Boulder's two garage-based fully licensed craft breweries are leaving the nest.
This week marked the opening of BRU Handbuilt Ales & Eats and also a major step forward for Crystal Springs Brewing Co.'s plans to establish a brewery and taproom in Louisville.
Ian Clark, a former chef at Jax and Centro in downtown Boulder, has moved his 1-year-old BRU nanobrewery from his north Boulder home to larger quarters at 5290 Arapahoe Ave., where he paired the hand-crafted brewing operation with hand-crafted "urban American" fare.
Tom Horst -- who served as Clark's inspiration by opening Crystal Springs on May 13, 2010, in his Sunshine Canyon home's detached garage -- is days away from closing on the purchase of a nearly 3,000-square-foot industrial condo at 657 S. Taylor Ave. in Louisville.
"We have this big dream to open by July 13," said Horst, a Boulder High music teacher who is fond of the number 13. "That's going to involve an awful lot of luck. ...
"It's possible. I don't know if it's probable, but it's possible."
Horst launched Crystal Springs Brewing in 2010 with a 20-gallon system and established the brewery under the city of Boulder's home occupations statute, which allows for home-based businesses.
Using a repository of 40-plus recipes from 22 years of home brewing, Horst bottled and kegged his small-batch brews and gained a loyal following among local restaurants and stores. In short time, he upped the brewhouse to a two-barrel system and started on a search for a larger facility.
After two years of searching and sizing up 18 different facilities, Crystal Springs appears to have found its second home.
Horst this week secured the loan for the purchase of the building in the Colorado Technology Center. If the transaction closes as expected in the coming days, Horst plans to start the build-out of the space.
Horst's current two-barrel system will serve as the temporary beer engine for the South Taylor Avenue site until a 15-barrel system is installed. The latter would quadruple Crystal Springs' production.
"It all seems to be falling into place," Horst said, "but it's a lot of work."
Clark shared those sentiments Tuesday.
Taking a short breather from his roles as executive chef and brewmaster at the newly opened BRU, Clark looked around the brewpub he and his coworkers spent the past three months building.
"We hand-built everything in this space," he said, noting elements such as the wood tables, the concrete bar, the oven and metal fixtures.
The idea of "hand-built" is BRU's foundation, Clark added.
The beers are crafted from scratch, as is the fare, which includes in-house baked breads and in-house cured meats; ingredients from local farms; and muffins, biscuits and granola made from spent grain from brewing. The "chef-inspired" beers are unfiltered, keg-conditioned and feature ingredients such as dates, lemon zest, tangerines and black pepper.
"Beer is food; food is beer -- we build on that," Clark said.
The two-barrel system that pumped out beers in Clark's garage now sits in the east Boulder restaurant. BRU has the capacity to produce 400 to 500 barrels -- 12,400 to 15,500 gallons of beer -- annually, and Clark plans to continue retail sales of his ales in 22-ounce bombers.
As for the garages that served as the home-brewing home bases, Horst plans to continue to use his in a pilot capacity for experimental brews. Clark's, on the other hand, will lead a new life as a standard two-car garage.
Contact Camera Business Writer Alicia Wallace at 303-473-1332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.