Located in the historic gold rush mining town of Nevada City, Ol’ Republic Brewing opened their doors in February 2012. Brewers Jim Harte and Simon Olney are inspired by classic old world styles, but include American styles which date back to the mid 19th Century. Ol’ Republic’s taproom has available all their beers by the imperial pint (20 oz.) and offers growlers so you can enjoy at home.
Since they have no kitchen it’s BYOF. Bring a picnic lunch or order from a local restaurant. Menus are provided. Every Saturday local musicians offer a wide variety of entertainment.
As I entered the taproom I was welcomed by the wonderful smell of brewing. I love that smell. Looking around I could see Jim Harte in the brewery off to my left. Simon Olney was serving beer at the bar. The bar is split in the middle with tap handles on either side. Since there were no bar stools I ordered a sampler and sat at one the nearby pub tables.
Dead Canary (Dortmunder German Lager)
The name is a nod to the mining history of Nevada City. Dortmunder is a German lager that evolved in the mid 19th century. Low noble hop (4 central European varieties) aroma with light malt overtones. The color was straw yellow from the single malt that was used. Neither the malt nor the hops dominate but create a balance and smoothness that are a hallmark of this style. It is refreshing, light, crisp, clean and dry. 4.5% ABV, 15 IBUs
Yes a black lager, not all lagers are pale yellow. The subtle coffee aroma was accented with pleasant roasted malt notes and just a touch of chocolate. The noble hop aroma was noticeable, but restrained. The larger was a rich dark mahogany. The hop bitterness was low and balanced well with the roasted malts. Clean and fresh, if you have not tried a dark lager you will enjoy quaffing a glass or two of this one. Very well done for a low alcohol beer. 3.4 % ABV, 17 IBUs
Celtic Red (Irish Red Ale)
This one was a California State Fair medal winner for Jim. I can see why. The hop and malt aroma was moderate. The color was a deep ruby red. The mouth feel was complex, rich and full bodied. This is a malt focused brew with a gentle hop bitterness that did not linger. I would return for another Celtic Red. 5.5% ABV, 25 IBUs
A Saison is a seasonal summer style produced in the French-speaking region of Belgium. Garder is a French verb meaning “to keep” in reference to a lagering or aging process. The aroma was robust with citrus, spice, and toasted nut notes . The mouthfeel was very rich and complex, there is a lot going on in this one. This beer should be served a little warmer then it was. The complexity and mouthfeel improved as I warmed the beer between my hands. I noticed a slight extra sour/astringent note. If you feel adventurous give it a try. 7.2 %, ABV 32 IBUs.
Sierra Lightning (Summer Golden Ale)
A very pleasant moderately strong citrus/grapefruit aroma from the locally grown Goldings Select and other west coast hops. Eye pleasing, clear golden color. There was enough malt character to balance the body and blend well with the assertive hop aroma and flavor. The hop bitterness was pronounced but did not linger too long. 6.4%, ABV 69 IBUs
India Pale Ale (English Ale)
This is the English version of an IPA not an American west coast IPA. The English is not nearly as aggressively hopped. Prominent hops and malt were present in the aroma. This IPA has a malty backbone with a great hop flavor, which balances the malt sweetness. Please sir may I have another? 5.0 % ABV, 58 IBUs
Export Stout (English Black Ale)
The stout was a very deep black. The robust roasted malt, with coffee and chocolate notes dominated the aroma. A very full-bodied ale, with enough hops to cut the malt sweetness. Strong coffee/espresso flavor with hints of chocolate and caramel. 5.8% ABV, 31 IBUs
Ol Republic Brewery
124 Argall Way
Nevada City, CA.95959
Don Williams has been a home brewer since 2002. He is a recognized BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) judge, and has taught brewing classes. Don’s job requires extensive travel, and he enjoys visiting brew pubs in various parts of the country. He and his wife live in Cottonwood, CA.