Eat & Drink

Small Batch

Inside one of Colorado’s tiniest breweries.

September 2012

Centro Latin Kitchen and Refreshment Palace executive chef Ian Clark lives at the end of a cul-de-sac in a neighborhood in north Boulder. Attached to the front of his home is a nondescript 400-square-foot garage. What’s inside is far from typical: Clark uses this space to operate his commercially licensed nanobrewery, BRU Handbuilt Ales. (Breweries that produce fewer than three barrels per batch are considered nanobreweries.)

It all started in 2003, when Clark began home brewing. He tried a few kits, but the simplicity of the recipes bored him. As a skilled chef, Clark was accustomed to tinkering with fine ingredients, not following prepackaged instructions for beginners. After a few batches, he switched to all-grain brewing, a more complex method; upgraded his equipment; and started concocting his own recipes—a brown ale with dates and caramelized sugar, and an IPA with lemon zest and juniper. 

Then, he decided to sell the beer at Centro. (BRU is also now available at the West End Tavern just down the street.) To do so legally, however, Clark needed a brewer’s license. After a back-and-forth with the federal government and some tinkering in his garage, his license was approved and BRU officially launched in April. bruboulder.com