Words & Deeds

A nanobrewery that was too small? This Boise brewpub doubled in size to meet demand

You’ve heard of a microbrewery. But what is a nanobrewery?

Cloud 9 Brewery co-owner Maggie Lake explains the concept behind her nanobrewery in Boise's North End.
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Cloud 9 Brewery co-owner Maggie Lake explains the concept behind her nanobrewery in Boise's North End.

There’s irony in a nanobrewery complaining about being too tiny, Maggie Lake admits with a laugh.

Right now, Cloud 9 Brewery’s co-owner is too busy living large to care.

“People were always saying we needed more room,” Lake says happily.

This week, she and her husband, Jake Lake, doubled the capacity of their brewpub in a strip mall at 16th and State streets. Not the nanobrewery itself — a four-barrel brewhouse in a 14-by-14-foot room. But the dining areas and kitchen are now twice their prior sizes.

Opened as a 1,400-square-foot “North End nanopub” in 2014, Cloud 9 got the option to grow last year after the space next door was vacated by a nail salon. Expansion was long overdue, Maggie Lake says.

“We knew we needed to almost as soon as we opened the doors,” she says. “We knew that we were too small. I think it was decided for us. It’s always a wait on a busy night.”

A certified organic brewery, Cloud 9 is known for its salted caramel stout, as well as a variety of other craft beers made almost exclusively with organic ingredients.

Lake, the brewpub’s self-professed “queen bee,” leads a kitchen that produces popular menu items ranging from a grilled kale Caesar salad to handcut blue cheese fries and a decadent cheesesteak sandwich.

As part of the growth, Cloud 9 added a satellite bar and TVs in the new dining room, and doubled the number of taps from 12 to 24. The nanobrewery only pumps out 300 to 350 barrels of beer annually, so depending on Boise’s thirst, those taps might need to pour off-premises brews occasionally.

“We’re are not opposed to a guest tap,” Lake says.

“It’s going to be a little bit crazy this summer,” she adds, motioning toward the now-larger outdoor patio. “We’re looking forward to it.”

▪ Cloud 9 Brewery, 1750 W. State St., will celebrate its expansion with a grand reopening party from 2 to 11 p.m. on its fourth anniversary, March 17. It’s part birthday bash, part St. Patrick’s Day party, including cake, Irish black lager and evening music from Hokum Hi-Flyers and the Boise Firefighters Pipe & Drums.

▪ Online: cloud9brewery.com.

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