After six years of running a landscaping business in the Flathead Valley, Brandon Roberts and his wife, Stacia Fuzesy, left the area in 2017 to pursue a new business venture nearly 300 miles to the east – launching Golden Triangle Brewing Co. in the small Montana town of Fort Benton.
Named after the triangle-shaped area stretching from Great Falls to Havre to Shelby that’s famous for its bountiful grain-growing and malt barley, Roberts and Fuzesy set up shop in Fort Benton where they built a close rapport with the local farmers.
But after six years in the Golden Triangle, Roberts and Fuzesy returned home to the Flathead to be closer to family and re-opened the brewery along with Nimble Goat Pub – a separate business – in the former Whistling Andy’s distillery in Bigfork.
“The attraction of having a brick-and-mortar in Bigfork was an aspiration for us,” Roberts said. “I took my homebrewing from the kitchen to the garage and from the garage to my own brewery.”
Roberts claimed to have the smallest brewery in Montana when they got their start a handful of years ago, but they have since been de-throned by 1035 Brewing out of Sidney.
“I can still claim to be the smallest brewery west of the divide,” Roberts said.
Roberts takes pride in owning one of the smallest breweries in the state, and he plans to keep it that way. Operating on a small scale allows him to use primarily locally sourced ingredients for his beer, using hops from Big Sky Hops Farm in Bigfork, and the barley remains sourced from farms in the Golden Triangle, with additional specialty malts from Butte.
Since the brewery operates in a small capacity, with 72 gallons brewed at time, Roberts can create custom malts in addition to the five beers they already have on tap, which include a West Coast style IPA, a jalapeño-honey hefeweizen and red, wheat and blonde ales.
Originally created because of a nagging friend who insisted that Roberts brew a jalapeno-flavored beer, the Bear Spray beer became the brewery’s signature flavor with wheat malt and Buzz barley from Farm Power Malt and copper hops from Big Sky Hops Farm. Following harvest season this year, the jalapenos will be sourced from North Shore Farm on Flathead Lake.
Similarly, the red ale was brewed specifically for a friend in Big Sandy upon their request, and has since been named the Ole’ Engine Red.
“That’s the joy of being small batch,” Fuzesy said. “If someone wants their own beer, we’re happy to fulfill that for them.”
Each of the Golden Triangle beers can be consumed in the brewery’s tasting room in the back of the building next to the brewing equipment, which Fuzesy says allows customers to enjoy the brewery experience.
“People can come back and experience it and Brandon loves to be able to talk to people about his beer and the process and he answers their questions,” Fuzesy said. “You’re basically taking a tour while you’re drinking your beer. He just really enjoys being able to share his craft.”
At the front of the building, the Nimble Goat Pub offers Golden Triangle’s beers on tap along with a variety of other beverages, operating on a license that allows them to be served beyond the 8 p.m. state-mandated brewery deadline.
In addition to the house beers, the Nimble Goat sources other Montana-made beer, seltzers and liquor from local breweries and distilleries, including Whistling Andy Distilling, Spotted Bear Spirits, Headframe Spirits, Philipsburg Brewing Company and more.
While the Nimble Goat offers some snacks, Great Grub food truck is also posted up in the front parking lot offering nachos, burgers, fries and pizza on the menu.
On Aug. 5, the pub will host Goat Fest from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with ice cream, live music, live goats and more.
For more information, visit www.goldentrianglebrews.com.
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