Brewery Tanks
May 7, 2023
Daily Inter Lake

New Establishment Focuses on Historical Brews

By Adrian Knowler

Although the brewery only opened this February, some of the on-tap offerings at Patriotic American Brewery might taste more like a beer drank by some of America's founding fathers.

“If George Washington ordered our porter he’d recognize it,” said owner and brewer Matt Hegstad. “That’s my goal.”

Nicknamed “Tradition,” the porter is among the five flagship and three seasonal beers brewed and served at the Evergreen establishment.

Other brews include Independence, the popular hazy New England IPA, Honor, a Kentucky common made with corn, Patriot, and D.T.O.M. (Don’t tread on me).

The lager-like Kentucky common originates from the 1850s in Louisville, and died off in popularity during Prohibition, according to Hegstad.

Hegstad, along with his wife Josie, opened the brewery this year after Matt got an associates degree in brewing science and brewery operations from Flathead Valley Community College.

The Hegsteds worked for years in the military and law enforcement before going into the beer business.

Both Matt and Josie’s families have long traditions of military service, with eight people in Matt’s family and around a dozen in Josie’s.

Living in Flathead since 2018, they moved here from North Dakota after Matt gained 13 years of law enforcement experience including as military police and sheriff’s deputy in two North Dakota counties. Josie had worked as a prison guard and emergency dispatcher.

Matt has had family in the valley for over 30 years.

“We would come to the Flathead every year for ‘beer-cations’” said Matt. He enjoyed visiting breweries and seeing what was new in the craft beer industry. He said there wasn’t much of a craft brewing scene at the time in North Dakota.

Josie said they’d drive back with a car full of growlers.

Matt began home brewing in 2015, and got great response from friends and family about his beers. It was then they thought they might find commercial success.

“Everybody would want a bunch,” said Josie. “We were giving beer to everyone.”

Matt said his brewing education was more rigorous than one might expect, and was heavy in chemistry, biology and math.

“I was surprised with the amount of homework he had, he’d be staying up until midnight,” Josie said.

Matt said his career in military and law enforcement taught him attention to detail, leadership and accounting experience, all of which have served him in his new business endeavor.

In addition to serving historically accurate American beers, the bar area itself is decorated with American memorabilia and a wall dedicated to honoring active and retired service members as well as another wall with photos of military and law enforcement killed in action.

For an upcoming beer, Matt is hoping to make an American stock ale, similar to beers brewed by founding fathers Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.

He described it as porter-like, with spruce tip and molasses flavors.

For his inspiration from historical American brews, Matt does research online and in books such as “Beer in America: The Early Years.”

The brewery is currently partnering with food trucks that serve bratwursts and hot dogs in the parking lot, and Matt said they are hoping to collaborate with a taco truck this summer.

The brewery is located at 2177 U.S. 2. For more information visit or call (406) 300-1990.