ravis and Niki Fields have found fertile ground for their brewery’s growth since it opened as Fieldhouse Brewing Company in mid-2014. Now dubbed FH Beerworks
, their pride and joy expanded from its original downtown location to occupy a second, larger facility along Powers Boulevard — FH Beerworks East. Long term, Beerworks East will host their brewing operations, while the original downtown spot will remain as a tasting room.
While most taprooms around town use an in-house kitchen or rely on rotating food trucks, Beerworks East has partnered with Twelve Thirty One Craft Kitchen
, which acts as the “house truck” for the spot. Truck owners Rebecca and Tyler Baggett serve Tex-Mex, specializing in tacos.
This new spot feels breezy, modern and welcoming, with a mix of tables, bench seating and couches surrounding a central fireplace.
We don’t hit nearly all of the 20 taps, but we do sample a range of styles. First, the highlights: We try two of three gluten-free offerings — the mango blonde ale and the Forman red ale. Both boast respectable body, often a problem in gluten-free beer. The former sips with the fruit’s flavor and sweetness on the finish, and the latter’s to style; both are fine brews, gluten or no. We also enjoy the Dream Crusher black IPA, which sips neither overly toasty nor overly hoppy, with piney notes playing nice. The Good Day IPA’s tropical fruit-forward hop notes delight over low-to-moderate bitterness and a good malt backbone, a well-balanced beer overall.
But we find a few missteps, too. Paralysis by Analysis pale ale doesn’t have much going on flavor-wise. Don’t Drink the Juice, a pale ale with tangerine, presents delicate citrus over blunt hop bitterness and a too-thin body. And while we respect the ambition in Autumnal Shift spiced rye ale, there’s a lot going on, from leading powdered ginger to subdued baking spice notes to rye spice finish, and we’re on the fence about the combination.
Six pretty tacos make an easy pairing with FH’s craft beers.
From the food truck, we start with their taco flight, a $20 platter of six tacos with chips and salsa. Five of the six land under-salted, the outlier being the chicken-pickled pepper-cotija cheese-habanero cream Firecracker, which actually needs less salty cotija to go with its substantial pepper heat. Our favorite’s the Standard, a beef taco, which features both cilantro and lime in slaw and cream sauce, finishing meaty, overall good. Sauces tend to dominate, as the carne asada, combo and pork-centric Chosen Chimichurri tacos’ meat gets overrun by smoked paprika cream, orange aioli and chimichurri, respectively. The Vegan Experience bears nice heat from vegan sriracha aioli and a mix of textures from soft black beans and firm cauliflower.
All four house salsas in the chips and salsa flight — mango peach, habanero, tomatillo and fire-roasted tomato — rate pretty bland across the board. Similarly, both vegan green chile and a cilantro lime quesadilla suffer for want of salt and seasonings. Avocado fries do fine, if flimsy from minimal coating.
Like the beers, the food’s a mixed bag, though for our money, the beers average out to the stronger showing overall. Still, brewing operations are just moving to Beerworks East in 2019, and it’s not too late for Twelve Thirty One to expand its spice cabinet. Either way, it’s craft on Powers Boulevard, and that’s something the Springs always needs more of.