m. Growlers can be filled until 8:30 p.m. They are located at 218 S. Montana Street.