Thai Me Up in Jackson, Wyoming
On an April night in 2014, Thai Me Up general manager Jamie Morris, then a new hire, was streaming the World Beer Cup awards from his office in the back of the Wyoming brewpub.
“We won a bronze early on and we started to party,” he remembers. “An hour later, we won a gold, and I almost fell off my stool. Flash forward a year and a half, and I’m on stage accepting Small Brewery of the Year at GABF with the whole crew.”
Indeed, Thai Me Up’s profile has blown up quite a bit even since we profiled them in 2013 (From the Source, issue #73).
Nestled in a Jackson chalet-style shopping plaza flanked by the Rocky Mountains, Thai Me Up has garnered attention for its boundary-pushing beers with names referencing Wu-Tang Clan songs it cranks out from a tiny 3-barrel system. Today, that brewhouse serves as a pilot system for Melvin Brewing, a 30-barrel production space down the road in Alpine, Wyo., that opened in late 2014. Another restaurant and brewery is slated to open in Bellingham, Wash., later this year.
BJ Schmidt, a 26-year-old systems engineer, lives close enough to Thai Me Up that he sometimes refers to it as his living room. “It’s one of those dimly-lit but well-decorated, warm, inviting sort of places,” he says. “It’s the kind of place that makes you feel right at home when you walk through the doors. To top it off, there’s always a kung fu movie or two playing on the TVs behind the bar.”
Owner Jeremy Tofte remembers establishing Thai Me Up’s irreverent attitude early on. “The first year was rough,” he says. “We introduced this thing called ‘playing music over speakers during dinner service.’ It was revolutionary in our little town. That’s when we realized we could pick the clientele we wanted and scare the rest away.”
Thankfully, those that remain love the heady brews that flow from the brewpub’s 20 taps, like 2X4 Double IPA, Coffee Ruckus Imperial Stout, Kitchen Sink Belgian Red IPA, and Sangre Naranja Blood Orange Pale. They also come for the long list of savory delights, from OG Shishito Peppers (with lime juice and bonito salt), to General Thai’s Chicken and a “street food style” Thai hot dog. All of which pair well with hoppy, West Coast-influenced beer.
“Melvin has invigorated what was an entirely static beer scene,” says Schmidt. “[They found] the line, and pushed right past it.”
On a given day, Thai Me Up gets a healthy dose of tourists, but also plenty of beer nerds, and some newbies who are thrilled to find out they can get “Melvin in a can.” As it turns out, when people love your food and your beer and your kung fu movies, it’s hard to get down on the grind. Well, almost. Morris does have one complaint.
“Honestly, one of the hardest things around here is coming up with names for all the crazy new beers Kirk [McHale, brewer] is working on,” Morris jokes. “We have to taste, think, taste, listen to Wu-Tang, taste, taste—it’s horrible.” ■