Libations: When beer, builder and backcountry combine you get: BeerCat
As tiny homes continue to grow in popularity, builders continue to look for ways to think outside the tiny box.
One man’s passion to combine the backcountry, beer and a new build will roll through Aspen on Friday, March 15, in the form of the BeerCat.
Mike Basich, a former pro snowboarder and now expert tiny home builder in California, has teamed up with 10 Barrel Brewing Co., which started in Oregon in 2006 and also has a home in Denver, to create the mobile pub that finds its natural habit more in the backcountry than the big city.
“I did a little sketch on a napkin with the idea of putting a bar on a snowcat, and they were stoked,” Basich said this week in a phone interview. “They were like, ‘Let’s do it. We don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like, but we trust what you’re up to. Give it your best.’”
Built on a 1987 Spryte snowcat, Basich spent just over two months from design to the retrofitted BeerCat rolling out the door of his shop in Colfax, California.
“I had no idea how it would get built. But I know wood well and metal well and how those two materials works, so I knew it was possible but I didn’t know how,” Basich said. “I spent a couple of hours sketching up some ideas. Once I bought the snowcat is where things really started to click in my mind and how it was going to get shaped and still be legal (for height and weight).”
He said 10 Barrel wanted more of a retrostyle, so he searched and finally found a snowcat from a dealer in California. From the time the cat got to his shop to the BeerCat rolling out the door was two months.
“It was used for Hollywood shoots for about 15 years, so it didn’t have a lot of wear and tear on it. It was in really good shape,” said Basich, who lives in a cabin in the woods and uses a snowcat to get to his home. “10 Barrel wanted that style of an older, retro snowcat, so it was a perfect fit for a tiny home.”
Basich, who is an IPA fan, said the toughest part was figuring out the doors, leverage and getting the floors to drop on hydraulics and still be strong enough to hold 10 people on the deck as they hang out at the pub.
“I wasn’t really sure how it was going to come together,” he said of the doors. “But I’m more of a hands-on person than putting it on a computer program and figuring it out that way. It took quite a few tries at it … that took me quite a few extra weeks until I really figured it out.”
As part of its national tour, the BeerCat will be parked Friday on the corner of Cooper Avenue and Galena Street (near the visitors kiosk), and will have a few choices on tap. After Aspen, it heads out to Eldora for the weekend then over to Silverton before heading back West.
Seems like a perfect complement to the annual Aspen Apres Cocktail Classic this weekend.
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Many locations on Basalt Mountain were barren as recently as two months ago. However, nutrients unlocked during the Lake Christine Fire and a wet winter have sparked a remarkable recovery. Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is leading fire ecology tours to discuss the changes.