I confess: I'm actually a bit giddy after just getting off the phone with Keith Altemose
from Nano 108 Brewing Company
He lead our conversation by essentially saying that he's doing something that no other brewery is doing, calling himself "Colorado's first seasonal brewery."
I was skeptical immediately, but within 10 minutes of hearing him break it all down, I bought in. And I can't wait to drop in at 2402 Waynoka Road, off Powers Boulevard. The whole outfit sounds stupid awesome. Here's the overview:
Altemose, 42, comes from the corporate world, having helped open more than 30 places such as Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
and the Fox and Hound Bar & Grill
, working across most of America's major cities. When it comes to everything from staffing and licensing to front-house and brewhouse management, he says he's done it all.
More importantly, he's also been a home brewer for 20 years.
Courtesy Keith Altemose
Nano 108 presents a high-altitude bristlecone pine bar top, barrel stave bar chairs and growler light fixtures.
With the doors opened for the first time to the public, just today — even though he got occupancy back in September of 2010 and has been tinkering all the while under our noses — eight of his beers are on tap. Soon, two beers per week will begin being released (on Fridays) for a total of 16 house beers on at any one time, plus a house cream soda and root beer for the kids.
And that count of 18 house taps is where Nano immediately starts to distinguish itself from the pack. That's a bunch to stay on top of, and that's where that seasonality Altemose mentions starts to play in as well. He calls his outfit essentially a pico brewery (from 5 to 30 gallon batches — very small, like a home brewer) blended with a nano brewery (more like 1 to 3 barrels) and a small microbrewery (equipment capable of large-batch brewing).
Beers will not be named. They're only listed by style on an electronic beer board (think big TV screen) which also details info such as the ABV but also a description, suggested glassware and other educational features.
"Yeah, it's nifty if you came in for Pliny the Elder
, but you really came in for a double IPA," he says. "You came for a style, not a name."
Nano won't have a flagship line of beers and then rotating seasonals like conventional breweries. His whole operation will be the seasonals, constantly rotating. "I have zero mainline beers — I brew one time and they're gone," he says.
Well, that is unless a beer gets particularly rave reviews and earns a re-birth, but even then, there'd likely be a skew of some sort, such as a version he held back and aged on vanilla beans or in a run, tequila or bourbon barrel.
"We're operating under the premise that consumers will choose what amber, stout or lager they want simply by supply and demand," he says.
A barleywine that'll soon come on has been sitting in a Tawny Port barrel. It went in at 15-percent ABV and will likely come out around 18-percent. Keep in mind a session beer is in the 4-percent range. That said, he isn't going for shock value: His beers will range from 3-percent to those big boys and traverse all types of brewing styles.
Courtesy Keith Altemose
Altemose adds whole leaf organic Cascade hops to an IPA set to release in December.
Altemose says he's also committed to sourcing local ingredients first — not unlike Denver's Our Mutual Friend
— such as Western Slope fruits for his field beers as well as locally grown hops and malts when and where possible. Another beer on tap currently is a pale ale with 100-percent local ingredients save for the yeast.
"I'm telling a story through ingredients and seasons," he says. "My people are cicerones
... they're savvy, they understand ingredients — why my Belgian white isn't like Blue Moon. They can talk about and break down ingredients just like at a restaurant."
Nano 108's custom-built taproom is also unique says Altemose, featuring imported items from Japan, German, Italy and beyond and "the most electronic gadgetry behind Bristol's BrauKon
... my package is very high-tech."
Altemose jokes that fellow brewers in town with whom he is friends, such as Duane Lujan from Rocky Mountain Brewery
, have left from a sneak-peek visit to Nano 108 with a resolve to start spiffing up their own taprooms, like friendly, competitive one-upmanship.
A few nuts-and-bolts details: Pints will cost $4.50 (occasionally $5.50 or $6.50 for a high-ABV specialty brew) and hours will be on Wednesdays through Sundays currently with food trucks such as Piglatin
pizza parking outside.