Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New brewpub is a first for Ketchum

Enlivening downtown, expanding beer offerings part of the plan

Express Staff Writer

After a soft opening Friday night during which 50 gallons of beer were served, Sawtooth Brewery in Ketchum still was filling pints Saturday afternoon. Trying the beer were, in front from left, Terry Potts, Phoebe Pilaro, Chris Pilaro, Mike Herlinger and Colleen Mauro. Behind the bar are, at left, Paul Holle, head brewer, and Kevin Jones, business manager. Photo by Willy Cook

Ketchum's newest place to quaff a beer opened to a packed house Friday night, as a soft opening at Sawtooth Brewery marked the realization of an idea more than a year in the making: a local brewpub that makes its beer on site.

"The beer's good," said Erik Lisk, of Ketchum, as he finished off a creme ale. "It's pretty unique, as far as I know."

Lisk said he heard about the opening that day via word of mouth and decided to give it a try.

"The turnout is really good," he said.

The business served nearly 300 people—and 50 gallons of beer—over the course of the evening.

The pair behind the taproom, Kevin Jones, business manager, and Paul Holle, head brewer, said that even though there are good beer options in the valley, they hope to provide another reason for people to come downtown, boosting activity for all businesses.

"We want people to come in after skiing, a bike ride or a hike and have a beer or two before going to dinner at some of the fine downtown establishments," Jones said in an email. "We're adding another local flavor and take on beer."

The taproom will have guest taps, including a nitro tap and a cask-conditioned beer as well.

"Most beer is moved through the tap lines using CO2 gas," Jones said. "Nitro tap uses nitrogen gas instead, which results in smaller 'bubbles,' which produces a thicker, creamier head and taste."

Cask-conditioned beer means the cask, or keg, is stored under the bar to keep it cooler, using a pump on the bar instead of forcing gas through the tap line.

Jones said they plan valleywide distribution in the future.

"This means taxes stay here, jobs stay here and instead of having beer come from miles and miles away, it's made right down the road," he said. "I hope we convert some of the light American lager drinkers, show people the many different sides of beer, educate people on brewing and inspire some to try homebrewing."

A grand opening is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 2.

Rebecca Meany:

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