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Brasserie announces reopening among ownership mix-up

By Nora Tarte
Published: Last Updated on

Mark your calendar for January 1, 2021

Reno locals let out a collective sigh when the Brasserie Saint James closed its doors in March amidst statewide shelter-in-place orders. At the time, it was standard protocol; every restaurant and bar was closing doors for a two-week duration to flatten the curve—or so we thought.

However, unlike other establishments, the Brasserie didn’t reopen when mandates relaxed. It seemed that along with St. James Infirmary and The Saint Music Hall (all three at least partially owned by Art Farley), Brasserie would be no more.

Then ownership received a shake-up that set the Brasserie back in motion. A former brewmaster from the establishment’s early days came back on board as an industry consultant as investors Dean Albright and Joel Rasmus bought Farley out of the business and announced a reopening on Jan. 1, 2021.

The reopening will bring back Brasserie favorites in the same Midtown location, plus six new beers that cater to industry trends. Josh Watterson, the former brewmaster who is serving as industry consultant, says key players have come back into the fold in order to bolster Brasserie’s reputation and revitalize it after a nine month shutdown.

The new Brasserie Saint James team
The new Brasserie Saint James team, from left to right: Joel Rasmus (owner), Zach Girdis (manager), Deane Albright (owner), Madison Gurries (brewer), Josh Watterson (brewer).

A large part of that revival includes a reimagined beer list.

Brewmaster Madison Gurries (who also has a long history with Brasserie) is behind the new flavors, which include three hazy IPAs, a west coast IPA, a big and rich stout and a hard seltzer.

The hazy IPAs include flavors like hibiscus and terpenes (an aromatic cannabis oil) as well as both West and East Coast styles. The stout is a toasted marshmallow latte, featuring bold flavors of coffee, a milky mouthfeel, and aromas of toasted marshmallow, perfect for the winter months.

The pomegranate-flavored hard seltzer—a growing trend—is special because it’s made using the Brasserie’s private well, which sources water from the Sierra. 

“It’s a great alternative for someone who maybe wants something a little lighter, doesn’t really want beer,” Watterson says. The hard seltzer will feature less than one gram of sugar, come in under 100 calories and boast a gluten-reduced designation.

Another important aspect of the brewery will be the addition of grab-and-go beers. All of the new brews and some of the mainstays, which focus on European-style drafts, will be canned and sold in four and six packs at the Brasserie.  All beers will also be offered on draft on-site.

While the core crew—Albright, Rasmus and Gurries—reopen the Brasserie, Watterson will check in quarterly in-person, while managing brand development and public relations from his home in Atlanta, Georgia. “It’s just nice to be part of the brand again,” he says.

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