Last July, Ebb and Flow Fermentations opened as a craft-beer bar in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Owner DeWayne Schaaf was already well known in town as the longtime executive chef of beloved Celebrations Restaurant, which he purchased in 2018, just a few months before opening Ebb and Flow.
Since opening the bar last summer, Schaaf has served a rotating lineup of craft beers, both local and international, at Ebb and Flow. Now, Schaaf, working alongside brewer Brandon Simmons, is gearing up to celebrate the release of Ebb and Flow’s first house beers this weekend. The brewery won’t have year-round or core beers; instead, Schaaf and Simmons will vary their offerings regularly.
“It’ll be fun to see all of these different beers up against one another,” Schaaf says. “We’re going to have our flights on [offer]; we haven’t had flights yet because we haven’t had our stuff, so people will be able to try small samplings of everything. That’s really the exciting part for me, just finally getting to see everything.”
Schaaf and Simmons have focused the brewery around sour and wild/mixed fermentation beers brewed with yeast strains from across the globe; for example, in their initial lineup, patrons can expect to see beers like a lingonberry kvass with a light malt bill and a combination of Norwegian and Danish wild yeasts.
Given Schaaf’s culinary background, many of his beers are also informed by flavor combinations he’s experimented with in the kitchen. Customers can get a taste of this approach this weekend with Ebb and Flow’s prickly pear and jasmine blossom beer and another featuring cranberry, apple and baharat, a Middle Eastern spice blend typically made with allspice, black peppercorns, cardamom, cassia bark, cloves, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, turmeric, saffron, ginger and dried red chile peppers.
“I’ve been cooking since I was 15, and I don’t get to travel a lot, so instead of traveling and trying different stuff, I’ve tried different flavors everywhere I can find them,” Schaaf says. “Right now I’m on a Middle Eastern and Persian kick, so we’re playing around with a lot of those flavors. And there are just a lot of flavors and flavor combinations that over the years I’ve found work well. We have another [beer] we’re calling Winter Botanical that has pink peppercorns, lemon zest and thyme in it, and it’s a blonde ale. So we’ll have a lot of those kind of culinary-influenced beers.”
Schaaf estimates that Ebb and Flow will offer between 10 and 12 of its house beers on draft at any time, plus craft cider, kombucha from Confluence Kombucha in St. Louis and at least one other local beer. “We don’t have lagering tanks, so I’ll always probably bring in a lager [on tap],” he adds. “I always try to have a very approachable beer for people who just want a crisp, clean lager, too.”
For the debut this weekend, Ebb and Flow will host live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the kickoff event starting at 4pm on Fri., March 8. The brewery features a menu of small and large plates for snacking, too, so guests can pair their beers or flights with items like a pulled pork gyro, lamb flatbread or charcuterie plate.
“It’s quite a feeling,” Schaaf says. “I’m sure every brewery feels like this, but there was a point where it seemed like it was never going to go through. It’s very, very liberating knowing that right now we just have to brew beer, and all that paperwork for permits and everything is taken care of. It’ll be fun watching people’s reactions to the spread that we’re going to have, everything from the culinary beers to historical beers; a little bit of everything.”
Ebb and Flow Fermentations, 11 S. Spanish St., Cape Girardeau, Missouri, facebook.com/ebbandflowfermentations