I went over to the new Nob Hill location of Lizard Tail at 3417 Central Ave NE Suite C (formerly home to Poké Poké) to celebrate a friend’s new job, and unexpectedly ran into Rich Montoya, now one of the owners of Lizard Tail Brewing. Our super awesome server Laura had sent him my way because she wanted to introduce us. He agreed to do a spur-of-the-moment interview that neither of us had prepared for. Fortunately, Rich is fun and personable, though he did say he hates talking about himself. Despite that fact, I was able to coax some news out of him that was a surprise to me.
Many of us have had those days/nights when we’re having a great time at a brewery, and we think, “I would love to own this brewery.” But, have you ever known anyone who really did just that? That’s what happened with Rich and Lizard Tail. Previously, Rich, who retired from the Air Force, was just a regular customer at the original Eubank and Montgomery location. He had no prior connection to the brewery or owner Dan Berry. Rich is local, lived in the neighborhood, and started frequenting there as soon as they opened.
Rich jokingly said he was already spending a lot of money there. So, I guess you could say he just made the investing “official,” and now he is one of the owners. I got his business card from Laura and it just says “Manager.” Maybe that’s part of not wanting to talk about himself. I decided not to get into that.
Lizard Tail wanted to brew on a larger scale, and a deal they were able to get on the building and equipment at the shuttered Cantero Brewing at 3351 Columbia Dr. NE was just too good to pass up. Lizard Tail took over that space and labeled it Lizard Tail Industrial.
Almost simultaneously, they quietly started work on an offsite taproom in Nob Hill. Those who remember the space during Poké Poké’s multi-floor operation, know that it is a great downstairs space that already had an impressive tap wall. Personally, I could not wait for something new to take over the space. Since Lizard Tail only occupies the downstairs portion, you have to enter from the alley behind the building off Amherst. A comfortable patio sits outside the alley entrance.
With the Industrial space and greatly increased capacity for brewing, Lizard Tail can now brew enough beer to supply all three of their locations, plus maintain another existing relationship by continuing to supply beer to Rock Canyon taproom in Carnuel. Speaking of Rock Canyon, apparently, they caught the brewing bug as well. Lizard Tail was going to use their original micro system as a pilot system, but Rock Canyon made them a great deal on a purchase of that equipment. Rock Canyon wants to start brewing as well as to continue serve Lizard Tail’s brews.
As if all of this is not enough, Rich said they are also going to start remodeling the original location. During the remodel they are going to put in a patio with a garage door.
It was a warm evening, but the patio offered some much-needed shade. Laura, our server, was a delight. And, as an added surprise, Lizard Tail has cider that they serve not only on tap, but also frozen, with or without a seasoned salt rim. I was able to try it, and it went down way, way too easy in the heat on the patio. Not for the first time, I was glad to be able to walk home in Nob Hill. Let’s all hope this is just one step in a resurgence of business in the area. A personal thanks to Lizard Tail for the interview, the company, and for reopening one of my favorite spots.