We’ve shipped over a dozen Ruby on Rails apps that all share the same base set of gems and configuration files. In order to save some time and ensure that our next web apps share a common set of best practices, we’ve put together the brewhouse-rails-template.

The brewhouse-rails-template is a Ruby on Rails 4.2 application ready to deploy to Heroku with popular gems configured to work nicely together and a self-destroying script to bootstrap your app by renaming all configuration and classes to your application name.

What about generators?

We reviewed the excellent Suspenders gem by Thoughtbot and found it bundles quite a number of gems we don’t use. Customizing it to suit our needs would have been quite difficult and maintaining a fork would have been even harder. However, we do recommend going through the code as it features a lot of nice tricks to get the most out of Rails.

We also experimented with building a Rails application template that we could use when creating a new Rails app to set up gems and modify configuration files. Making an application template turned out to be tedious as we would write code to inject code into existing code. It’s hard to understand what the template is trying to achieve and the output often does not look right (wrong indentation etc). On top of that, the feedback loop is quite slow as we would have to generate a brand new rails app everytime we made a change. When we started to write specs to test our application template, we decided to take the simpler approach of making a base rails app that we’ll keep updated as new versions of gems get published.

What’s in the box?

A Ruby on Rails 4.2 application ready to deploy to Heroku with popular gems configured to work nicely together and a bootstrap script that takes care of renaming all configuration and classes to match your application name.

The basics

  • devise with a User model setup and mailer previews available at /rails/mailers
  • simple_form set up for bootstrap 3
  • virtus for building service objects
  • schema_auto_foreign_keys for a robust data layer where orphan records are not a thing
  • sidekiq with dashboard at /sidekiq
  • bootstrap-sass with a couple of defaults in _variables.scss
  • roadie-rails to inline css in emails so that GMail picks up the styles

Dev env

  • dotenv-rails to store config and secrets in env variables
  • letter_opener to open emails in the browser in dev env
  • factory_girl with generators integration setup
  • spring bin-stubs in ./bin (ProTip: Add ./bin to your $PATH)


  • rspec for unit testing
  • cucumber with capybara-webkit and capybara-screenshot for integration tests
  • simplecov because test coverage matters


  • puma ‘cause it’s fast
  • rails_12factor to run the app on Heroku
  • heroku-deflater to compress assets
  • rollbar to get notified about errors
  • newrelic_rpm to monitor performances
  • app.json to setup free add-ons (rollbar, newrelic, papertrail, etc.), environment variables and run migrations when you deploy to Heroku


Assuming you want to create “my-rails-app”:

  1. Clone the `brewhouse-rails-template` repo:

    git clone [email protected]:BrewhouseTeam/brewhouse-rails-template.git my-rails-app

  2. Bootstrap your app (rename all configuration and classes to your application name)

    cd my-rails-app && ./bootstrap my-rails-app

Et voilà! A great Rails app with solid foundations!

We hope you’ll find brewhouse-rails-template to be a solid starting point for your next rails app.

As always, questions, comments, and contributions are more than welcomed.

Happy coding!

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