What makes Ruby Mountain beer unique?
• First is the water, pumped from a well filled with melted snow from the Ruby Mountains.
• Second is attention to quality and cleanliness in the brewery. The beer is not pasteurized and does not need to be.
• Third is freshness, this beer is as fresh as possible. Some days the beer is packaged and shipped out by truck the same day.
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 Ruby Mountains in Elko County. The Ruby Mountain 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, who had been brewing beer at home since 1971, had an idea. “We saw the growth taking place in the microbrewery business in the early 1990’s 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” and Ruby Mountain Brewing Company was born.
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. Safford also makes a specialty beer each year for the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, 51 miles to the west, a popular winter event.
About to celebrate 20 years of successful brewing in one of the most unique and remote breweries in America, Safford still spends his time ranching and brewing, letting his beers speak for themselves.