Allison Stevens has been helping spearhead the creation of a Shipyard Brewery right in the heart of Winter Park (200 West Fairbanks Avenue, the former site of Strollo’s Cucino Due). Fred Forsley, president of Shipyard Brewing company of Portland Maine. Allison, the new brewery's General Manager, has been doing the whole project of construction, retail, marketing, and menus on her own. When I first visited the Brewery, Allison told me that they had baked 300 pounds of bread the previous weekend. Much of it had been sold to the finest restaurants in town but there were racks of fresh bread lining the baking shelves. She threw large loaves and baguettes in a brown paper bag and insisted I take it. This was delicious European style bread without preservatives. Saturday November 20th, there will be a group of 40 home brewers going for a private beer and bread tasting.
The brewery will feature a 28 gallon brewing system. A hole had just been knocked into the western wall to accommodate the system. When I arrived a cement truck was being used to drop fresh cement into an outdoor shelf on which the equipment will rest. Two workers dragged a 2 by 4 over the wet cement to flatten the surface. Inside a loud metallic screeching noise shattered the relative calm. At the front door Allison was handling business on her cell phone. She high fived me and I walked inside. In the kitchen workers were using a large saw to cut a hole in the foundation. One worker handled the saw while the other slurped up the slurry with a wet vac. They were trying to uncover hot and cold water lines under the building. Once the thick foundation was cut into sections, they then lifted out the chunks and dropped them in a wheel barrel. The saw operator shouted out, "You think I'm making enough NOISE!" I shouted back, "You are getting there." I considered stuffing two erasers in my ears, but I chose to remain stoic.
I was told that a new counter area would be built in this area. Originally they thought they might have to plumb the new waterline up to the ceiling and over but the owner insisted the new sink be plumbed directly to the main water line below the building. Once the cement was lifted clear, they shoveled out the dirt and found the PVC pipes a few inches down.
I told Allison that I was going to get some lunch and come back. She said I could have a hot dog with the crew, so I stayed, continuing on my second sketch. The workers had a BBQ grill set up outside. I ate my lunch like a hungry wolf listening while one worker told a dirty joke that I will not repeat here.
Once completely set up, the brewery will be run by accomplished local brewer Ron Raike. He will brew small batches of seasonal and unique beers based on his inherent creativity and seasonal ingredient availability. Allison told me local home brewers will be invited to share their experiences and findings, making the brewery a creative place of experimentation and discovery.
The Big Wheel Provisions Marketplace will feature a regularly revolving selection of deli items, local produce and eggs, cheeses, hard-to-find specialty food products, cookbooks, food-focused periodicals, and kitchen tools. Alfresco dining, cooking classes, catering, and local delivery service will also be offered. Located right next to Rollins College, I can already imagine this place crowded every evening, becoming a creative social hub.