Expect 11 house taps to launch, and up to 20 online within a month or two. Pictured: The Extra Thicc Hazy New England IPA and gluten-free mango blonde.
has come a long way since its mid 2014 opening
downtown. (We actually got our first taste
of their beer in 2011, seeing an early sign of high quality and creativity. Originally the company was called Fieldhouse Brewing Company.)
We announced earlier this year their plans for an east side expansion
, and on Saturday, Oct. 20, more than a year's hard work by owners Niki and Travis Fields pay off with FH Beerworks' east location grand opening
Expect food trucks — including the newly opening house food truck Twelve Thirty-One, dishing tacos — live music, some giveaways and the special release of a dark cherry kettle sour, a smooth 5-percent ABV brew we got an early sample of: based out of a nut brown ale recipe with dark crystal malts, Travis pulled 100 gallons of the batch out to age in bourbon barrels for two weeks, re-blending it later to add some vanilla notes to the existing tart fruit and nutty elements. It's delicious.
This new location (formerly Timberline Landscaping
, which moved) sits on a total of 4.4 acres, just under an acre of which is developed (later plans call for adding retails spaces to attract other local businesses to combat Powers Boulevard's chain row). The taproom's 1,300 square feet, next to a 700 square foot barrel room and 3,100 square foot brewhouse, plus a 6,000-foot beer garden landscaped with pergolas. Travis anticipates beginning brewing on site in mid December, after a new Alpha Brewing Operations
brew system arrives. FH Beerworks downtown spot host a 5-barrel system, this one will be 20 barrels, which will enable some retail expansion as well with new cans coming soon.
Expect 11 taps at opening, with up to 20 house beers within a couple months; Travis says he's been double brewing since July to prep for stocking this location until it gets up and brewing. At the media preview we attended, in addition to the special release dark cherry sour, we sampled The Extra Thicc Hazy New England IPA; gluten-free mango blonde; and Dream Crusher Black IPA. The hazy IPA's as excellent at Goat Patch Brewing's rendition, while the black IPA leads with huge roasted notes, and the mango blonde bests previous FH Beerworks gluten-free beers we've sampled; it's still rice- and millet-based, leading to a thin texture, but mango purée influence folds a nice soft fruity undertone into the mild hops.
We were also treated to an early bite of Twelve Thirty-One's tacos (their name's a Bible reference about "loving our neighbors"): a carne adada (with local grass-fed beef) topped notably in a smoked paprika cream sauce; a chimichurri with orange-braised pulled pork and the piquant parsley sauce; and The Vegan Experience of veggies topped in a fun Sriracha vegan aioli. Chef/co-owner Tyler Baggett (who'll be assisted by his wife Becky and a couple employees) also dished a chef's special waffle-BLT sandwich with candied bacon and maple syrup. All fared beer friendly and showed early promise.
On the whole, this new FH Beerworks stands pretty impressive for its footrpint alone, feeling like a beer campus in its infancy; it'll be exciting to see what five years adds to the land (to include the retail shop space Travis alluded to). This is a scale unrivaled by other local breweries outside of Bristol Brewing Company's Ivywild complex, perhaps, though Red Leg Brewing's got plans
for something of equal ambition, as we previously reported.
Fieldhouse-turned FH Beerworks is growing up, and seriously blowing up at this new space. Cheers to the ambition and fine flavors.