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New brew: Grass Valley Brewing Company open for business (PHOTO GALLERY)

The vibe was warm but the beer was cold Thursday as Grass Valley Brewing Company opened its long-awaited taproom on East Main Street in Grass Valley.

After over a year and a half in the making, the downtown spot – located next to California Solar on East Main Street – finally opened the doors of its brewery to the public.

Mike Sutherland, the head brewer of Grass Valley Brewery, said the opening is validation of a dream the brewery team has had since day one. His job as head brewer is serious, and he said there were a number of factors that drove the 18-year brewing veteran to choose Grass Valley Brewing as his new home.

“It wasn’t what I can bring to the brewery,” said Sutherland. “It was the building that sucked me in. When I saw the building I thought it was awesome. I’m super excited for the opening and just getting suggestions what kind of beers people like up here.”

Chad Wingo, a business development manager for The Union and co-owner of Grass Valley Brewing, has high hopes for the new pub.

“I think it’s a gathering spot,” said Wingo, “a place where people are going to want to come. This is the first brewery in Grass Valley since prohibition so it’s 90 plus years in the making.”

Grass Valley Brewing took advantage of the town’s Thursday Market to officially introduce its product to beer lovers of Nevada County.

“Many months (of the process) were less than exciting with no end in sight,” Wingo added, “and tonight we get to be excited again. So that’s nice.”

The opening of the brew spot isn’t quite complete. They will be joined in coming weeks by Roost, an off-shoot of Jernigan’s Tap Room in Nevada City.

Sean Cox, owner of Jernigan’s, said his relationship with Grass Valley Brewing began when they asked him to consult on their upcoming menu. His input made it clear that Cox would transfer some of his beloved Jernigan’s menu – a burger and wings, specifically – while honoring the gold mining heritage of Grass Valley.

Roost’s menu will feature an Asian influence, an homage to the Chinese mine workers who toiled away in the days of the late 19th century gold rush. The menu will also feature Cornish pasties, Cox said, which early miners carried as a hearty and convenient lunch while they logged long hours in the mines.

“It’s gonna be awesome!” said Cox. “We make whole, clean, hand made, fresh food. We make everything in-house.”

Roost is expected to open for food service within weeks and Grass Valley Brewing is now open for daily service.

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at jnobles@theunion.com or 530-477-4231.

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