New to Boulder this Summer, BRU is a small batch brewery and gastro pub offering unique food in their small, but beautiful location.
Although they’re newly opened, the crew behind BRU has years of experience in the industry. Owner/Chef/Head Brewer, Ian Clark has been cooking in some of Colorado’s best kitchens over the last 14 years including the likes of Q’s, Centro Latin Kitchen and Jax Fish House.
His growing hobby was brewing his own beer (out of his garage) and it eventually became an official, registered nano-brewery. From his garage, he was named one of the 2013 Breweries to Watch by Draft Magazine. With a desire to continue beer-making, while also incorporating his extensive culinary background, Ian went out on his own.
Although BRU is in a nondescript strip mall on Arapahoe, when you enter their space you’re immediately taken aback at the woodwork, the rustic farmhouse-like design and the beauty of the aesthetics.
I appreciate the little details like their painted mason jars with little plants on each table, the funky beer tap at the bar, unique vintage silverware, fun versions of the word BRU spelled out on a focal wall and even the lighting. To an observing eye, it is clear it’s thought out and it’s immediately warm and welcoming.
Ian shared with us, virtually everything in the restaurant is handbuilt which pays homage to not only the way they do their beer and food, but how they built it all from the ground up. Even his wood-fired oven he built from scratch! With an open kitchen, you can sit at the bar and watch the chefs in work which always adds a fun dynamic to your dining experience. With a focus on the environment, they use wind power and eco-friendly chemicals, they recycle and compost, as well.
The food is far more elevated and unique than you might see at other brew pubs. It’s more like a gastro pub with dishes like crispy pork bahn mi with kimchee and pickled cucumber, chicken yellow mole with roasted turnips and baked tomatoes or their variety of sourdough pizzas made in their wood-fired oven like the IPA tomato sauce with ale sausage, kale and smoked shallots pizza. Personally, I loved the fried chicken! Everything I tasted was delicious and inventive, which just like their interior, has been thoughtfully curated.
Ian’s philosophy on beer is driven by the fact that he doesn’t force carbonation – he allows it to occur naturally. Although it takes longer, he believes in maintaining the highest quality in all that he produces and that’s why they don’t filter or pasteurize (that’s “all the good stuff,” he shares). My favorite beer of his is the Beezel Belgian Style Golden Ale, which had flavors of honey, black pepper and bitter orange peel. It was definitely a beer I could enjoy and drink anytime.
It’s personally impressive that Ian has such a varied skillset, not to mention, he’s incredible humble. As the head brewer, (he still does it all himself, but is finally training someone to help with the load) you can tell his experience with food is such a perfect blend for brewing beer. His pairings are delicious and his holistic approach to understanding all facets of food and beverage, makes a difference. In this case, there isn’t a disconnect and it shows when you’re at BRU.
My only (selfish) complaint is that they were closer to my office and home downtown in Boulder. Needless to say, Ill still be biking or driving out to East Boulder to enjoy his beer and food. Although I sometimes lament about breweries opening up with such high frequency, BRU really stands out as something a little different in their offering and it’s such a welcome addition to Boulder.
Learn more: bruboulder.com