by Mr. Wonka
Brooklyn, New York
April 2, 2005
Located on a tiny side street off what seemed like Livingston’s only main road, Neptune’s is part bar, part brewery, with Taylor running the show behind the scenes (or more specifically, behind a saltwater tank in the middle of the main floor) and his father-in-law manning the attached Z-Bar up front. The nautically themed decor helps contribute to the relaxing atmosphere that engulfs the bar, but really, the quality of the beers being served and the people serving them are the two biggest reasons why Neptune’s ranks as one of the area’s top microbreweries. The Sacajawea Wheat, Smooth Sailing Cream Ale, and Walk the Plank Stout all carry well-developed, complex tastes, but it was the Clipper Nut Brown Ale, their most popular beer, that took my taste buds hostage. I’m a sucker for nutty ales, and this was truly one of the best I’ve ever had.
Like many brewers, Taylor started his craft out of his basement, using a small 15-gallon system. He has considerably more resources at his disposable these days, cranking out about 30 kegs a month and 210 gallons at a time. He uses all-natural, organic ingredients, including grains from both Montana and parts of Canada, and takes pride in the fact that it still remains a one-man brewing operation.
And what exactly does Taylor do? He oversees and implements the entire operation of turning water, malt, hops, and yeast into beer, from the initial 1 1/2-hour long germinating and rinsing of the grains, to the fermentation period, to what he calls the worst part of all–clean up. After taking the time to carefully explain each step of the brewing process, Taylor made sure we got a few glasses of the final product after the tour. Each sip further convinced me that this tiny Montana outpost is selling beers that compete with the best microbrews in the country.
We were glad to catch up again with a baby-toting Taylor and his sales and marketing whiz, Beau Barnhill, at the annual Brewfest in Gardiner, MT, where they joined 10 other area breweries in the shadow of Theodore Roosevelt’s arch entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Was it the Motown connection that kept drawing me back to their booth? Or was it the tasty beer and enigmatic Neptune personalities? Let’s just say all of the above.
From journal Yellowstone Country: Beds and Breweries