Things are Hopping at CrossRoads Brewing
Prince George, B.C. – Work is proceeding full steam ahead at CrossRoads Brewing as the owners of the craft beer facility look to an early-March opening.
People who didn’t have tickets to AleFest at the Two Rivers Gallery or perhaps were taking a break from the Cask Beer Weekend downtown had an opportunity to check out where things are at with the impressive facility and chat with head brewer Patrick Moore and head chef Wayne Kitchen.
And the first thing that stands out in the 8,000-square-foot building is the wide open space and the amount of light that streams into it through the three large glass-paneled garage doors the open onto the patio outside.
Once past the doors you approach the kitchen with its wood-fired, Italian-made oven and another six-burner oven. Chef Wayne Kitchen (right) says “we don’t really have a menu yet, it’s kind of in the rough workings.” But as far as types of foods he says “pizzas, sandwiches, paninis, lots of little finger foods, we’re going to bake bread fresh every day out of the oven as well so our sandwiches will be made on fresh-baked bread. A few other little things that are in the works, once my kitchen gets set up a little better I’ll be able to play around with those items.”
As far as staffing goes he says “five people on line most days, we’re expecting to be busy, two in the brewery, another five out front serving.”
But first there still lots to do to get the building lay-out completed. “Once the bigger stuff gets done like the drywall and the painting,” says Kitchen “there’s all this little stuff that’s going to take time. The bathrooms are still unfinished, my kitchen isn’t done but it’s on its way. The bar tops and the tables will be here probably in the next couple weeks.”
Speaking of the three garage doors he says “actually the foundation was up two feet so they had to knock the foundation down so they could put the garage doors in. They weren’t going to have them all the way to the floor but then they decided that that was silly so they knocked the foundation out. It’ll be quite the place to be in the summer, sitting on the patio, eating pizza and drinking beer. (The patio) is a great concept and it’s going to be very successful, I’m sure.”
Over where the beer is made Patrick Moore says “we’re hoping to be open by the first week of March so for me to brew I need about a four-week window so I’m hoping to brew within the next week or so, because I need time to let the beer obviously ferment and then age so it’s ready to go when we open up.”
He says “we’ve got sort of an opening list of probably six beers. I think we’re going to start with a nice lager, I think that’s going to go over well in this town. And from there we’re going to have a pale ale, an IPA, a brown ale, a stout and maybe a red rye ale. And then after that we can add more as we go, so again the big question is we don’t know just how much beer we’re going to sell and how much we have to brew. The idea is we have a tower that will support twelve taps, twelve lines, so theoretically we probably have one cider tap on that line so there’s an opportunity for ten or eleven beers to be on tap. That will probably ebb and flow as seasons change, production changes and as sales happen.”
The brewery has six fermenters (above) right now with that section pre-plumbed to facilitate the addition of more of the units.
Moore says initially the beer will be sold in-house, “but on the plan we’re going to have a small canning facility so we’ll be offering packaged products and that will be available for retail both here as well as in beer and wine stores, liquor stores locally. And also, we’re not against selling kegs of beer to local draught accounts and bars and restaurants.”
“Again it’s like ripples in a lake, when you throw a rock you start in the centre and you slowly work your way out. Again we have to get an idea how much we’re going to sell here and what it’s going to take production-wise to keep up with that demand.” He adds “of course in the summertime with our patio open our capacity just physically here is going to expand a lot.”
“With the patio and the lounge I think we’re licensed for around 200 people in here, so that’s a significant amount of beer drinkers to have on hand.” “I think PG’s ripe for a craft brewery and what we’re doing here. Just over this weekend with being at AleFest and for this open house here I’m really geeting a feel for that excitement. People are jazzed to see this coming to town.”
“The idea is, this is Prince George’s craft brewery. We want people to see this as taking some ownership and pride in their community and we’re adding something to their community. I came from an operation in Squamish where we had a brew pub and it sort of took over from the town hall and its where people met. It’s where you’d meet your friends, your family, people of all ages showed up there. And I think that’s what we’re striving to give to Prince George.”
CrossRoads really does have state-of-the-art equipment, from the brew house to the fermenters to the conditioning tanks in the fridge (above). And Moore notes that “like a brew pub we have the ability to connect directly from those tanks right to the tap, so you’re really coming from those tanks right into your glass. It doesn’t get any fresher than that.”