I spent some time this afternoon at the location of the new Capital Ale House in Fredericksburg. Capital Ale House VP Chris Holder showed me around the construction site and shared his excitement over their new location. After months of little obvious activity, the site is buzzing now. There are numerous craftsmen onsite and Chris tells me the project is actually ahead of schedule. The first question I asked is the same question I get from local people I talk to, "When will you be open?" Chris didn't provide a specific date but it's important to note that the incentives package approved by the City of Fredericksburg requires the business to be open by November 1. So, local beer enthusiasts, we don't have long to wait.
As you enter the restaurant the main feature will be the 80’ long, curving bar that runs much of the length of the room. Plans call for over 75 draft beers plus 2 casks on tap. There will also be a very large bottled beer selection. There are numerous booths being built throughout the establishment. The seating arrangements vary in size and the restaurant will be able to handle groups of many sizes. The next room back from the bar will be a large dining room. Here again, attention is being given to flexible seating to accommodate both large and small groups. Off the main dining room, stairs lead down to a private dining room for special functions.
Opposite the bar are steps leading down to the beer cellar. This special area will have cool storage for special and vintage beers, along with some small tables for tasting those very special beers. The front wall of storage area will be glassed to facilitate viewing the large display of stored beers. The casked beer will also be stored here for serving at proper temperature. Serving lines lead from the cellar to the bar above.
Special attention is being paid to preserve many of the features of the old building. Ceiling beams are left exposed. When old beams did have to be cut or removed, they were saved and will be used for display in other parts of the building. An old stained glass window that was found onsite was moved to a prominent location.
In talking with Chris, it is obvious that he is passionate about good beer, and providing a fun place to enjoy it. Chris emphasized that Capital Ale House will be a place for people to linger over good beer and good food. I did specifically ask if the Fredericksburg location would continue the many events and specials held at the Richmond locations. So often we've seen restaurants open Fredericksburg branches with what seems like half-hearted enthusiasm. Not so with Capital Ale House, we can expect to see the same "$1 Burger Night", "Steal the Glass Night", and other special events in Fredericksburg as well.
The opening of Capital Ale House will be a great addition to the craft beer scene in Fredericksburg. Given the November 1 opening deadline, it looks like I may be doing my Christmas shopping in downtown Fredericksburg this year!
See pictures of the construction here.
Previous posts about Capital Ale House here.