Mountain Brew owners thank community as doors close on popular downtown coffee shop

The sign in front of Mountain Brew Coffee was gone Friday, June 2, 2023, as the business' new owners are taking the next few weeks to do some renovations before reopening later this summer.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Wednesday was bittersweet for Alan and Michelle Hansen as they said goodbye to customers for the last time from behind the counter of Mountain Brew Coffee, a business they had owned since 2020.

“This is a quirky place with so much character and so much history,” Michelle said of the downtown coffee shop at 427 Oak St. “It’s been a great ride and we are going to miss all of our loyal our customers, especially the loyal customers who have supported us.”

Behind the counter, Alan was busy filling orders and talking to customers who came in to say goodbye and wish him good luck.

“The community was probably the reason I did it,” Alan said. “Just because the community meant a lot to the place and the place meant a lot to the community — we wanted to keep that going and that’s the only reason I bought it.”

For many people, Mountains Brew has been more than a place to get coffee, and for the Hansens, those people have become more than customers — they are friends.

“We are going to miss seeing our regulars,” Michelle said. “They may have come in for coffee but many of those regulars became our friends.”

The coffee shop opened in 2006, and the establishment offers hot breakfast sandwiches, burritos and quiches, as well as hearty lunch sandwiches, muffins, scones, sweet breads and cookies — all baked in-house fresh every day.

Alan discovered the coffee shop shortly after it opened, and when he was in town for business, he made it a point to stop in on his favorite spot, Mountain Brew. He sat at his preferred table, and he met friends there to catch up while enjoying a great cup of coffee.

When he and his wife had the opportunity to move to Steamboat in 2012, he quickly became friends with the shop’s original owners, Al and Tasha Compos.

The Compos family sold their shop to local entrepreneur Lonnie Castelli in 2019, and Castelli approached Alan in 2020 to ask the longtime customer if he would be interested in buying the business. He purchased it in December 2020 when Steamboat Springs was still under COVID-19 restrictions.

“I mulled the idea awhile before taking the plunge,” Alan recalled. “I didn’t have food and beverage experience, but I loved good coffee, good food and felt this place was a vital part of the Steamboat community. I just couldn’t imagine this town without it.”

As the owners, Alan mastered the science and the craft of making great coffee and espresso, and Michelle retired from the Steamboat Springs School District to become a full-time baker. She incorporated her grandmother’s recipes into the mix, and she enjoys baking muffins, scones, crumb bars, cookies, specialty cakes and her delicious quiches.

“There was never a plan to change anything about the place I loved,” Alan said. “I did drop one or two menu items based on prep time and food costs, but I kept things pretty much the same since so many locals and visitors were happy customers.”

He did update to a new point-of-sale system to offer more payment options, but not much else has changed.

This week the Hansens passed the torch to new owners Matt and Rose Lindquist, who have temporarily closed for renovations. The couple hopes to have the shop, which will have a new name, open again later this summer.

“Our goal would be if we could be open by the Fourth of July at the latest, but we are going to be doing some things, moving some things around,” Matt said. “I would say probably at least two or three weeks.”

Now Alan plans to focus on his pest control business, Hansen’s Professional Services.

Alan and Michelle purchased Mountain Brew because they felt the coffee shop was an important business in Steamboat Springs. Their goal was to serve the community, provide a place where people could gather as a community and enjoy a good cup of coffee.

“We did accomplish that,” Alan said. “It’s good to let it go to somebody that can go further with the business. … I definitely want to see them succeed because they want to expand into the community more than I could. It’s going be a good thing. I think this year is going to be a great year for both businesses.”

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