Located on the outskirts of Bozeman, Map Brewing has taken a quaint old wooden farmhouse and turned it into a certified taphouse complete with two floors of seating, a fireplace, board games and one of the most stunning views of the Bridger Mountains that you can get. To top it all off they even have one of the most stunning selections of brews in the Bozeman area. It captures the essence of being in a ski lodge without having to spend time out on the frozen slopes, and when you pass through the double doors you can feel the warm and cozy vibe.
One of the more interesting things to take away from Map Brewing, aside from the award winning brews, is the unique decor. “It really helps with the overall feel of the room,” said Sam Willey, a bartender at Map Brewing. “The major decorations were all done by my boss’ wife, from the paintings of the landscape to the moose head made of scrap over the fireplace. But that’s not all I love about it,” she continued. “The owners are some of the best people I’ve ever worked for and I never dread going to work.” This statement is reflected in the mood of the staff overall. When you come in they don’t seem to greet you with a rehearsed line like so many other businesses, instead you can actually feel the excitement in the air.
The mood of the staff can largely be credited to that of the owners. The owners both come from the Bozeman locale and they used their knowledge of the area to find a place that feels like you were being welcomed after a long day of skiing. Owners Pat (aka PK) and Dash started Map with the sole purpose of focusing on beer rather than food and it shows. The two owners worked within Montana Ale Works for years, but left after seeing how there was not enough passion put into the beer that was being sold, so the two decided that they would make their own place with the sole focus of creating brews that could fit anyone’s palate. They’ve elected to have a food truck park outside their brewery to remove any possible distraction from the brews by major entrees. Instead, the food truck Grill 406 serves mainly appetizer dishes such as poutine and nachos so if you want a light snack to go with your beer it won’t distract from the taste.
You may also be surprised to find that Map Brewing is one of the few breweries in town to not have wifi or televisions. “We want people to focus on having a good time and having a good drink,” Willey said. “It feels more important that people talk with each other than lose themselves in a football game or a news broadcast.” This mood was immediately reflected by the crowd in the bar. Within minutes of sitting down the couple at the next table struck up a conversation about their favorite drinks and recommendations from the menu. The goal of Map is to create a friendly environment and they have succeeded with flying colors.
Then there’s the ale itself. All named after directions you can take or ways that you can travel, the ale is clearly brewed with love and care. The staff favorite around the bar is called the Steep Terrain, an India Pale Ale that has a clean and assertive bitterness with a malty background. While bitter, one can’t help but notice the sweet aftertaste that is brought on through the extensive use of hops. The real crowd pleaser though is the Northbound Ale. Winner of the 2015 Montana Brewers Association Fall Brewfest Gold Medal, this beer has a sweet malty biscuit flavor with a kick of floral hops that is sure to make any patron leave Map Brewing with a full growler of fresh brew. Map Brewing is one of the last breweries you should skip in Bozeman.