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June 2005, Bristlecone Brown Porter takes gold at North American Brewers Beer Fest and gold and Eldorado BBQ, Brews and Blues Festival  

September 6, 1999 - Las Vegas Review Journel
July 21, 1999 - News Release

 December 18, 1998 - News Release

 October 15, 1998 - News Release


Ruby Mountain Brewing Company
Angel Creek Ranch
HC 60 Box 100
Clover Valley, Nevada 89835
(775) 752-BEER

For additional information, please contact:

Steve Safford, President
Ruby Mountain Brewing Company
(775) 752-2337

News Release

September 6, 1999
Monday, September 06, 1999 
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal


Steve Safford runs a Northern Nevada ranch and a growing brewery that has produced award winners.

By Sean Whaley
Donrey Capital Bureau

      CLOVER VALLEY -- When Steve Safford found himself leasing the 1,500-acre Angel Creek Ranch in 1991, he looked around for other business opportunities to complement his hay production and 150 head of Black Angus cattle.
      The ranch, about six miles south of Wells, sits against the granite peaks of the RubyMountains in Elko County. The setting is picture-perfect, but the ranch is remote, which made the choice of business opportunities more limited.
      Safford, who had been brewing beer at home since 1971, had an idea. "Mix in beer with the bales and beef."
      "We saw the growth taking place in the microbrewery business in the early 1990s and decided to take advantage of it," Safford said. "I had sampled many of the different beers in the brew pubs, and I thought mine was competitive." Thus was born the RubyMountainBrewing Co.
      The first batch of beer, an amber ale, was brewed in April 1995. Since then, the brewery has expanded to five varieties of beer, including a pale ale, a porter and a wheat beer. Master brewer Safford is helped in the brewery business by his wife, Maggie, their two sons, Roby and Ryan, and ranch employee Angelica Salazar. 
      Safford also makes a specialty beer each year for the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, 51 miles to the west, a popular winter event. 
      Production has grown steadily despite the difficulties of distribution and competition with other beers: those mass produced and mass marketed or those in the niche microbrew market. 
      The brewery is producing 1,000 barrels of beer a year, about 31,000 gallons, with capacity to double in size to 2,000 barrels. Safford said sales are up about 8 percent so far this year at a time when microbrewery production nationally is flat.
      Safford told the story of RubyMountain beer on a recent morning when he was brewing up a new batch of Angel Creek Amber Ale, the company's flagship beer. 
      The odor of barley, malt and hops wafted in the air. Safford said the beer would be sent to the Great American Beer Festival competition in Denver this fall, considered by beer makers to be the most prestigious judging of American beers.
      The RubyMountain amber ale placed second out of 90 entries in the American-style amber ale judging in 1996 and third of 103 entries in 1997. The ale reached the finals in 1998 but did not win a medal. 
      Safford said he is shooting for the gold this year. 
      What makes Safford's beer unique?
      One key is the water, pumped from a well filled with melted snow from the RubyMountains. Attention to quality and cleanliness in the brewery is also key, Safford said. The beer is not pasteurized and does not need to be.
      The beer is also as fresh as possible. Some days the beer is bottled and shipped out by truck the same day, he said.
      Safford, who has an agriculture degree in crop science from the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., said experience plays a big role in successful brewing.
      At one point in the brewing, Safford tasted the wort, a product of the ale. The wort was being drained from a piece of brewing equipment called the mash tun.
      He was checking the sugar content, a key to whether the brewing is going correctly. He could have used a spectrometer to test the sugar level, but his taste buds did the job.
      Safford also checked the carbon dioxide vented from a different batch of amber ale in the primary fermenter and used only his nose. A whiff of the vented gas indicated the beer had been brewed successfully.
      He has earned praise for his beer from another brewer, Tom Young, general manger of the Great Basin Brewing Co. in Sparks. 
      "Steve has done a real good job with his beer," he said. "He's won two awards at the Great American Beer Festival, which is second only to us.
      "He does an excellent job with his amber ale," Young said. "We serve it sometimes as a guest brew."
      The RubyMountain label shows a landmark above the ranch, called Chimney Rock, along with an image of the snow-white mountain goat, which makes its home in the range. 
      Safford has distributed the beer mostly in Northern Nevada, but also into Boise and Twin Falls, Idaho.
      Las Vegas residents who like the beer are in luck: Safford recently set up a distribution deal. The inaugural shipment of Ruby Mountain beer left Aug. 10 and is available at Lee's Discount Liquor, Smith's Food & Drug Centers and Wild Oats Community Markets. He is also working to get the beer into the Trader Joe's markets. 
      The company has a Web site at 
      Safford said fans of the beer occasionally make a pilgrimage to the brewery to taste or buy beer. 
      While the brewery has been a success, profits are slim, and Safford has found himself with two full-time jobs: running a ranch and a microbrewery. Both need more attention, especially the brewery, which has not been advertised or marketed to any significant degree, he said.
      Running two businesses has worn him out some, Safford said. He has been thinking about the idea of hiring a ranch manger or a brewer. Then, he could get some time off with his family to go mountain biking or back-country skiing, activities he used to enjoy more frequently.
      "We love these mountains," he said, looking up at the granite peaks still capped with snow in some spots. 
      Beer lovers should not fear. Safford has no plans to stop making beer.
      "I love the craft of brewing," he said. 



Ruby MountainBrewing Co. master brewer Steve Safford stirs hops into a batch of amber ale in the brew kettle. The brewery is producing 1,000 barrels of beer a year. Safford runs the brewery on the 1,500-acre Angel Creek Ranch near Wells, and he acknowledges running the two businesses has been wearing, but he has no plans to stop making beer.

Bottles of Angel Creek Amber Ale, the company's flagship beer, and Wild West Hefeweizen Wheat Beer are ready for shipment.
Photos by Sean Whaley/Donrey Capital Bureau.

News Release

July 21, 1999
Ruby Mountain Brewing Adds Gold Medal to Collection; New Summer Brew
Clover Valley, NEVADA Ruby Mountain Brewing Company brought home another medal for one of its Nevada ranch-brewed beers. Angel Creek Amber Ale was awarded the gold medal for American Style Amber Ale at the North American Brewers Association’s 1999 Beer Fest Competition. More than 300 micro-brewed beers were entered in the annual competition that was held on June 5 in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Since the start-up of the brewery in 1994, Ruby Mountain’s beers have earned several awards at beer festivals across the western US, which attest to the high quality and consistency of these fine craft beers.
 Local beer connoisseurs may have recently noticed a distinctly different style and flavor of Ruby Mountain Brewing’s Wild West Wheat Beer. Brewer Steve Safford has modified the yeast in the recipe to achieve a more typical, unfiltered Bavarian-style hefeweizen. The end result is a light and very flavorful wheat beer, which is perfect for the hot summer weather. To enhance the flavor of the wheat beer, Steve recommends pouring half of the bottle in a frosted mug and then swirling the bottle to stir up the yeast before pouring the rest of the bottle into the mug.
 Ruby Mountain Brewing Company is located on Angel Creek Ranch, about 8 miles south of Wells, Nevada. Visitors are encouraged to tour the brewery and sample the award-winning micro-brews. In addition to the Angel Creek Amber Ale and Wild West Wheat Beer, Ruby Mountain Brewing also brews Pale Ale, Apricot Wheat Beer, and Bristlecone Brown Porter. Phone for directions and appointments at (775) 752-BEER. Ruby Mountain Brewing’s beers can also be found in bottle and on tap throughout northern Nevada and southern Idaho.

News Release

December 18, 1998
Ruby Mountain Brewing Introduces Holiday Porter
Clover Valley, NEVADA -- Ruby Mountain Brewing Company has brewed a special batch of beer for the holiday season that will be available only in select locations in Elko County. The new Holiday Porter recipe was created by brewmaster Steve Safford to appeal to those beer aficianados who enjoy a smooth, yet more robust brew in the cold months. The Holiday Porter is a mild interpretation of the porter style, lightly hopped with a rich malt body and a hint of chocolate in the finish.
 "The porter seems to appeal to a wide variety of people", says Safford. "We have sold most of our first batch just by word of mouth. We are still experimenting with the recipe and we may modify the porter according to the comments we receive. If we continue to get positive feedback, we will consider bottling the porter for distribution throughout northern Nevada along with the rest of our beers." Until then, look for this new beer at the Stray Dog Brew Café and Pizza Barn in Elko. The only take-home sales of the Holiday Porter at this point are at the brewery where 2 & 1/4 gallon "party pigs" are available.
 Ruby Mountain Brewing Company is located on Angel Creek Ranch, about 8 miles south of Wells, Nevada. Visitors are encouraged to tour the brewery and sample Ruby Mountain Brewing’s award-winning micro-brews, including Angel Creek Amber Ale, Wild West Wheat Beer, Pale Ale and Apricot Wheat Beer. Phone ahead for directions and an appointment at (702) 752-BEER.

News Release

October 15, 1998

Ruby Mountain Brewing Expands; Introduces Pale Ale
Clover Valley, NEVADA -- Ruby Mountain Brewing Company is pleased to announce an expansion that will enable the company to more than double its brewing capacity. At the same time, the company has introduced a new beer, Ruby Mountain Pale Ale, to the northern Nevada market.
 The brewery, located on Angel Creek Ranch south of Wells, Nevada, was initially built with four 10-barrel fermentation tanks. These tanks gave brewmaster Steve Safford the capacity to brew up to 2000 kegs, or 13,700 cases, of beer per year. "Our initial plan was to start small to keep the capital investment down while we tested the popularity of our beers on the market", says Safford. "Craft brewing is a very competitive business and most new brewers don't last very long. But we've been brewing award-winning beers for four years and we feel this is a good time to expand to reach a bigger share of the micro-brew market."
 The expansion includes the addition of three 20-barrel fermentation tanks, another hot liquor tank to heat, store and recirculate hot water for multiple batch brewing and increased refrigeration capacity. All of this new equipment fits comfortably in the original brewhouse which was designed with an eventual expansion in mind. The testing of the new equipment is complete and Ruby Mountain Brewing intends to gradually increase production of its current beers and add some new varieties.
This summer, the company introduced Ruby Mountain Pale Ale, an American-style pale ale with a light malty finish, featuring the characteristic aroma and flavor of the classic American Cascade hops. Ruby Mountain Brewing's Pale Ale, along with its Angel Creek Amber Ale, Wild West Wheat Beer and Apricot Wheat Beer can be found in 12-ounce bottles and on tap across northern Nevada, from Wendover to Lake Tahoe and Ely to Twin Falls. The company is testing new recipes and hopes to brew a heartier-style porter or brown beer in the near future.
Visitors are welcome to tour the expanded brewery, sample the latest brews and purchase their favorite beers in bottles or 2 &1/4 gallon "party pigs". Just phone ahead for directions and an appointment at (702) 752-BEER. The yeasts work ‘round the clock but the brewers need a break every once and a while!

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