Saturday, May 13, 2023

Fate to be tempted by new Beer Geeks brewery

Beer Geeks Brewery will take up the entire ground floor of the Fate Place building (Mitchell Garman Architects).

For the citizens of the City of Fate, it seems a brewery is meant to be, thanks to a couple of beer geeks who recently set up shop in their town.

Jason and Deidra Roe's first foray in the craft beer industry came with the opening of Beer Geeks, a craft beer bottle shop, five years ago in Rockwall. It turns out that was the initial phase of a long-range plan for the husband-and-wife team, the seeds of which were sown more than a decade ago.

Things began when Jason took up homebrewing around 2012, subsequently winning a number of awards for his recipes. From there, the couple found inspiration during beercation trips to breweries around Texas. The sense of community and tight-knit nature of the beer industry drew them in, making them want to be a part of it themselves.

As for phase two of the plan, it took place when the bottle shop was relocated to Fate earlier this year. The move allowed draft service to be offered in addition to package sales. Still, there was one other aspect to be added to the Beer Geeks equation.

So, what's phase three? Well, that would be the brewery, taproom and food hall currently under construction behind the shop's current spot in Downtown Fate. Beer Geeks Brewery will occupy 7,600 square feet and inhabit the entire ground floor of Fate Place, a three-story structure being built from the ground up.

Once up and running, package sales will remain in the mix at Beer Geeks Brewery, carrying on the freedom of choice principles central to the concept. Beers at the shop are sold as singles, allowing customers to pick-and-choose what they like. Providing such access to a variety of options will extend to the brewery and its incubator-type food component.

"We're going to have a six-station food hall," says Deidra. "Our hope to have at least four permanent residents, and then two rotating pop-ups. We want to target food truck owners who dream of opening a brick-and-mortar location someday, with specialty offerings unique to the area. In other words, no chains."

On the subject of brewing operations, Jason intends to employ a 3.5-barrel brewhouse for primary production (double batches to be fermented in seven-barrel tanks), with a 10-gallon pilot system on hand for test batches and experimentation.

"The whole idea is to brew small batches in limited quantities," explains Jason. "I can be a lot more creative that way, with freedom to try different, crazy things you wouldn't do with a 30-barrel batch. Plus, people want different beers all the time, and small batches turn over really fast, so there will be a sense of urgency for customers who want to try something new."

Beer will pour from 30 handles in the taproom, with a selection of house beers, guest brews and other beverages expected to fill out the everyday portfolio.

"Our opening goal would be to have five-to-six house beers on," says Jason. "We'll also have a couple of wines on tap and a root beer on one handle. The rest will be guest handles, but the needle will move back and forth based on the ebb and flow of sales, the seasons, and how much time I'm able to commit to production."

As for other elements of the experience, the notion of Beer Geeks being a place "where it's ok to geek out about beer" will continue to interweave into everything going on at the brewery. The science lab feel you get in the shop, with chemistry lab tables and test tubes posing as plant holders, is just the beginning.

"We really want to expand the brand and idea of Beer Geeks, and the science and chemistry behind it," says Deidra. "We have some creative ideas for a user experience, if you will, where consumers will have a chance to kind of mix flavors together like a science experiment."

Of course, the ultimate goal is to establish Beer Geeks as a local destination for food, drinks and entertainment. Helping with that vision, there are plans for neighboring attractions like an outdoor park on one side of the building, where concerts and other events will take place. It'll create a town gathering place and draw customers into the brewery. Even better, patrons will be able to enjoy their drinks anywhere throughout the development.

"It'll be family-friendly environment," says Jason. "Families can come in, split up to choose what they want to eat in the food hall, then meet back at the taproom where we'll have some non-alcoholic drinks as well. Everyone can just hang out, and it should be a good time."

Beer Geeks Brewery is expected to open sometime in the spring of 2024.

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