We are Ben and Connie Boreson. Busted Knuckle Brewery Williston is a family-owned passion project we share with our children, Jake and Emma. Ben spent 30 years as an auto mechanic in Glasgow before retiring and turning his brew hobby into a business. He converted our shop into the first Busted Knuckle, complete with tables made from radiators and license plate serving trays.
Within weeks of opening, Busted Knuckle became a popular gathering place for the Glasgow community, as well as a draw for thirsty travelers from coast to coast. In June 2020, tripsavvy.com named Busted Knuckle one of the top 14 breweries in Montana.
When both of our children settled in Williston, we decided to take the leap and expand our operation to North Dakota. When we discovered the old county shop building, we knew we were home.
We knew the moment we saw the old county shop building on 11th Street that it was meant to be. The cement floors, high ceilings, and large windows make it an ideal spot for great beer. Connie likes to say that 80 years ago, someone built the building just for us, knowing it would be a perfect fit in 2020.
It's downtown location, size, ample parking, and space for an outdoor patio make it the perfect spot for our second brewery. The roll-up doors on the front and back of the building allow for easy access to the patio on warm summer days.
The back building holds the brewhouse, including fermenters, brite tank, mash tun, a large cooler, and a canning line. It’s near enough for easy delivery to the tap room, but far enough away that the brewers can work without worrying about guest safety. A large window showcases the brewhouse equipment.
It took just over a year to convert the old shop building into what is now Busted Knuckle Brewery Williston. It was a labor of love, a dream that we have witnessed come to life. And like so many dreams, we had a lot of support along the way. We are truly grateful to all who have been and will be a part of the Busted Knuckle journey.
A brewery isn’t quite a bar, and it certainly isn’t simply a restaurant with good beer. The science and art of beer making is a cooperative effort between the crafter and his customers. For those accustomed to sitting down and ordering drinks to your table, brewery culture can take some getting used to.
When you come to Busted Knuckle, you don’t sit down and wait for someone to take your order. Ordering is an interactive experience between you, the brewers, and your fellow patrons. Customers place their orders at the bar, and hopefully make a few friends in the process. Building relationships is our primary goal – relationships between the brewers, the staff, and you, our patrons.
Everything about the Busted Knuckle experience is designed to foster a sense of community. The goal is to encourage interaction. We want to see our guests get up from their table, catch up with old friends, and get to know someone new. As you move through the building and stand in line waiting for your locally crafted beer, you become a part of the Busted Knuckle family.
We think of the brewery as our own kitchen, where beer is flowing and laughter is ringing. There are no televisions and no gaming tables. The cupboard is stocked with games, and nothing warms our hearts more than when easy connections are made, like asking another table to join forces as a team in trivia.
As the very first brewery in Williston, we are excited to share our love of brewery culture with a new community. Ben loves receiving input from guests and enjoys the challenge of creating a customer’s next favorite beer. Our priorities are family, community, and beer, in that order. We know from experience that nothing brings people together like a fresh-brewed beer.
Hungry? No problem! We at Busted Knuckle Williston are proud to share space with Pit 105, locally-owned by Williston natives Caleb and Micki Hinricksen. The Hinricksens have a passion for authentic barbeque that is evident in every mouth-watering bite. The beer and food pass freely between Busted Knuckle and Pit 105. So join your friends in the brewery for a great beer, great conversation, and great food brought over from next door, or bring the family and enjoy a fresh brew in the restaurant. The kids will love our homemade root beer and cream soda!
Busted Knuckle is committed to community. Local non-profits are encouraged to give us a call, shoot us an email, or stop by to find out how we can support your cause.
The Busted Knuckle Brewery was voted one of the best breweries in Montana in June, 2020. Click the link below to read the 'TripSavvy' article written by Wendy Altschuler!
Great Falls Tribune Feature
By Kristen Inbody
Published 2:21 p.m. MT Jan. 28, 2016 | Updated 2:53 p.m. MT June 1, 2016
GLASGOW – After 30 years fixing cars, Ben Boreson decided to use his talents and his garage for something new. He remodeled it into Busted Knuckle Brewery. The shop-turned-brewery still has the large garage doors. The theme carries on with tables Boreson made from radiators. Flights come on license plates. The beers carry names such as Radiator Dip Pale Ale and Rusted Nut Amber Ale, the brewery’s most popular offering. “Especially guys do get into the theme, but women like it, too,” Boreson said.
Boreson, with wife, Connie, also have tied in Glasgow’s Scottish connection with historic photos and a Bonnie City Scottish Ale. “You gotta have a Scottish in Glasgow,” he said.
Boreson is soon to introduce a new IPA to his rotation. He’s pouring Blown Motor IPA now. It has a floral, citric flavor with less bitterness than a typical IPA. “It’s more about the flavor than the bitterness,” he said. “The IPAs don’t sell as well in this corner of the state. If a whole table orders IPA, they’re probably from the West Coast or Missoula.”
With the change of season, Fender Bender Blackberry Ale has given way to Pumpkin Spiced Amber Ale. He also had a popular seasonal jalapeno amber earlier. Next he’s working on a chocolate porter or stout and, for March, an Irish red ale.
Boreson said he was ready for a change from being a mechanic. “I like to fix things, but there’s enough here to keep me busy, and the car business has changed,” he said.
He started home brewing with a Mr. Beer kit and kept at it. People responded to his efforts, so after four or five years brewing, he decided to make a business of his hobby.
“All the time we’re trying to get people off Bud Light,” he said. “Northeastern Montana might be later to the game with micro-brews, so it’s been an education for people.”
His brewery has a seven-barrel system, and, with advice from the Havre brewers, he was well stocked before opening his business in June. He’s distributed kegs to bars around town himself, and just partnered with a distributor to take the product a bit farther afield.
The brewery also has a hand-cranked canner, so patrons can take home – or across the country as a souvenir – a quart-sized can of their favorite beer. It’s great for taking on the river or the Fort Peck Reservoir, he said. “They were really popular at Christmas,” Boreson said. “I know some went to California, some to the East Coast.”
The brewery has helped draw travelers downtown. Boreson said he’d barely been open before he’d had customers from both coasts. Boreson also makes a root beer for those too young or disinterested in beer. The brewery doesn’t serve food but has popcorn. Customers can bring in their own food or have pizza delivered.