CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Fife Street Brewing is more than just a brewery. It is a common area where you can socialize, have an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage, listen to music, and have a good time.
13 News got an exclusive look into Fife Street Brewing ahead of its grand opening on Friday, May 27, just in time for the Memorial Day holiday.
When you walk in, whether that be through the Brawley Walkway entrance or the Summers Street entrance, you are instantly greeted by a modern, welcoming environment. A mural showing the city’s silhouette and text on another wall saying, “DRINK CHARLESTON BEER.”
Fife Street Brewing started as a passion project when Derek Godwin and his wife went to Florida three years ago.
My wife and I were at a brewery in Florida, and she said, ‘you know, it would be kind of cool to open a brewery in Charleston.’ For ten years, I have been talking about opening some sort of sports bar – cool place – and then she said, ‘I’ll let you do a brewery.’Derek Godwin, Fife Street Brewing
Godwin says the building they’re using for the brewery has some history. The building housed Fife Street Shoe Shop for 97 years, which closed its doors a few years ago.
One thing that might strike you when walking in is the noise levels are kept low. Once workers and others started coming in, I expected noise to start bouncing around and become very loud.
Fife Street Brewing says they wanted to make the bar have a community feel where people can sit together and not have to strain to hear each other.
They say there will be background music and football and other sports on television, with live music hopefully coming later. Even with all of that, they say you will not have to yell to talk to the person you’re sitting beside.
When I think brewery, I want a place that has somewhere where you can sit, and socialize, and talk, but hear some background music. See some TVs, but not have to raise your voice and/or strain to hear the person next to you.Derek Godwin, Fife Street Brewing
For those who prefer outdoor seating, Charleston City Council recently approved an outdoor dining area for the new craft brewery. Godwin says it can seat around 64 people, with seating available for 65 indoors.
Right now there are four beers. They include a golden ale called the “Charleston Beer”, a west coast IPA called the “Charlie West Coast IPA”, an American porter called “Chuck’s P-51 Porter” and a Weissbier calls the “Summers Street Wheat.” When the brewery opens to the public, they are hoping to have 9 beers, with 12 later on.
The beer is brewed in-house. The initial boil step takes anywhere from five to eight hours, and then the wort (water that the grain was boiled in) then goes into a fermenter. It stays in there for up to 12 days while carbon dioxide (CO2) is being released. The beer is then put into another tank where CO2 levels are added. That step can take anywhere from 10 to 12 hours.
A question many will ask is, “is it cold?”
As Godwin showed me, beer kegs are kept in a cooler downstairs near the prep kitchen. He says this is the largest walk-in cooler in the city, not including hospitals.
These kegs are kept in there at 36 degrees with lines running up to the bar.
And what goes best with beer, drinks, and socializing? Food.
They say there will be artisanal grilled cheeses, popcorn, and other appetizer and snack foods. They say if you want a big meal, go see and support restaurants in downtown and on Capitol Street.
Not only will you be able to find beer and food, but you’ll also find the start of what Godwin calls a brewery district. He is hoping more breweries pop up in the area which will bring more people into Charleston.
He finds there is a direct correlation between the number of breweries and growth in cities.
We want to enhance Charleston. Make it a place where other people who aren’t from here will come and enjoy the city and understand what’s there.Derek Godwin, Fife Street Brewing
Management isn’t the only ones knowledgeable about beer and the beer scene in Charleston. Beertender Dylan Costinteen, a self-proclaimed beer fanatic, is excited to see more breweries coming to the area.
I’ve grown up here my whole life, and unfortunately seen things, kind of, not be as great as they could be. I really feel like a place like this is going to really amp up the community and give us even more reason to be here and something to be proud of.Dylan Costinteen, Beertender, Fife Street Brewing
Fife Street Brewing can be found on the corner of Summers Street and Brawley Walkway in downtown Charleston.