Microbrewery Gets Hopping in Fayetteville

Since opening in June, Fossil Cove Brewing Co. in Fayetteville has been drawing in customers with its Sunday growler to go: half-gallon bottles that customers can purchase for $10 and have filled with the microbrew of their choice for $12, even on Sunday.

Originally from Gravette (Benton County), owner Ben Mills, 25, opened the 3,500-SF mircobrewery at 1946 N. Birch Ave. with the help of his parents.

Mills began home brewing while he was studying biology at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville and liked it so much he decided that he wanted to do it professionally. He signed up for a six-month brew master program at the University of California at Davis, and while he was waiting for the program to start, he went to work for Silverton Brewing Co. in Colorado.

Just a year after Mills completed the program, he opened Fossil Cove Brewing Co. The company's mascot is a fossilized dinosaur holding a beer and wearing a purple bow tie and top hat.

Jumping from home brewing to commercial brewing without having had the practical experience of working at Silverton Brewing and the knowledge he gained from veteran industrial brewing mentors he met at UC Davis would not have been a good idea, Mills said. Understanding the equipment and how industrial brewers work, he said, is important in a venture like his.  

In the next month, Mills plans to begin bottling his brew on a limited basis and hopes to increase the number of keg accounts he has. Some of his microbrews are currently available at Brewski's Draft Emporium and Mellow Mushroom in Fayetteville. In five years, Mills said, he would like to see Fossil Cove become a 15-barrel brew house and expand its bottling operation.

Fossil Cove has five beers on tap: Tyrannosaurus Tripel, Brown Ale, India Pale Ale, Paleo Ale and Water Street Wit, which is named after the Water Street Brewing Co. in Port Townsend, Wash. After Water Street Brewing closed, Fossil Cove bought its four-barrel system.

Customers have full view of the stainless steel brewing system from the tasting room,  open from 4 p.m.-midnight Wednesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-last call Saturday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. To learn more, visit FossilCoveBrewing.com or call (479) 445-6050.