Next on tap: Ribald Brewing waiting on approval for Nevada City brewery |

Next on tap: Ribald Brewing waiting on approval for Nevada City brewery

Ray Van Lenten, left, and Ryan Cano show off some of the equipment they will be using to brew beer as Ribald Brewing at 124 Argall Way in the former Ol’ Republic space in Nevada City.
Photo: Elias Funez

A new Nevada City business, Ribald Brewing, has applied for a beer manufacturer license from the state for 124 Argall Way — the former location of now closed Ol’ Republic Brewery.

Business partners and longtime friends Ray Van Lenten and Ryan Cano were, as of this week, in the process of preparing the space to be able to open within 30 days of their license being approved.

Van Lenten said Wednesday that he estimates the approval could come as early as December. He stated the application was filed a few weeks ago.

A “dream come true” location, according to Van Lenten, the building on Argall Way is well suited for its upcoming use as a brewery given that it had previously been set up for Ol’ Republic Brewery’s operations.

Van Lenten said, however, that fixtures such as sinks have been removed since then and needed replacement, among other aspects left to add before Ribald Brewing opens for business.

“The biggest challenge is just getting it all back up,” he said.

In an initial “soft opening,” the brewery would likely open four days per week, according to Van Lenten.

Describing his vision for the upcoming brewery, Van Lenten said its theme will be influenced by his and Cano’s shared interest in heavy metal music, a genre he says is missing from existing local bars and breweries. He added that they intend for the business to also be a venue for live music, karaoke, and open mic comedy.

Ryan Cano and Ray Van Lenten hope to be up and running by this winter at the earliest or spring at the latest, depending on the when the ABC license is granted. When open, the venue plans to host live music, comedy, and karaoke nights.
Photo: Elias Funez

Van Lenten connected the company’s name, Ribald, which he defined as “a slightly off-color joke,” to the brewery’s intended ambiance, adding that he wants to be welcoming to a wide audience of people and have the space be “a little bit looser and just kind of have a good feel.”


Van Lenten said December will mark a year since Cano shared some beer with him that he’d brewed, sparking the motivation that would lead to the pair’s current work on Ribald Brewing.

Prior to that, said Van Lenten, he had considered producing other types of alcoholic beverages, such as flavored hard seltzers. With this in mind, he had registered the company name, “Van Lenten Beverage,” now listed as a member on Ribald Brewing’s pending state license.

Van Lenten is currently chief technology officer at TruSteel, a Grass Valley-based company he co-founded with a friend in 2017.

After trying the beer Cano had brewed, Van Lenten said he thought, “This is what I want to do next.”

They got to work, moving brewing equipment into a garage, slowly scaling production up from an initial 5 gallons to several barrels, and beginning the canning process.

Ray Van Lenten, right, and Ryan Cano have been shaking up the local beer brewing scene with their fruity brews. The duo hope to soon be operating out of the former Ol’ Republic Brewery under the name Ribald Brewing.
Photo: Elias Funez

Their initial focus in style of beer, according to Van Lenten, was “heavily fruited“ varieties, referred to by some as almost smoothie-like. These generally incorporate sweet ingredients, such as fruit, after the fermentation process, resulting in flavors he described as wild, sour, and fruity.

Sharing these beers with people has garnered “really amazing” feedback so far, according to Van Lenten, although some of this feedback included requests for more traditional styles of beer.

After shifting focus to improving in these, according to Van Lenten, he and Cano have developed a strong offering of traditional styles as well, including hazy and West Coast IPAs, a stout, and an American wheat ale.

“We want people to come for the fruity beers and stay for the traditional styles,” said Van Lenten.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at

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