In 1996, an idea was born to start a brewery in west-central Montana with a name that reflected the region’s rich agricultural tradition. Thus, Harvest Moon Brewing set up operations in Belt, a rural community located 20 miles southeast of Great Falls. Why Belt? This small town is centrally located with respect to Montana’s major metropolitan areas, and it offers the charm and potential that come only with small towns. More importantly, Belt’s water supply comes from the Madison aquifer, also the source for world-class springs in Great Falls and Lewistown. Because of this water’s purity, the municipal supply system in Belt is not chlorinated or treated as most other city water supply systems. Pumped directly from the aquifer, the water is available to use straight from the tap without treatment or filtering.
Harvest Moon’s first batches were available in late 1997. Soon after, the brewery developed a reputation for a well-balanced, full-bodied beer that only quality ingredients in perfect amounts could produce. The barley is grown and malted just a few miles from the brewery, while the malted wheat (for the Beltian White Ale) and hops come from the Northwest.
The brewery uses modern, state-of-the-art brewing equipment but is still a “hands-on” system, which allows brewery owners Stan and John to ensure high production quality. They oversee every step of the process, from malt handling to mash, from wort transfer to yeast pitching, from fermentation to conditioning, and from packaging to shipping. The consistency of production shows in the beer’s taste.