Born and raised in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia), Nick and Helen met at the University of Zimbabwe where Nick was pursuing a degree in geology and Helen a B.A. Honors in English. City raised, Helen fell for the handsome senior who, not only drove a spiffy 1952 MG TD, but traipsed around the bush discovering gold while fending off lions and hippos, oh my! This idyllic life ended with the outbreak of war and Nick's drafting into the Rhodesian army. Desiring a more secure future, we left war-torn Rhodesia for South Africa and the gold mines near Johannesburg where Nick sought deep mine experience. There followed 10 years of mineral-seeking nomadism, 3 wonderful years in Namibia, the birth of a second son and a master's degree at Grahamstown University. Wherever we were, Nick continued his hobby of home brewing, one he had begun with his father years previously. Sadly, political turmoil followed us to South Africa and we decided to make a clean break with Africa. A job offer based in Reno, NV. clinched the deal and we set off for new horizons.
Salmon became a part of our lives when Nick's company began prospecting for gold in the Arnett Creek area in the late 1980s. However, as the value of the dollar increased, so the value of gold plummeted and this, coupled with the increasing nightmare of permitting procedures, forced companies with less economic properties out of the market and ultimately out of the country. Two years of work in West Africa, primarily Ghana and Burkina Faso, followed before Nick had had enough. Breaking from geology completely he decided to utilize his knowledge of home brewing and after an intensive course at UC Davis in California, opened the doors on Bertram's Salmon Valley Brewery in 1998. The full service restaurant was added a year later. Diners may choose to order meals in the brewery itself, which has the tanks on full display, or in the restaurant section which accomodates children.
Bertram's is located in the historic Redwine building, which was constructed after the Leesburg gold rush in 1898 on the site of what used to be a Chinese laundry. The brewery is a working facility, with the equipment visible behind the bar area. It is a 7 barrel system currently producing 7 different beers, plus a seasonal; approximately 5,000 gallons of beer per annum.
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