Who We Are


Sean Faris, Managing Partner/General Manager

In 1994, Sean moved to Bozeman from San Diego to lose himself in fly fishing, fly tying, backpacking and... school. But the restaurant business entered the picture as well, and over the next 17 years, Sean became fully engaged in that picture, serving and managing in various Mackenzie River locations – including a righteous stint as GM of the location-challenged Mackenzie River Roadhouse

Sean joined the Ale Works, management team in 2006 and now proudly commands, and leads with humor and purpose, a cohesive management team of ten, and a total staff of up to 140. 

"I’m truly passionate about the heart of our business - the service experience - where our guests' deepest satisfaction comes from the energy we provide. We perform at our best in good company, and at Ale Works we share more of ourselves than just our great food and beer.”

“I am a lucky man, “ Sean continues.  “I have a wonderful wife, two beautiful children and a career that allows me to work side by side with a passionate group of people, for a company that believes in and executes a superior experience.  I look forward each day to bringing out the best in our staff, developing their professional growth through constant, gentle pressure.  It is such an honor to be a leader of this team.” 

Away from work, Sean’s 5 year old son, Finn, and two year old daughter Marlee keep him conjuring up adventures, though whether the benefits accrue more to the children or the father is an open question. 

Aaron Brittingham, Executive Chef

Born and raised in New England, Aaron built his knife skills as an entry-level prep cook at Connecticut's Aqua Turf Club.

In 2007, three years post-graduate from Johnson & Wales Culinary School in Providence, RI, Aaron made “one of the best decisions of my life!” by applying to cook in Yellowstone National Park, which rekindled his love of the outdoors and finding his true passion for cooking. “I learned something every day from great chefs who really cared. I started reading about food again, and thinking about recipes and flavor combinations when I went to sleep, and I was spending my off time exploring one of the most beautiful places in our country!”

Working in various restaurant kitchens across the West in the Yellowstone off-season, Aaron finally landed in Bozeman with girlfriend Melissa in 2014, seeking stability from the seasonal cooking lifestyle. On the heels of some great Ale Works dining experiences, he applied for AM prep chef and found a restaurant “full of passionate people, with a team of encouraging managers.” In a few months, he was promoted to Lead Cook, and then AM Sous Chef/Manager – a position newly created and perfectly matched to his skillset. Aaron handled the immense responsibility of ordering all of the food for the restaurant, managing the prep crew and ensuring proper execution of recipes. In April of 2016 after showing incredible leadership ability Aaron was promoted to Executive Sous Chef where he continued to manage the prep crew and also jumped into managing the line, expediting and being the right hand of the Executive Chef.

Most recently, in October of 2017, after years of hard work and perseverence, Aaron was asked to step into the role of Executive Chef. Aaron is a fantastic chef but he also possesses leadership skills and the ability to execute at a very high level under a fair amount of pressure while maintaining a professional yet inspiring environment.

“I was incredibly honored to be given the opportunity to run the kitchen of such an incredible Bozeman institution. I gladly accepted the position! I have a great team that I can count on, both in the front and the back of the house and am very excited to see what the future holds."

Brad Harris, Bar Manager

Northern born (Rochester, NY) and Southern-bred (Roanoke, VA), Brad followed his brother out West to ski bum in the ‘90's in Jackson Hole. Brief stints in the ski industry, catering, and bartending, led to15 years as a mason, and founding a masonry company with his brother in Bozeman.

When the construction industry slowed, it was time for a career change. Brad set his sights on Ale Works, which had long been his ‘go-to’ restaurant. “Prior to being hired on as a bartender, I was one of many locals who loved this place for its great beer selection and top quality food and service.” In 2015, after two and a half years behind the bar, Brad’s talent, positive energy and leadership skills were rewarded with a promotion to Bar Manager.

Inspiring a large staff and managing the busiest bar in Bozeman are just some of the challenges Brad has taken on with his trademark enthusiasm. “I look forward to serving up creative cocktails, seeking out great approachable wines, and offering the best beers the region has to offer.”

Outside of work, Brad can be found with his beautiful wife, Amy, skiing, fishing, biking, rafting, enjoying the beauty of Southwest Montana with their two dogs, Dixie and Ruby. “This truly is the last best place.”

Anna Yardley, Assistant General Manager

Growing up in a small town in northern Michigan, Anna started working in restaurants at the age of 15 and continued through earning her degree in Public Relations in 2007 from Central Michigan University. A few years of “corporate America” and weekend bar tending and Anna was ready for a change of scenery. The mountains were calling.

With her fiancé, Mitchell, Anna took a road trip to Big Sky, MT, and took a job managing Buck’s T-4 Restaurant & Lodge. Having worked in restaurants for years, Anna realized that hospitality was her true passion. “I have always thrived in the restaurant environment. I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to blend my management skills with my love of food and good company.”

In 2013, Mitchell and Anna moved from Big Sky to Bozeman, falling in love with all that Bozeman has to offer, and in October 2015, came on board as a front-of-the-house manager at Montana Ale Works. In Winter of 2017, after proving herself an incredibly valuable member of the management team, she was promoted to Assistant General Manager.

Rebecca Kurnick, Assistant Manager/Sustainability Coordinator

Born in the tiny town of Lovell, Maine, Becca arrived in Montana with a Nordic Skiing State Championship. After a brief stint on the MSU Ski Team she dove into school, work and a developing a love for rafting and kayaking.

Having started her restaurant career at the age of 12 (assisting her Chef Dad at a Maine B&B), Becca came to work in the MAW kitchen in 2007, and would find herself training future managers before the age of 20! She left for a while to focus on school and find work in farming and ranching before graduating from MSU with a B.S in Soil Science. She applied her food production and restaurant knowledge selling produce to Ale Works as a Quality Foods Distributing rep before returning to the high paced and fun atmosphere of restaurant life, this time with a career-minded approach, snagging the role of MAW’s first-ever Sustainability Coordinator.

When not helping with day to day operations, Becca works with our staff, our kitchen, local ranches, farms, and purveyors to develop and expand MAW’s role in ecologically sound food production across the state. Currently, Becca is working towards her Master’s of Science in Agriculture Education – “I enthusiastically believe that if we save the soil we can save the  world!”– and sits on the board of local non-profit, Western Sustainability Exchange.

Becca lives in Bozeman with her fiancé Ryan and their dog June.

Justin Banis Sous Chef

Justin was born and raised in Bozeman, Montana with a bug for travel. Before the age of 20, he’d visited Austria, the Philippines, Switzerland, England and spent a year in Germany with a host family, immersing himself in that culture after graduating from Bozeman High. “I love travelling. Every place has had an impact, but seeing people in a third world country who have very little food, money or clothing, but are smiling and happy with what they do have, that taught me a lot.”

Justin hung around the family kitchen growing up, recalling the influences in particular of his Mom’s fresh-baked from scratch bread, and his father’s specialty – Bauernfrüstuck (German farmer’s breakfast) – which his Dad whipped up every Christmas.

Justin recalls the Ale Works opening at age 15. “My family and I would come in pretty regularly. I always had the Smokestack Burger with pepper-parmesan fries.” In 2004, as a newly-minted Ale Works line cook, Justin started making those famous fries himself. “I just immediately felt at home,” he says. He made lead kitchen supervisor in 2012.

But the travel bug returned and Justin took off again, this time on his motorcycle, spending time in the culinary mecca of Portland, Oregon where one memorable dish was “a simple but elegant calamari” at a Vietnamese place. Re-inspired, Justin returned to the fold in 2015 where he thrived in the fast-paced, team-oriented work environment of the Ale Works kitchen. In spring of 2017, he was promoted to Sous Chef. 

A Bozemanite through and through, Justin loves to ski, hike, ride his BMW motorcycle, and hang with his Rottweiler-German Shepherd mix, Sophie. 

Dawn Brown, Human Resource/Office Manager

In 1998, Dawn moved from Dubois, Pennsylvania to Bozeman to attend college and work on her ski goggle tan. While pursuing a psychology degree and collaborating with college leadership organizations at MSU, Dawn

waited tables at the locally renowned MacKenzie River Pizza Company, working her way into a management position after a stint as a company lead server and trainer.

Dawn joined the Ale Works management team in 2007 as a front of house manager. In 2013, having become a working mother, she traded night shifts for day shifts, becoming Ale Works’ first-ever HR/Office Manager, a role that includes coordinating special events and community partnerships. With her extensive guest service experience, and years of immersion in MacKenzie River and Ale Works culture, Dawn is uniquely qualified to spread the love.

“It has been so rewarding to help local non-profits reach their fundraising goals while seeing our team execute insanely amazing events with an elevated sense of passion and attention to detail.”

Outside of Ale Works, Dawn can be found on her bike, in her ski boots, or chasing squirrels and mythical creatures in the mountains with her husband Dave, and her beautiful daughters, Ingrid and Sage, to whom she is committed to raising as strong, independent, empathetic, and happy girls.

As the Ale Works adventure continues, Dawn looks forward to providing support, education, training and development for our growing salaried management team.


Roth Jordan, Managing Partner/Corporate Chef

In Roth’s Grandma's rural Alabama kitchen, chicken stock was always on the stove, “and everybody cleaned their plates,” Roth recalls, but it was only by heading West and into the kitchen of Buck’s T-4 Ranch in Big Sky, that Roth met a talented pastry chef, his future wife Kathryn, who encouraged him to take his culinary aspirations seriously.

Reluctantly leaving Montana in search of total immersion, Roth attended the New England Culinary Institute, learned old-school French cuisine in Vermont, and cooked in the US Virgin Islands under chef and mentor Ted Robinson, who “wasn't the easiest guy to work for, but taught me what it is to be passionate about food”. After a three-year stint at the renowned Stone Terrace on St John's as Executive Chef, Roth and Kat were primed to return to Big Sky Country.

In October 2005, Roth was named Executive Chef of Montana Ale Works, and dove into upgrading the menu and standards of the kitchen. “It was a daunting task. We had to change the mechanics, the culture, and create the passion,” he recalls. “We turned it into an environment for professionals and when it comes to passion, pride, talent and desire, I'd put my guys, a staff of up 40 cooks, up against any kitchen, anywhere.”

The culinary reinvention of Ale Works is Roth’s proudest achievement “aside from the birth of my daughter Karly and baby Tessa, of course.” His leadership and dedication led to an offer of partnership in 2008, and a promotion to Corporate Chef / Managing Partner in 2014. Roth currently mentors and oversees his talented young Executive Chef, Anthony Calkins, and their kitchen crew as they brine and smoke their own meats, sous-vide locally-raised roasts and legs of lamb, and make virtually everything from scratch.

Of the range of flavors and price points for which his kitchen is renowned, Roth beams “We might do pulled pork tamales, duck confit cassoulet, paella, and a shepherd's pie all in the same night as specials, on top of our 50-item menu. We’ll feed 1,500 customers in a single service, ridiculous by anybody's standards, with everybody leaving happy. It’s a direct result of taking pride in what we do and always striving to do it better.”

Mark Taché & Christin Cooper-Taché, Partners

Montana Ale Works was founded by Mark and Christin Taché, with Pete Hendrickson and Steve Shuel, seven years after the couple founded MacKenzie River Pizza Co., a then-handcrafted wood-fired pizza emporium exploding Bozeman’s downtown restaurant scene with its artisan pies, hand-hewn ambiance, and passionate service culture.

The success of MacKenzie – combined with the community's need for a casual-upscale, smoke-free restaurant, bar and gathering place – led to the birth of Montana Ale Works in 2000, spearheading the revitalization of Bozeman's historic East End, and raising the bar yet again for casual dining in the Gallatin Valley.

Mark and Christin’s role has always been to steer conceptual design and growth, guide employee culture, training and management decisions, handle marketing and promotions, and collaborate on menu design and development. Their commitment is to a business philosophy based on teamwork, empowerment and open, honest communication, gleaned from their lifetime in sports.

Both are former world-class ski racers. Christin is an Olympic silver medalist (1984 Giant Slalom, Sarajevo), triple 1982 World Championship medalist, and thirty-year expert broadcast analyst of Olympic, World Championship and World Cup ski racing. Mark raced on the U.S. Ski Team for eight years internationally - on the World Cup and in two World Championships - before turning Pro to race head-to-head for seven years in the heydey of the US Pro Tour.

“Restaurants weren’t part of any grand scheme,” says Mark, of a resumé that includes four unique restaurant concepts, including one in California. “We definitely wanted to see if what we'd learned at the highest level of skiing had any practical application in the real world. We had learned the value of systems, team-building, setting high goals and standards. And from our international travel, we appreciated the solace and fellowship of great food and service.”

“It’s a work in progress,” adds Christin, “and we’ve had to learn so much. But we’re always striving to stay ahead of the curve. It’s an ethic we got from skiing. We listen to people who know more than us, which is pretty much everyone we surround ourselves with,” she laughs. Adds Mark, “Developing, inspiring and guiding people in their work is what we’re all about. It’s an incredibly rewarding adventure.”

Peter "Pedro" Hendrickson, Partner

At age 30, Pedro was lured to the then-granola / ski bum / cow town of Bozeman, Montana, to escape the grind of restaurant work in his home town of Indianapolis. Following a brief stint on a cattle ranch, he ended up diving back into the fray: managing, refining, opening and expanding MacKenzie River Pizza Company restaurants statewide, first as GM of the flagship store in Bozeman, then as Director of Operations for MacKenzie Northwest.

In the late ‘90’s, spying the abandoned brick freight house on the sleepy east end of Main, Pedro announced “it’d be a crime” if it were anything but a restaurant. The team began a year and a half of conceptualizing, financing, hammering out a business plan, and tackling extensive renovations. In March of 2000, Bozeman’s community gathering place was born.

“I’ve spent my entire working life prepping, cooking, serving, managing, and creating restaurants, always with an inspired, infectious enthusiasm and passion for outstanding service, atmosphere, food, and drink,” says Hendrickson. The Ale Works, thanks to its size and the sheer number of employees required to run it, was a challenge of another order. “Bringing in Roth in 2008 gave us additional layers of culinary and operational brilliance,” he says, gratefully. “The results have been as amazing as they have been rewarding.”

Having gradually, over time, stepped back from daily on-site operations — remember that pledge to escape the “grind” by moving to Montana? — Pedro remains an integral part of the team. His ability to spread enthusiasm is unmatched, and he’s spreading it further now, in pursuit of other long-dormant passions: Helping friends with their annual cattle drives, recycling vintage cars, and setting records on the Bonneville Salt Flats with his iconic Montana Dodge Boys team, in their hand-built 1928 Dodge roadster. “I carry that same inspiration, and enthusiasm into everything I do, and hope to do it for a long time.”