Brian, like every other American of his generation started out drinking pale, fizzy, flavorless industrial beer. After joining the military and spending 3 years serving in Germany, he had the opportunity to experience & enjoy many different traditional European styles of beer. Brian returned home and attended graduate school in Missoula, where he worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Economics. However, his meager TA stipend didn’t allow for much quality beer drinking. Mostly at that time it was 60-cent Heidelberg drafts at Charlie B’s. He was aware that you could make beer at home, but just didn’t have a place to do it.
After moving to Helena to work in politics in 1990, Brian got a real job as an Economist with the State. It was there that he worked with Brad Simshaw and the two of them started homebrewing, and they haven’t stopped brewing since.
Besides beer, Brian enjoys kayaking, rafting, fishing, hiking, skiing, mountain biking, hunting, gardening, cheese-making, chicken-raising, and his latest hobby is trying to build and maintain the “perfect” saltwater reef aquarium.
Brad was born in Glasgow Montana with stops in Sunburst, Kalispell, Polson, and Missoula before settling in Helena. Brad developed a passion for good beer as a home brewer where he went through the three stages of home brewing; first that it was a good way to get cheap beer, then discovered that you could make great beer, and finally that learning all about beer was great fun. What he hadn’t realized was that there would be a fourth stage – being involved in building a legitimate brewery.
Brad takes great pride in the great beer and the great beer experience that has become Blackfoot River Brewing Company. He also is quick to acknowledge the contribution of the hard working staff at the Blackfoot. “I learned early on that one of the best things you can do for the success of a business is to hire good people and then get out of their way”. “I learned that one day while working in the taproom and one of the staff told me to ‘get out of my way’.”
“I am often asked if I ever dreamed that this brewery would become the successful brewery that it is today. My answer is yes! But most of those dreams also involved Courtney Cox, so they probably don’t count.”
My interest in beer started well before my taste for the frothy, malty beverage matured. As a 12-year-old I began collecting beer cans in the roadside ditches of the Black Hills of South Dakota in the late ‘60’s. Now that beer can collection has a permanent home in the taproom. As I grew to beer drinking age I tried most of the “commercial beers” available, then moved into imports and finally microbrews became available. Then “The Joy of Home Brewing” turned my kitchen into a part-time brewery, which eventually led me to Brian and Brad. Partnering with Brian and Brad in the development, building and nurturing of Blackfoot River Brewing has been a challenging, exciting and fun journey. Thanks Brian and Brad.
I moved from South Dakota to Helena in 1982 to work as a civil engineer for the State of Montana. Many different jobs and career changes came along the way and I am truly thankful for them all. I spend my free time telemark skiing; camping, hiking, and biking the mountains of Montana; along with enjoying the rivers and creeks of our great state.
Favorite beer quote from a monk stuck in Kansas in the early 1900’s: “Because without beer things would not go as well.”
Bethany grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and only made Montana home after many life adventures that took her to the beaches of California and to the city of New York and many places in between.
Beth has an under-graduate degree from the University of Puget Sound in Asian Studies and a Graduate degree from Columbia University in Chinese History. She is passionate about education and life-long learning.
Beth joined the staff of Blackfoot River as Office Manager in 2009 and is inspired everyday by the owners and staff of Blackfoot in their quest to make great beer and run a great business.
When not at the Blackfoot, Bethany enjoys the Montana life of being on the water, hiking, cross-country skiing, reading and enjoying time with her partner & their two dogs Indigo and Chloe.[email protected]
Tim was born and raised in Cape Girardeau, MO and went to Southwest Missouri State in Springfield, MO. During College, Tim became interested in Craft Beer and started home brewing. As his interest and hobby in craft beer grew stronger so did his love of the mountains and his desire to live out west. In 2004 he started his professional brewing career with Big Sky Brewing Company in Missoula, Montana. During his time there he worked on the bottling line, in the cellar, in the brew house, and eventually in Quality Control. In October of 2010 Tim got his dream job as Head Brewer – Co-General Manager of the Blackfoot River Brewing Company. Tim’s favorite things about the Blackfoot are the taproom, the staff, the customers, and of course the beer!
When he’s not at the brewery Tim spends his time mountain biking, skiing, rock climbing, being on the water and spending time with good friends.[email protected]
When not pouring our delicious beers in the taproom you can find Sarah outside enjoying various mountain sports or tending to her garden. She also thrives on travel and learning to recreate the culinary delights she finds on her journeys.
Sarah found herself in Helena via a summer field work job with the Forest Service. She made her way to the Blackfoot via both a desire to break free from a desk job and a fledgling hobby as a homebrewer and lover of all things beer.
Favorite Blackfoot Beer: Blue Collar Bitter. Favorite Blackfoot Seasonal: Bavarian Pilsner[email protected]
Nicholas was a Mathematics major at The College of Wooster in Ohio, where he played collegiate golf. He comes to us after brewing at Heavy Seas Brewing and Jailbreak Brewing, both in Maryland. Before he was a Brewer he was a Golf Professional on the east coast for 9 years. When he’s not at the Brewery you’ll find him with a beer in hand on the river, on his snowboard, playing nerdy board games, camping, playing soccer, or softball, or any other sport. Nicholas is married, to his lovely wife, Rachael, who puts up with his dog, Sugar. The beer would be an IPA…
Ben grew up in Billings, MT and first became aware of craft beer at a young age through his father, brother-in-law, and older brother. Ben remembers that they would drink Anchor Steam or Fat Tire and he was fascinated that they weren’t drinking the typical domestic beer of the time.
Ben has always been captivated by history and science, and is particularly interested in the relationship between craft beer and society.
In the early Summer of 2015, Ben and his wife moved to Helena, her home town, and he found his sense of purpose as an employee at Blackfoot River Brewing Company.
As someone who is dedicated to hands on work, he completed fly fishing guide school and lived on a farm in the Big Belt mountains for a year.
Ben continues to explore new and old styles of beer while camping, fishing, or cooking extravagant meals with his wife Ellie and dogs Marlo and Roo.
Favorite beer: Single Malt IPA
Favorite seasonal: Baltic Porter
JC is from a smaller rural community just north of Sacramento, CA. From his earliest memories he has always had the spirit of adventure and an extreme enthusiasm for the outdoors. He left that community in 2002 to start his enlistment in the United States Marine Corps at the age of seventeen.
During his enlistment and new environment in southern California he picked up new hobbies including surfing, free diving, and craft beer! Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was the spring board into discovering new beers beyond the common domestic beers.
After hearing a tip from a friend “Montana is boring there is nothing to do there unless you like fishing, hunting, or camping” he shortly packed up his few belongings to start his new life in Helena, MT. Since he made that decision, his life has been filled with new experiences including his first job working as a ranch hand at the Prickly Pear Simmental Ranch. Shortly after working at a local beer and wine distributor George’s Distributing which lead him to his opportunity to join the team at the Blackfoot River Brewing Company in 2015.
JC has continued his enthusiasm and exploration into new and different craft beer styles. When JC is not in the taproom you most likely find him exploring our beautiful mountains and rivers in the company of his wife Elizabeth and his three children Scarlet, Emmett, and Eli.
Favorite beer: Single Malt IPA
Favorite seasonal: Kolsch