Crisis Brewing Co. now open in Fayetteville
My wife and I stopped by Crisis Brewing Co. this evening to check out the soft opening. I met the owners, Sean and Liz Slape, several months ago when they were just getting started on the brewery build. You can read the story I wrote about their plans for Crisis Brewing here.
Make no bones about it, Crisis is small. We pulled up to the compact structure that houses the brewery and taproom and saw a few people milling around just inside the door. The space was handsome, with new paint and fixtures and a concrete bar top that did a fine job holding up pints of beer.
Our 7-year old was with us, so we waited until a table opened up opposite the bar. The bartender was busy keeping up with orders and closing out tabs. Owner and brewmaster Sean Slape was working up quite a sweat as he ducked in and out of the brewery with fresh supplies.
It looked as though the local beer community was excited to have another option, as several people came and went in the short time we were there.
As for the beers, first out of the gate were:
- O-Face Cream Ale
- Identity IPA
- Existential DIPA
- Boland's IRA (Irish Red Ale)
- Major Milk Stout
For the record, my wife was not impressed with the name of the cream ale, which I assume is a reference to a scene from one of my favorite movies, Office Space.
I never judge a new brewery by its opening day beer. It takes time for most new breweries to find their groove. I remember, for example, one of my favorites in Northwest Arkansas putting out not-so-good beer for several weeks (if not months) after its doors opened. So I was pleasantly surprised by the IPA I had at Crisis. It was fermented clean and there were no detectable off flavors. The malt was restrained and the hops played the role hops should play in an American IPA. If forced to say something critical I would say it was a bit thin and watery in its composition. But once Sean Slape gets a few more batches under his belt he should have the IPA and the rest of his lineup exactly how he wants them.
Honestly, I can't say I'll spend much time at Crisis. It's on the opposite side of town from me, the taproom is really small, and the acoustics are challenging for folks looking to have conversations (which most beer drinkers are apt to do). It was fairly loud during my visit and I had to ask my wife to repeat herself several times due to the background noise. Installing sound baffles of some sort might make the place more conversation-friendly.
The bartender said there are plans for outdoor seating to the rear of the building, which is good because additional space will be necessary if the beer gains any level of popularity in Fayetteville. Right now the owners plan to focus on taproom sales, so if you want Crisis beer you're going to need to visit the brewery.
Unlike most other new brewery startups, Crisis already has plans for expansion. The Slapes told Todd Gill from the Fayetteville Flyer that they hope to build a new 5,000-foot brewery and taproom just a few paces north of the existing facility at some point in the near future.
If the IPA I had tonight was any indication, Crisis Brewing Co. should be more than capable of generating the kind of demand necessary to support a project like that.