Where the Brew is Taylor-Made
From Newwest.net, 11-16-08 of published article, Microbrew Montana: Neptune’s Brewery: Where the Brew is Taylor-Made, Bill Schneider. This article is presented in agreement with Newwest.net. All rights reserved, Copyright (© 2008)
Bill Taylor and Katrina.
Photo by Bill Schneider.
You'd think a brewery in Livingston would feature a ranching or outdoor theme, or maybe even a movie star aura to appeal to all the local stars who have escaped Hollywood and landed in the Paradise Valley.
One thing I didn't expect to find when I launched into the Microbrew Montana series was a brewery with a maritime theme. But then, I didn't know about Neptune's Brewery in Livingston, the self-proclaimed "Heart of the Rocky Mountains," and a small market (8,000 population) for a brewery. At Neptune's, everything is about the ocean, ships, sailing and maritime culture and lore--the logo, art, taproom furnishings, beer names, even the owner's only employee, Katrina. You'd think a brewery in Livingston would feature a ranching or outdoor theme, or maybe even a movie star aura to appeal to all the local stars who have escaped Hollywood and landed in the Paradise Valley. So, of course, I had to ask why.
To answer, owner Bill Taylor, who started the brewery after coming back to Livingston after a long shift in the Navy. He shrugs and says, at the time, the name just seemed to fit--perhaps because he still had a little salt water in his veins. Then, he showed me his coaster where he printed the answer to that question--one he's obviously gets asked a lot:
"Although most people think of Neptune as the ruler of the seas and rivers, he was worshipped by the Romans primarily as a horse god, Neptune Equester, patron of horse racing."
Now, there's something I bet you didn't know.
"What better place to have his brewery than Montana with its wild horses and clean mountain streams?" Taylor asks.
So, on second thought, Neptune's Brewery does have a ranching and outdoor theme, just disguised.
With the possible exception of two or three recent start-ups, Neptune's Brewery, founded in 1998, might have the distinction of being the smallest brewery in the state, cranking out about 300 barrels per year. When I was there it was also one of the hardest to find, its entrance and sign tucked away in an alley off L Street. But that's changing as we speak. Sometime in the next two weeks, Neptune's has moved next door into the premises recently vacated Z Bar, a more visible location. "We'll have a larger tasting room and be serving some food, too," Taylor said.
Taylor bottles two of his beers, pale ale and bock, and sells the rest in his taproom and to draught accounts, mainly in Livingston and Bozeman. He has five basic brews, plus five seasonals, which is more variety than a lot of larger breweries.
"All of our beers are Belgian-style, all natural, with no additives," he explains. "We think our beer is the greatest, but I guess a lot of brewers do."
But less expensive than some--only $5 for a growler refill on Thursday night. Even the normal price, $6, is two or three dollars less than most.
He might also work harder than some, too, I suspect, with a day job as a tile contractor.
And Neptune's might also be disproving the bigger is better theory. Take a break next time you're racing down I-90 to get somewhere and see for yourself.-Bill Schneider