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Ribald levels up: Canning, larger tanks part of upgrading efforts

Ribald Brewing’s Ray Van Lenten shows off their new stainless steel tanks that they are using to help keep up with the demand for their brews. With the ability to brew more beer, Van Lenten and partner Ryan Cano plan on increasing their distribution to area restaurants and stores.
Photo: Elias Funez

Nearly seven months after its grand opening, Ribald Brewing in Nevada City has already expanded its operations and is looking forward to what the future holds.

The machinations of the brewery when they first opened limited the brewers to just 30-40 gallons for each batch. Now, with the implementation of bigger and better equipment they can brew seven times as much, meeting the demands of thirsty customers.

Ryan Cano, co-owner and brewer at Ribald said, “It was hard to keep a beer on tap. So we were just brewing constantly. It was hard to keep up.”

“(The new system) changed everything,” said Cano’s business partner Ray Van Lenten. “We grew into this.”

The implementation of new tanks and other equipment will now allow Ribald to can their beer and increase their distribution rates to local restaurants and grocery stores. For now, Jernigan’s Tap House in Nevada City consistently has a Ribald selection on draft and the brewery is working with local stores to put their product on shelves.

“When we first started out as home brewers we were canning because we didn’t have enough keg space,” Cano said. “And then it was like, we don’t have enough beer to put in cans because everything was being served over the counter so quickly we couldn’t keep up.”

“We’re still doing it all by hand,” said Van Lenten. “We have a single filler. It’s a laborious effort but there’s been a bunch of developments on the horizon. There’s multiple canning services and other things I have been looking into.”

Ryan Cano enjoys a pint of their English nut brown ale The Nuke, currently on tap at Ribald Brewing.
Photo: Elias Funez

The brewers said that with the upcoming chilly weather and holiday season, they will offer a selection of seasonal ales, those most typically darker than those served in warmer times of year.

“Absolutely,” Van Lenten said, “it’s getting toward the colder months so I think we are going to be focusing on the darker beers. We have a really good chocolate stout that we look forward to bringing back.”

They also use the chocolate stout as a base for some of the fruity beers, leading Cano to refer to them as “dessert stouts.”

“Freeze them and they basically turn into mudslides,” he said.

Concurrently they will be expanding into the ever-popular world of hard seltzers, crafting each fruity flavor with new recipes.

“(Seltzers) have been wildly popular,” said Van Lenten. “We have a ton of different fruits we have picked out for the selections.”

One of the more popular products Ribald has produced so far are the Smoothie Sours, which Van Lenten describes as ”Jamba Juice up until 2:00 in the morning.”

Ribald Brewing’s Ray Van Lenten pours their current smoothie sour on tap, The Green Bastard.
Photo: Elias Funez

The smoothies contain just over five percent alcohol by volume, courtesy of Ribald’s star product, with an assortment of other ingredients that might not make sense on paper but have been crafted by Cano and Van Lenten for a taste explosion.

“It’s a wild concoction,” said Van Lenten. One such variety offers a blending including—but not limited to—pistachio, mango, soursop, soft serve ice cream powder, and blue raspberry cotton candy.

“There are times when I will look up pairing between things and I will see a base of things that I want to use, and see if they all mesh,” said Cano.

Music is often featured on weekend nights in the Ribald space, with a prevalence of rock and similar genres.

A wide variety of traditional beers, including the smoothie sours, can be found at Ribald Brewing in Nevada City.
Photo: Elias Funez

“We listen to (heavy) music but that’s not all we do,” said Cano. “People will walk in and we’re playing Paul Simon.”

The owners of Ribald are excited about all that is to come.

“I’ve heard people come in because they know we’re the fruit smoothie guys but we also have six beers on tap,” said Van Lenten. “I’ve had people come in and tell me ‘we thought you only did (the) smoothies so I haven’t been in yet, but this is just great.’”

The space is welcome to everyone, but with a strict “no creep zone.” The owners want everyone from women to minorities to feel comfortable within the space and be welcomed in the community.

Said Cano: “The more the merrier.”

For more information on Ribald Brewing please visit their profiles on Facebook and Instagram, @ribaldbrewing, or visit ribaldbrewing.com.

Ribald Brewing is located at 124 Argall Way in Nevada City.

Ribald Brewing’s Ray Van Lenten (left) and Ryan Cano cheers to their Thai lager named Diamond and an English nut brown ale called The Nuke.
Photo: Elias Funez

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at jnobles@theunion.com.



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