Noted Boulder chef opens BRU specializing in hand-crafted ales & food
If I wrote a blog post about every new microbrewery, brew pub or particular new beer or ale, I’d have room for nothing else on this blog. Still, I’m giving a shout-out to BRU handbuilt ales & eats, which opens today, because it is the brainchild of Ian Clark, former executive chef of Centro Latin Kitchen, who moved his base of operations from downtown to East Boulder to expand his barely one-year-old garage nano-brewery.
Clark, who was recently named one of the “Six Food and Beer Innovators” by Draft Magazine, took “handbuilt” to heart when crafting just about everything at his new “brupub” — building each table and booth by hand, pouring the concrete bar, welding the handrails, building the barn door that separates his brewery from the dining room, the list goes on. Those who saw it pre-opening say that craftsmanship shines throughout the restaurant from the food, to the beer, to the tables themselves.
Ian Clark in his brewmaster duds rather than his chef’s coat. Photo courtesy BRU.
On tap are 11 rotating handbuilt ales including the “founding brews” that have been available at local liquor stores and restaurants for the past year. In addition to Obitus American Brown with dates and caramelized sugar and Chef’s Collaboration BRU, Clark’s libations also include such new offerings as Rigley Red IPA and Slocum Barleywine. As a gift chef himself, he is instituting a monthly collaboration beer with a local chef. Rounding out the beer selection is one handpicked beer from one of Colorado’s great craft breweries. The names are as creative as the beverages: Szechuan Cherry, a handcrafted soda, and a lineup of interesting beer cocktails like the Beer Cooler (Belux pale ale, agave nectar, lime juice and salt) or the Dark Cross (barleywine and hard apple cider) help round out the drink menu. I’m much more into wine than beer, but those cocktails sound really appealing.
What of the food? For Clark, after all, being a chef came before the beer biz. He has installed a wood-fire oven to craft a sort of cultural fusion menu that he calls “urban American cuisine.” Examples of his culinary creativity: Sumac and Cilantro Trail Mix with almonds, popcorn, and oat clusters; Crispy Pork Bahn Mi with pickled cucumber, kimchee, shaved daikon, lime aioli and rooster sauce (aka, sriracha), and Colorado Trout with a Dutch biscuit, arugula salad and celery vinaigrette are just a few of his dishes, all handbuilt from scratch, and available for lunch, happy hour and dinner.