The Horsefly Brewery on the east end of Main Street is the culmination of a lifelong hobby for Nigel Askew. A long-time home beer brewer, Askew recently opened a taproom with partner Melanie Freismuth, whose husband Phil is also a brewer.
“We’ve always brewed and it got to where friends would come by and say, ‘Can I get a growler to go?’ ” Freismuth said. “So a year ago we went to the Revolution Brewery in Paonia and said ‘if they can do that, we can do that’ and we started planning.”
The bar – technically a taproom or tasting room, “not a brew pub,” according to Askew – was decorated on a shoestring budget, but it reflects a lot of thought. The wooden bar, for example, is embedded with beer bottle caps from around the world and coated with a clear epoxy. The room itself has a cozy feel with lots of old wood and Western décor, a big screen TV in a lounge area, and a smaller one over the bar.
According to Bob Fleischer, a boyhood friend visiting from California, Askew started brewing as a teenager in Zambia. Both British, Askew’s and Fleischer’s father’s worked as geologists in Zambian copper mines.
“I remember when he was making beer in the kitchen for his dad because there was only one lager brand available in Zambia,” Fleischer said. “He would scrounge up bottles form local bars, and use a crimping tool for the caps. It was probably bloody awful, because he had no temperature control.”
Askew has come a long way since those early days in the kitchen. His new taproom features several different types of beer, from lager to amber to wheat, with one brew featuring locally-grown raspberries. Askew hopes his new niche with be a hit among Montrose micro-brew enthusiasts.
Another local entrepreneur, Chris Clemens, recently opened Planet Earth Landscape Management, where he uses green techniques to promote green lawns.
With more than 30 years of experience that includes all aspects of lawn care, Clemens said it makes environmental sense to use as many environmentally sound practices as possible.
“I believe your lawn is your one environment you have control over,” he said. “You should try to use the minimal amount of chemicals that you can.”
Offering complete mowing services, Clemens explains that keeping lawns to three-inches in height allows for maximum water conservation and reduces the amount of fertilizer necessary. He also makes a point of recycling the grass clippings.
“I can help people manage water, our most precious resource,” he said. “You need to plan for having less water in the future, because that’s what it’s going to be.
Clemens uses plant-based fertilizer made in Colorado, which he said is ideal for the alkali soils in this area. And he believes in proper pruning to keep trees healthy, reducing the need for chemical spraying.
While most of his lawn care equipment is currently gasoline powered, Clemens hopes to eventually switch to diesel mowers that can run on bio-diesel.
And while he is licensed to apply weed control chemicals, Clemens strives to avoid them as much as possible.
“Why douse the entire yard when there are only two dandelions?” he said. “It’s better to spot spray where there is a weed.”
Planet Earth is currently focusing on winter landscape preparation, Clemens said, including lawn aeration, organic lawn fertilization, sprinkler winterization, fall clean-up, and small projects such as bulb planting, flower beds and mulching.
Both Horsefly Brewery and Planet Earth Landscape are members of the Montrose Chamber of Commerce, and according to Chamber Director Terri Leben, they are not the only new businesses in town.
Other new business include Modern Country Living on Hawk Parkway, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage on South Rio Grande Avenue, Sublime Skin & Body on East Main Street, and Trina’s Cleaning Service on 6600 Road. Information on all chamber businesses, including websites, is available at www.montrosechamber.com.