The enticing aromas of warm yeast and roasted grains filled the taproom of Ada's Gravel Bottom Brewery
and drifted through the open archway to the brew supply store in the next room. With the bright, shiny three-barrel brewing system directly behind the concrete bar, patrons can watch the brewing process, talk about home brewing with resident and guest brewers, and saunter over to the store to get supplies to take home.
The cozy taproom at 418 Ada Dr. opened Sept. 7 with five brews on tap: a crisp grapefruit IPA crafted by guest brewers John Wiechertjes and Steve Waalkes, a light pale ale, a rich porter, a robust black IPA, and a smooth, sweet Belgian Wit. Owner Matt Michiels says a pumpkin ale will be underway after barbecue company Pit Stop Catering
roasts 50 pumpkins over cherry wood -- all in the brewery's parking lot.
And while drinking beer and enjoying it is the goal, Michiels says that teaching people about beer and about how to brew it is a huge part of Gravel Bottom Brewery's culture.
"We'll have free seminars, and we'll have classes for the beer lover who doesn't brew, beginning brewers, and advanced brewers," he says. "They'll be able to have class in the taproom with the brewer, enjoy the beer, then walk over to the store to get supplies."
Michiels says the brew house will share its recipes, and even help brewers determine how to give a beer more body or make it sweeter, then help the brewer choose the ingredients from the store's stock of grains, malts, spices, and hops. The store also offers brewing kits and equipment.
During last Monday's visit, Brett Langscheid, a trained cheese maker and brewer, was busy mixing up the next batch of beer, which will be ready in a few weeks. Four brewers are on staff, but Michiels says the pub will bring in guest brewers on a regular basis.
Hours: Weds.-Thurs., 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m. to midnight.
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Photos: Jeff Hill
New craft brewery and beer brewing supply store on tap for Ada's downtown