Though he didn’t move here until 2018, TNT Taproom owner Max Lemman grew up coming to Sun Valley, learning to ski and then snowboard on Baldy. Both of his parents are avid skiers and Max spent his winters and summers visiting the area from Seattle. In the winter of 2018, he invited his now-wife Ashley to come to Sun Valley for the holidays. While participating in the local nightlife—or lack thereof, in Ashley and Max’s opinion—they started hatching an idea for opening a new kind of brewery and bar. Back in Seattle Max had been trying to open a bar but found the city to be too busy, both for his business or for him to want to stay.
The couple moved to Ketchum and, after looking at several spaces, opened TNT Taproom in “the Dynamite Shed,” which used to house the town’s railroad and mining dynamite and has affectionately been referred to by locals as “the Boom Shack” or the “Boom Room.” Max got his dream of opening a simple taproom, one that serves only beers on draft and delicious wine. While you can often find Max behind the bar, Ashley is behind the scenes building the menu, ordering wine, and coordinating events. They live out Warm Springs with their three dogs (Navi, Nova, and Cove) and three cats (Victoria, Bandita, and Bodi). When not filling mugs behind the bar, Max is an avid golfer (he’s a member at the Valley Club), and also likes snowboarding, building Lego sets, watching movies and TV, and playing video games. Here’s Max’s perfect October day in Sun Valley!
How does your morning start?
Max: Put on slippers, let the dogs out cuz they probably desperately need to go out if I slept in, and then start making my coffee: simple black with a little agave. Then start feeding the monsters, all the animals. Then I make Ashley’s coffee as well—espresso with oat milk and oat creamer. Then I’d toast a bagel; I don’t really eat breakfast.
Where’s your morning go from there?
Max: I’d swing by Maude’s for a refill; if they still have cold brew, that’s the go-to. Then Ashley and I would drive through Elkhorn, listening to SZA or other rap and hip-hop, and she’d take photos of the foliage. She’s a great photographer, she’s been branching into landscape and portraits. For how short the fall is here, we try to get as many foliage shots as we can.
What’s for lunch?
Max: After the drive, we’ll stop at the Kneadery. Start with bloody marys and then I do the southwest special or the BLT. I’m a sucker for a good BLT.
What’s your afternoon like?
Max: After all that, we will go home and play with the dogs in the yard, and just lay low for a little.
What do you do before dinner?
Max: We’d stop into TNT and have two pints. Ashley will have a glass of wine of whatever’s open.
Then what’s for dinner?
Max: For dinner we’d go to Rickshaw for tofu chili glass noodles or Cookbook for whatever the pizza special is.
What’s after dinner?
Max: Go home, watch TV, have a potential nightcap of a hibiscus margarita or another glass of wine and beer. We’re watching Superstore right now; it’s basically The Office but in a Walmart. It’s frickin’ hysterical. Then let all the animals out one last time and turn out the lights.