For the love of beer: Second Fraser brewery planning spring opening
FRASER — For Brian Nichols, the most enjoyable beer to brew is his brown ale colored with roasted malt and rounded out with oatmeal for a nice mouth feel. But no matter what Nichols is brewing he wants it to “embrace the true essence of the beer drinker.”
That’s the inspiration for his new brewery, Fraser River Beer Co, located at 218 Eisenhower Dr. It is one of two breweries opening in Fraser this spring.
“It’s a dream come true,” Nichols said. “We’re in it for the love of beer.”
Nichols, in partnership with his wife Angela and friends Jedd Dindinger and Tammy Yoder, is renovating the building, which previously was a chiropractic office, to become a more homey, comfortable and open space with a lounge area, bar tops, a community table, a large wrap-around patio and, of course, a brew house.
“It’s more people-friendly and I think people will feel more catered to,” he said.
Fraser River Beer Co. had planned to open in February, but because of the government shutdown, Nichols said he now hopes to open in March, pending the reopening of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which approves applications for new beer and labels for alcoholic products.
Ultimately, the brewery will feature eight different taps with beers ranging from golden ales and wheats to amber ales and stouts.
Nichols said he plans to focus mainly on American-style ales and have some seasonally rotating beers, but he also plans to experiment with barrel-aging.
“I’ve been brewing beer since the late 90s, just trying to make a good, cheap beer,” he said. “It’s going to be a little different than what you’ve seen other breweries do.”
Customers will be able to see where the magic happens through an open-concept design that shows off the fermenters and brew system at the front of the brewery. They will also be able to take brews home with them since Nichols plans to sell growlers to go and hopes to can his product.
Nichols said he wants Fraser River Beer Co. to be able to cater to families and locals, since it is a smaller community brewery. He plans to price his beers accordingly, as well as offer a mug club and a locals discount.
“I really want it to be a good, local vibe in here,” he said. “A few of my neighbors have been up here for a really long time and I’d like to see them in here.”
For the same reason, Nichols said the brewery will likely shun TVs, instead he plans to have a table-top gaming system and any money collected from it will be donated to the Fraser Valley Elementary School.
“We wanted to create a gathering place where people can come and actually talk to each other,” he explained.
The brewery will also offer kombucha and potentially other nonalcoholic beverages to help with the family-friendly vibe. Nichols also plans to have a food truck permanently on-site to serve elevated bar food.
Overall, he hopes that Fraser River Beer Co. will become a part of the movement to revitalize Fraser’s downtown area with new business and make it so Fraser residents don’t have to “drive the gauntlet” over to Winter Park for a good beer.
“I think that Fraser is going to come alive and it’s cool to be on the forefront of that,” Nichols said. “I think we’re going to find our fit within the community.”
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