Painted in soothing wine red and earth tones, the current tap room sports a 14-seat L-shaped bar and a small stage, on which musical acts of all genres can be heard each month. Local artwork is displayed on the walls, and can be purchased. A decorative (and functional!) highlight is the collection of custom-made glazed pottery mugs for mug club members (16 oz. for the price of 12 oz.). And for those more inclined to the juice of the grape, don’t despair: FWB has a “stem club” for you!
In addition to the beers and wines, FWB also makes their own lemon-lime soda and root beer, the latter of which is used in their excellent root beer floats. The rather large (for a microbrewery) menu includes sandwiches, chili, artisan meats and cheeses, and dessert wines, among other delicacies. Bottled wine and, of course, growlers, can be purchased as well.
My last visit coincided with a special blind tasting of six new beers for Oktoberfest. Patrons were encouraged to rate each beer and add their thoughts, which Matt will use when deciding what beers to make next. Construction on the road fronting the FWB led to a fairly light turnout, but that just meant there was more for the rest of us. It also offered even more opportunity than usual to speak with Matt and Joe, an employee who’s been with FWB from the start. They had just returned from the site of what will become the new home of Fenton Winery & Brewery, a much larger property only 1.5 miles up the road in Fenton.
The new space will feature a brewery and wine-making supply store, as well as more than doubling the size of the current tap room. It will also afford them a storefront that is much more recognizable and unique than their current strip mall location. They deigned to show me some photos, and it was definitely impressive: with 20 ft. ceilings, skylights, and the false façade of a house inside the building, it will have the feel of an outdoor beer garden year round. Now that’s something to look forward to! The Sherrows plan on opening the supply store in late 2012, with the brewing and wine-making operations and the tap room moving to the new location in 2013.
As their plans for expansion show, Matt and Ginny dream big. With an excellent array of hand-crafted beer and wine, and a dose of good old-fashioned friendliness, Fenton Winery & Brewery seems poised for even more growth and success. I’ll drink to that!