Ten Mile Creek Brewery
Ten Mile Creek Brewery: A new version of an old story
by Heidi O’Brien
It’s a Helena, Montana story that is over 150 years old. It’s about hope, faith and hard work. It’s about friendship and the future.
Three friends in their early twenties are trying something they have never done before. They are digging down into the rocky earth of Last Chance Gulch.
Boulders obstruct progress. Lighting is poor. But, all along they remain positive.
It is late in the day, but a beam of light reveals a sparkle in the earth. This is it they believe, this is the gold that made Helena. The three friends go to sleep dreaming of what a future with gold will bring them…
It’s not gold.
But, for the friends it was not a setback. The future is filled with great things.
Jordan Keltz, Ethan Kohoutek and Riley Tubbs are young men full of enthusiasm and excited to see downtown Helena become alive. The trio is Ten Mile Creek Brewery. The guys met in college and a passion for craft beer has now bonded them for life.
When Jordan, Ethan and Riley started Ten Mile Creek Brewery, they knew that while they may have not had a huge amount of cash, they had time that they could invest into renovating the building for the brewery. For this reason, they learned to do things they never thought possible. They dug a series five-foot deep holes into the earth beneath the New York Block’s foundation so that the support beams could be inserted to hold the six heavy barrels that would brew the Ten Mile Creek beer. It was digging the last of those pillars that they thought they had hit gold. The next day, neighboring business Wayne Miller Coins, let them know their gold was of the fool’s variety.
These gentlemen are most certainly NOT fools. The have clearly lined out their roles in the business. Jordan is the brewer. Ethan and Riley take the lead up front. They work behind the bar, they clean out the kegs. It’s obvious they are not afraid of hard work and long hours. They are proud to have built the walls and helped harvest the trees that are the tables. The wood floor of the brewery was sanded and finished through Jordan’s, Ethan’s and Riley’s efforts with family and friends pitching in where they could.
Their investment in and love of the Helena community is highlighted by little details like the long community table: the legs are made of an Archie Bray kiln smokestack and the joist is a piece of the Mullan Bridge. The brewery occupies what was once Fligelman’s Department Store. If you pay attention you’ll see that their beer tracking cards are a little different. They are modeled after Fligelman’s invitations to their opening day celebration.
Jordan, Ethan and Riley have said that over the next year they will be tweaking beer recipes as they transition from small batches to massive batches. They have found both the Blackfoot River Brewing Co and Lewis & Clark Brewery willing to offer tips and tricks of the trade. Ethan said his favorite beer from Ten Mile is changing all the time with his current favorite being the You Got My Goat Oatmeal Stout. I enjoyed their Tree Knocker IPA while I met with Ethan. I have a few friends who love the Reginald’s Red Ale. You’ll have to stop by and give them all a try so you can pick your favorite.
The downtown vibe is buzzing and its businesses like Ten Mile Creek Brewery that are helping Helena re-find the glory days of gold.