The man behind thousands of locally brewed beers is finally going pro.
Jess Faucette, the owner of the Alternative Beverage homebrew supply shop, will open Belmont Brewing Co., this Saturday. Joining Faucette in the new operation will be Bethea Baker, owner and brewer; Seth Clark, brewer; and Dennis Talley, president.
Faucette opened the business as a beverage store in 1973, but started selling beer and wine making supplies exclusively in 1977 and never looked back. In addition to selling online, Alternative Beverage (or Alt Bev, as it’s often called) has two locations: one at 3911 South Blvd. in Charlotte, and one at 1500 River Drive in Belmont.
Belmont Brewing Co. is located right around the corner from the big Alt Bev warehouse in Belmont’s River Arts District, in the small taproom that York Chester Brewing Co., and Rivermen Brewing Co., both once called home.
Now, after almost 50 years of homebrewing and helping homebrewers, Faucette has a brewery of his own.
“This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time because we have so many different recipe styles that we’re really pretty good at,” Faucette said. “I’ve always just dreamed of having a connection with a brewery.”
Homebrew kits — but with a twist
Faucette won’t be getting away from his homebrew roots — quite the opposite. The brewery’s beers will be based off of recipes and kits sold at the homebrew shop, but often with a unique twist.
“We’ll take that recipe, and we may brew it to style or we may change it,” said Clark, who previously brewed at Thirsty Nomad Brewing Co. “More often than not, we end up changing it, which we also encourage our customers to do at Alternative Beverage. Go use our base as a kit and then make your own. Change the hops, add adjuncts, do whatever you need to do to make it your beer.”
In addition to serving beers based off of Alt Bev’s kits, Belmont Brewing Co., will also collaborate with local homebrewers to help them scale up their recipes and tap them at the brewery. Alt Bev will, in turn, put together kits of these beers so that people who enjoy them at the brewery are able to try their hand at brewing them later.
When the first stay-at-home order was issued a year ago, Alt Bev initially saw an uptick in business. But since then, business at the homebrew shop has dropped as a result of fewer people visiting that location to pick up supplies.
“We’re sort of hoping that one will help feed the other a little bit,” Faucette said.
Belmont Brewing Co. will be using a two-barrel brewhouse, which means each brew will yield only around 60 gallons of beer. The small brewhouse will allow the nanobrewery to cycle through a range of different beers, from the classic to the contemporary.
“You’ll see the ambers and the reds and the stouts, those beers people clearly like to drink,” Clark said. “But we’re really not afraid of playing with the pastry stouts and the kettle sours. You’ll see a lot of traditional stuff, but you’ll also see a lot of fun stuff coming out of the brewery.”
Small taproom, large outdoor space along the Catawba
Given the small size of the taproom, Faucette estimates that 95% of his patrons will be served outside. The brewery has added a bar that opens to the outside and built a larger outdoor patio with picnic tables to accommodate more people.
“I like to say that our taproom is about the size of a large walk-in closet,” Faucette said. “With social distancing, we’d be limited to probably two people in our taproom at a time.”
The brewery also has access to the park alongside the Catawba River and plans to use it for events on a monthly basis.
Belmont Brewing Co. will open with 10 taps, but Faucette hopes to eventually upgrade to 18. In addition to its own beers, the brewery will eventually serve beers from area breweries, as well, and it will fill growlers to go.
The opening taplist will include: Limoncello Italian Pils; Hot Southern Blonde; Not Sorry Peanut Butter Porter; Southern Belmont Brown; Stairway to Nowhere, a hoppy black ale; Six Pieces Chocolate Cake Stout, brewed with — you guessed it — six pieces of chocolate cake; All Seasons Ale, an experimental seasonal ale; and Red, an imperial Irish red ale.
The brewery will host its grand opening starting at 1 p.m. this Saturday with the David’s Dogs food truck and the Little Havana cigar bar. Stateline Crossings will play live music at 4 p.m. After the grand opening, the brewery will be open from 4-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 4-10 p.m. Friday, 1-10 p.m. Saturday and 1-8 p.m. Sunday.
1500 River Drive, Suite 250, Belmont
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