Fossil Cove Brewing Co. to open June 2 in Fayetteville

Ben Mills (left) and crew serve Fossil Cove samples at the 2012 Fayetteville Foam Fest earlier this month.

Staff photo

We’re not ready to call it a renaissance, but it’s undeniable that there’s been a bit of growth in the local craft beer scene in Fayetteville lately.

Hog Haus, formerly Ozark Brewing Company, has been around for years. Then there’s the folks at West Mountain Brewing Company who finally got their rig running after a 13-year “coming soon” period.

Our friend and Flyer contributor J.T. Wampler opened Tanglewood Branch Beer Co. last fall and began serving local brews earlier this month. Soon, local beer maker Ben Mills will realize his dream to open brewery when Fossil Cove Brewing Co. opens its doors to the public next month.

“It seems like we’re 20 years behind, but there’s definitely a brewing scene growing here,” Mills said. “It was just untapped for so long, but the ball is rolling now.”

Mills, a graduate of Gravette High school, began making wine during his college years at Arkansas Tech. It wasn’t very good wine.

“My friends said, ‘Maybe you should make something we can actually drink.’ That’s when I got started home brewing,” he said.

Mills went on to complete a six-month brewmaster school at UC Davis in California and has been working towards starting his own company ever since.

In just a matter of days, he’ll be serving some of his local creations in the tasting room at his new brewery at 1946 N. Birch Ave. in Fayetteville.

“We’ll start with a Belgian Wit, a Tripel, an IPA, and a Brown Ale,” Mills said. “The Tripel is a seasonal, and we’ll be doing more stuff after that.”

If everything goes according to plan, Mills hopes to begin selling his beers by the keg to local bars. If that goes well, he’ll move on to begin bottling and canning beers, he told us.

“That’s the ultimate goal,” he said. “We’re going to start small and take it slow, and we’ll go from there.”

Beer lovers will also be able to stop by the brewery daily from 4 p.m. until around midnight to sample brews for $3-$4 each in the tasting room which features a view of the brewery where his beers are created.

Fossil Cove Brewing Co. will hold a grand opening from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 2. Free hot dogs and hamburgers will be served.