First Look | Cellar West Artisan Ales Re-Opens Today in Lafayette
After over two years in North Boulder, Cellar West Artisan Ales is moving to a new home in nearby Lafayette, CO.
From the start, Zachary Nichols, the owner/brewer at Cellar West, knew that the little space he was renting off Lee Hill Road was going to be a stepping stone. “I started with a very small space to keep our overhead low and allow us to see how the world would respond to our beers”, says Nichols.
Nichols, for his relatively short time on this earth, has a storied history in the craft brewing industry. A Wisconsin native, he cut his teeth in the craft beer world working at a beer shop, as assistant brewer at small brewpub outside of Madison, and as a production brewer at Gray Brewing Co. before moving to Colorado.
Along with Mike Memsic and Chris Coyne, Nichols founded Sanitas Brewing in East Boulder in 2013. Memsic and Coyne were the main brewers, however, and Nichols, who was handling marketing and graphic design there, felt the call of brewing tugging at him again. So at the end of 2015, Nichols left Sanitas to pursue a career in brewing once more.
Nichols and his wife considered returning to Wisconsin to launch their new project, but it was their love for Colorado that kept them here. About a year and a half after his departure from Sanitas, Nichols’ plans came together in the form of Cellar West.
Cellar West was established with a specialization in Farmhouse Ales. “I really love the nuanced, intricate character in Saisons and Farmhouse Ales. They’re dry and can be enjoyed on their own, but in my opinion, they’re at their best with a homemade meal – cheeses, meats, et cetera.” Nichols’ upbringing in rural Wisconsin was an influence in this choice; many family-run breweries in Wallonia, Belgium (where Saisons and Farmhouse Ales were first brewed) are located on the family property, similar to dairy farms.
Eventually, it was time to begin searching for a larger home for Cellar West.
Nichols hunted for a new location for his brewery for nearly a year, looking at well over fifty properties in Boulder. A few nearly made the cut, but it took looking a bit farther afield to find the right space. Properties in Lyons were considered as well, but Lafayette is where he hit paydirt.
This past spring, Zachary found Cellar West’s new home. Previously used as a storage space by the Denver Post, the newspaper no longer needed the entire building and released the east half of the space. Nichols, a Lafayette resident himself, signed the lease on the new space in June and began the long process of planning the buildout, hiring contractors, and permitting.
The new location will be completed in two phases, starting with the tasting room. Cellar West is in the ideal position of having plenty of product to serve coming out of the gate, considering this is merely a change of location. The Lafayette tasting room officially opens today at 3pm and will be open until 10pm.
Part two of the buildout involves finishing off their new brewhouse in the rear of the building. Having their own brewhouse on site will make their operations far more efficient as they were previously contract brewing at various nearby breweries. The former location simply wasn’t large enough to fit a proper brewhouse, so since Cellar West’s opening, they’ve been brewing at other locations and transporting the wort back to their North Boulder location. The new location will allow them to bring all operations in-house.
The tasting room brings a lot of the Midwest look-and-feel from the previous location. They’ve vastly increased their available seating, and doubled their on-tap offerings from four to eight, including the use of a lager-specific faucet sourced from the Czech Republic. And as always, 500ml bottles of other beers will be available for on-site consumption.
Cellar West’s new tasting room is at 778 W Baseline Road in Lafayette, Colorado, and will celebrate an official grand opening tomorrow.