Sean Faris, 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 3 ½ year old son, Finn, keeps him conjuring adventures, though whether the benefits accrue more to the son or the father is an open question. “My boy helps me justify my publically-known obsession for throwing flies at fish, tying flies for fish, or camping somewhere near water containing those fish. I'm squeezing these moments for all I can. It is my personal duty to teach my son to love his mother, protect his sister and get up early enough in the morning to go on adventures with me! My wife, Tara, and daughter, Marlee, are currently unavailable for comment."
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 management.
Dawn joined the Ale Works management team in 2007. 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.
Dan Good, Assistant General Manager/Service Manager
Dan was raised in Bozeman, and was consequently thoroughly corrupted by all Southwest Montana has to offer. His love of adventure, the outdoors, travel, people, music, art, and sharing food, beverages and time with family and friends all deeply permeate his life.
Already blessed to share life experiences with wife Erin, little girl Hadley, and the most recent addition to the family, “my little dude Brayden,” Dan feels “honored to work for the greatest business in town, with the best customers, best environment, best food and beer, and by far the best staff. To have a job loving what you do, in a place you appreciate deep in your soul, working for a company that cares so much for its customers, staff, and community… one couldn't ask for much more.”
Anthony Calkins, Executive Chef
Anthony grew up in the small town of Baraboo, Wisconsin, with a mother who was always cooking from scratch. That, and restaurant work in high school — including a stint of “good ol’ Wisconsin-style comfort food breakfasts” — unearthed a passion for cooking that Anthony decided to take seriously.
Attending culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in the Twin Cities, he sent a bold email to Montana Ale Works seeking an internship. Then Executive Chef, and now managing partner, Roth Jordan, took a chance on the ambitious kid. Working through every position, Anthony showed the dedication and leadership potential that Roth was looking for, and it wasn’t long before Anthony was made Sous Chef, and just a few years later, Executive Sous.
In 2014, at just 26 years of age (having just learned he’d soon be a first-time Dad with fiancé Erin Smith) Anthony was offered the job of Executive Chef in September. In April, Remy James Calkins was born, and Anthony, on minimal sleep, dove into the challenge of preparing the high-volume Ale Works kitchen for the crazy-busy summer season. He shrugs it all off. “Food is my passion and when I'm not at work, I’m at home playing around with food and family. And this kitchen is like a second family. We’ve created an atmosphere for teaching and for learning.”
That atmosphere extends to the Bozeman High School ProStart cooking team, which Anthony mentors. ProStart empowers students to achieve successful careers in the restaurant industry and Anthony led his team to the 2014 Regional finals in Anaheim, CA. “I love being a part of Montana Ale Works, and the Bozeman community.”
Mike Welsh, Sous Chef/Kitchen Manager
A veteran of restaurant kitchens since he was 12 years old, Mike started in his family’s two restaurants in Wibaux, Montana before moving to Bozeman in 2009. “I was chasing my girlfriend, pure and simple,” Mike laughs, but he’d honestly tired of the “old school” food in Eastern Montana, and wanted more. “I love the culinary quality and diversity of Ale Works, especially working with local vendors and product.”
“It's amazing that we can source all our burger locally at our volume. The dedication and forward-thinking represents what this organization is all about.” Mike says it starts with upper management and goes all the way to dishers and food runners. “Working here is a full-court press, mentally and physically, every position, day in and day out. It takes a phenomenal work ethic and dedication, and only a certain type of person is cut out for it. It’s what allows the Ale Works kitchen to do great things.”
Kelby Barber, Floor Manager
Kelby moved to Bozeman with his family in 1988, driving through the Yellowstone wildfire to get here. He's been here ever since. With Ale Works since 2006, Kelby was promoted to support staff manager in 2014.
“Working at the best and busiest restaurant in the state is one of the best parts of my job. The most important thing I’ve learned is to trust my fellow managers, who are also helping me develop my own management style.” Kelby looks to continually improve himself by being more assertive, and leading by example in order “to pass on my dedication to great service by supporting and guiding our staff to new levels”.
Kelby's biggest influences are his Mom, his grandmother, and his fiancé, Elesia. “Each of these women have made me a better person inside and out, helping me become the kind of manager I want to be.” Kelby loves golfing, skiing, traveling, and spending time with friends, family, and his “awesome” dogs, Sellasie and Bailey.
Hunter Durgan, Sous Chef/Kitchen Manager
Applying to be an Ale Works prep cook changed the course of Hunter’s professional career, away from law school and towards his passion for “food, wine, and the beautiful chaos of the professional kitchen.”
Graduating from MSU in 2009, Hunter returned to his hometown of Whitefish, Montana to hone his craft under Chef Andy Blanton of the renowned Café Kandahar. “The amount of precision that went into every plate made cooking for 130 guests incredibly challenging”. As an Ale Works Sous Chef/Manager since 2014, the volume has changed, but his approach hasn’t. “Maintaining exceptional food quality while leading my staff to 'high fives' afterwards, is an awesome feeling.”
Using local products in creative, flavorful ways – whether for Community Partnership events or nightly service – is a source of inspiration. “I'm thrilled to be a part of Ale Works and the Bozeman community. I’m excited to see what the future holds for us as a restaurant”. Brought up by two active, athletic parents – a ski racing mother and professional soccer-playing father – Hunter is a lifelong skier, soccer player, and river enthusiast who loves exploring the bounty of the Gallatin Valley.
Aaron Brittingham, Prep Sous Chef/Kitchen Manager
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.
“I was incredibly honored, since this was a new position. What a great feeling to be noticed and appreciated by the company’s owners and management. I look forward to continuing to learn, teach, and grow with some great people at Ale Works.”
Anna Yardley, 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 boyfriend, 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. “I look forward to growing as a leader. Ale Works has an amazing reputation, community presence, and positive vibe. I want in on that.” Anna enjoys traveling, live music, the outdoors, and spending time with Mitchell, friends and family.
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.”
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, Founding 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, Founding 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.”