In January, DeWayne Schaaf, longtime executive chef at Celebrations Restaurant in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, bought the restaurant from James and Pat Allen. Not long after, Schaaf, an avid homebrewer, announced plans to open a brewery and tasting room in town, Ebb and Flow Fermentations, along with brewer Brandon Simmons.
With plans to eventually focus on sour and wild and mixed-fermentation beers brewed with Norwegian yeast strains, Ebb and Flow opened this summer, first functioning only as a craft-beer bar. Currently, the curated beer list features pours less commonly available in Cape, like Funkwerks’ raspberry provincial, Off Color Brewing’s Predator Noir saison and Brick River Cider’s Homestead cider. The list reflects the styles of beers that Schaaf plans to offer with Ebb and Flow’s house beers.
“I’m trying to do as best a job as I can at conveying what we’re going to do in the future [with] what we’re offering now,” Schaaf says. “The fact that we’re going to do a lot of Norwegian yeast and wild-ferments; it’s hard to find those in kegs. Not to say we won’t have IPAs or stouts or anything, it’s just that ours will all be done with these Norwegian yeasts, so they’re going to be familiar but a little different.”
In early or mid-October, the brewery will introduce its first selection of house beers. Ebb and Flow doesn’t have a core lineup, favoring a rotating variety of northern European- and Eastern European-inspired beers. We recommend reaching for the Kornøl, made with Norwegian yeast and juniper branches, or the cranberry bière de garde, when they hit taps at Ebb and Flow next month. Since opening the craft-beer bar in July, Schaaf and team have been able to pour samples of their beers for free, and he says the response has been overwhelmingly positive so far.
"We can pour little samples for free from our pilot batches, and the feedback over the past two months has been amazing," Schaaf says.
Schaaf says the brewery will initially debut with three or four house taps, with plans to eventually expand to 11. In addition to beer, Ebb and Flow will also offer housemade soda and kombucha.
When designing the craft-beer bar that will eventually serve as the brewery’s tasting room, Schaaf wanted to create a comfortable and homey atmosphere. The space is divided into two rooms: A cozy seating area with sofas and lounge chairs, and a standing-bar room with tables and former church pews as bench seating. The walls are adorned with a range of artwork: tapestries, vintage photography and paintings, antique mirrors and even a large framed photo of Elvis Presley’s U.S. Army enlistment photo.
“I didn’t want it to feel like a bar,” Schaaf says. “A lot of places around town, when you walk in, it feels like a bar. There’s nothing wrong with that, that’s just not what I wanted. When I was 19, 20, I was really into [Jack] Kerouac and the Beats and stuff, and that kind of timeframe – from there to like late ‘70s California. I always thought that had sort of a cool feel to it – relaxed. So it’s this kind of eccentric mix of different places and times pasted together. I wanted it to feel really comfortable and like you’re going into somebody’s house.”
In addition to Ebb and Flow’s beers, Schaaf serves a small food menu in the tasting room and courtyard garden. Options range from snacks – think standard bar fare, like a house pickle plate and charcuterie board, but also creative options like elote corn dip with cilantro, Feta, morita chile powder and toasted pita. Entrées range from an open-faced roasted pork sandwich with cream cheese, Carolina-style barbecue sauce, a rosemary-chile flake slaw and candied jalapeños to a lamb flatbread topped with eggplant purée, arugula, white Cheddar and sundried tomatoes.
"Right now the feedback has been just fantastic,” Schaaf says. “We also have a massive courtyard, and lately, since the weather has been rather pleasant, we can fit almost 70 people out there. So Cape is really enjoying that new outdoor seating option and having a bunch of different beers.”
Ebb and Flow Fermentations, 11 S. Spanish St., Cape Girardeau, Missouri, facebook.com/ebbandflowfermentations