Ol’ Republic beer now at Matteo’s Public in Nevada City

We headed to Matteo’s Public for dinner on Tuesday night — a regular hangout in our ‘hood — and to watch ol’ Republic tap their first keg (a Scottish-style Ale) outside of the brewery at Matt and Michelle Margulies’ restaurant and pub on Commercial Street in Nevada City.

The restaurant has made its mark in our historic downtown. (Matt is a self-professed “beer geek”; read more about Matteo’s in our current issue).

The collaboration between Matteo’s and ol’ Republic is the latest example of the boom in craft brewing in the Sierra Foothills that we’ve been documenting in our magazine for several years. Loomis Basin Brewing Co. is another up and comer; up in Truckee Fifty Fifty Brewing Co. is popular.

It was a good turnout and a real pub atmosphere: our family; Pascale Fusshoeller of Yubanet; Tom Dalldorf; publisher of Celebrator Beer News (and a regular reader and commenter on this blog); later, County District Attorney Cliff Newell; and many family and friends of Jim Harte and Simon Olney, co-founders of ‘ol Republic. (Tom’s Celebrator Beer News is a longtime, leading authority on craft beer brewing).

Jim and Simon and I visited and reminisced on the brewery’s progress since its opening was first reported back in March 2011 on Sierra Foothills Report, underneath SPD. Read: “Scoop: Brewery coming to Nevada City” here.

Tom and I, who like to discuss my former friend and college Herb Caen at the S.F. Chronicle as well as pressing issues of the day, made a few kilt jokes.

An ol’ Republic beer tap was passed on to Matt (ceremoniously wrapped in a The Union newspaper, with an article this week about the brewery), and Matt screwed the tap into place, alongside his other craft brews.

The tap handle was designed by Simon and fabricated by Chris Marks, husband to Kara Marks of Matteo’s.

We all tasted the brew: a Black Scotch Ale. It is a purple-hued black ale with a light mocha-colored head, and it looked stunning served in its traditional thistle shaped glass.

Here are some tasting notes: “Created using 12 different malts this 90 shilling* has a rich silky mouthfeel, bold malt flavors and aromas, and a creamy finish. Overall hop character is low, allowing its toffee and caramel malt profile to be the highlight along with a subtle smoky character specific to this beer style.”

We found the beer to be less sweet and more satisfying than other Scottish-style Ales, such as “Kilt Lifter.”

I paired mine with Matteo’s fish and chips (a regular selection of mine from Matt’s menu). My wife paired hers with house-made Cappuccino cheesecake. Both were winners.

It’s gratifying to see small, locally owned businesses succeed (we are one too), and win support from our community. This makes up the backbone of our community, in Nevada City and throughout the foothills.

(Photo credit: Celebrator Beer News)

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