Black Leg Brewery pays tribute to ranch roots

Black Leg Brewery

Black Leg Brewery's 14 microbrews are made with many local ingredients, Jay Doan says, straight from the Doan family ranch in rural McKenzie.

Nestled on the prairie 25 miles southeast of Bismarck, the historic Black Leg Ranch’s gem is the Copper Jewell Barn, where Black Leg Brewery crafts microbrews.

Home to six generations of the Doan family, Black Leg Ranch is a working ranch, raising both cattle and bison, since 1882 near McKenzie.

“We are a cattle ranch first and foremost, but we also have over 700 head of bison on our ranch,” Jay Doan says.

As of 2018, the back of the barn is home to Black Leg Brewery, with 14 microbrews made with many local ingredients.

The microbrewery serves its flagship Copper ALE, brewed with locally grown and malted barley, and the ranch’s deep well water for added uniqueness. Its 1882 Lager is a nod to the ranch’s history, while its Two Track Wheat Ale is made from wheat harvested by local North Dakota farmers.

Its newest offering is Bison Beer, described as a “thundering light brown Vienna lager with sweet subtle notes of caramelized malt and a lightning fresh clean finish.”

“We always wanted to tie agriculture into our product, especially the beer, and the Bison Beer has been going extremely well,” Doan says.

The fully automated brew house welcomes tours, where visitors can pull up a stool to the saloon for a tasting.

The special-event venue’s showpiece is the Copper Jewell Barn, a 13,000-square-foot event space that was once a feed barn. Named after second-generation Jewell Doan Sr., who built the original barn, and with its added gleaming copper exterior, this showstopper building is now the focal point of the ranch.

Black Leg Ranch meets event needs with the Copper Jewell Barn, three onsite lodges and the Black Leg Brewery.

In the spring of 2023, the venues will be open to the public on a select basis, with live music and a food truck atmosphere bringing a taste of culture to rural America.

“We will have gate-to-plate and fresh, local ingredients being served for a culinary experience,” Doan says.

Luann Dart is a freelance writer and editor who lives in the Elgin area.

701-557-3818  |


Interested in more North Dakota breweries?

Read about Black Paws Brewing Co. here!


Read about Drekker Brewing Company here!