It won't be long and Ada will be home to the area's first, and maybe only, craft brewery and brewing supply store mash-up.
Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery & Supply
(418 Ada Dr., next to Ada Dental Associates) could be open this June, bringing patrons a place to enjoy an expertly crafted brew made onsite and a spot for home brewers to purchase grains, hops, and equipment.
"The idea is that we wanted to bring brewing closer to people, to have it be an experience so people can be part of the operation as much as possible," says Gravel Bottom's owner Matt Michiels. "You'll walk in, and that's all taproom area with a sit-down bar, and directly behind the bar is the actual brewhouse, just four or five feet away."
Michiels has been home brewing for 14 years, and has been "kicking around the brewery idea" for about five. His goal is to make the brewery a place where people can taste different recipes, talk with each other and with experts employed by the brewery, and then pick up the supplies they'll need to make the beer at home.
Besides equipment and starter kits, the brew store will carry 80 grains, hops, honey from local beekeepers, and other local products. Eventually, the brewery will offer brewing classes onsite, which will use a small brew house in the shop.
The larger brewery is a three-barrel (100 gal.) system with eight three-barrel fermenters and five three-barrel serving vessels, which allows Gravel Bottom to have 15 barrels on tap at any given time, and 24 barrels in active fermentation, says Michiels.
"We want people to be able to come into the store and try a beer, and then say I really like this, or, I wish it had more body, less bitter, more sour," Michiels says. "And then we can tell them that hey, here's the recipe, and here's what you can do to achieve that."
The brewery will not offer a food menu, but Michiels hopes to partner with the half-dozen restaurants nearby for deliveries or catering.
Source: Matt Michiels, Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery & Supply
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images by Steph Harding