A passion project turned award-winning beer gives Old Town Lafayette a unique and tasty brewery experience.
Rich in flavor and history. Layered and artisan. Clean, but still rewardingly complex and compelling. These are the unique characteristics of Cellar West’s signature farmhouse ales—but you could also use the same adjectives to describe the vibe we curate here in Old Town Lafayette. Perhaps it’s only fitting that Cellar West founder, Zach Nichols, relocated his business from Boulder to Lafayette in 2018.
Located at 778 West Baseline Road, Cellar West Artisan Ales is an award-winning, small-batch brewery focused on Belgium-style farmhouse ales, rustic lagers, and classically-styled hoppy beers.
“The whole thing started off as just a passion project, honestly,” Zach recounts. “We said that if it went well, we would keep it going, and if not, no worries. We would go a different way.”
After launching Cellar West in a north Boulder garage in late 2016, this small “passion project” of Zach’s ended up winning a medal in its first Great American Beer Festival in 2017. Later that year, Beer Advocate magazine named Cellar West one of the country’s “Best New Breweries.” Cellar West was quickly making a name for itself, and it wasn’t long before Zach and the rest of the Cellar West team needed to find a larger space. Old Town Lafayette felt like a perfect fit.
“I love Old Town Lafayette! As much as I love Boulder, it can be a little squeaky clean for me sometimes,” Zach says. “I appreciate that there’s an artsy, funky vibe to Old Town Lafayette. It’s also much more diverse than other parts of the Front Range, and it seems to me that this community values its local businesses.”
Serving primarily European-style beers, Cellar West is probably best known for Belgium-inspired farmhouse ales, like Saison.
“I think what drew me to the Belgian farmhouse ales originally was visiting Belgium and seeing where these beers are made. The lifestyle of where your life is your work, and your work is your life,” Zach says. “Aside from that, Belgium farm beer is the best beer to pair with food, in my opinion.”
Today, Cellar West pours a wide range of classic European-style beers, including lager, with a few funky seasonal beers offered through its sister brand Make Believe Beer. Predominantly hazy IPAs or fun and flavored stouts, Make Believe Beer is also a favorite at the Cellar West Taphouse.
“We’ve never really done any hazy New England-style IPAs, but people kept asking about them, over and over again. And I guess there is just a point where if you care about your community as much as we do, and they keep asking for it, you just have to give in and do it,” Zach said. “But the thing is, that type of beer doesn’t really fit into the Cellar West approach—the classic European style beers people know us for—so we spun off a sister brand to brew those types of beers for the community.”
Regardless of the brand or label you put on it, beer has always been a creative endeavor for the team at Cellar West, and when you finish a pint of their deliciously crisp beers, you can truly feel the passion that went into brewing each batch.
“It’s such a rewarding feeling. You’ll come up with an idea in the middle of the night, work the recipe up and get a batch together, and a month later customers are loving it,” Zach says. “Then six months down the road it’s winning a medal at the Great American Beer Festival, and then you think back to that one thought you had in the middle of the night and how far it’s come.”
Come taste what Zach and his team at Cellar West are brewing up by visiting the brewery, Bier Pub, and patio at 778 W Baseline Rd, Lafayette, Colorado. Mon-Thurs: 4-10pm, Fri-Sun: 1-10pm.