Fox River Brewery welcomes everyone to celebrate great beer and good company

A beer flight at Fox River Brewery. | Photo by Anna Bagiackas.
A beer flight at Fox River Brewery. | Photo by Anna Bagiackas.

Fox River Brewery welcomes everyone to celebrate great beer and good company

by Anna Bagiackas
Stripes Europe

Homebrewing has always been a hobby for Dave and Daniela Bruce of Fox River Brewery. Though this “hobby” has gotten a bit bigger—the menu lists more than 35 different beers and has become a whole family affair—the brewery still feels like a hobby, because when you’re hanging out at their American-style taproom, you can tell that it’s all about having fun and enjoying your fellow beer drinking company.

Located in the city of Obergladbach, 25-30 minutes outside of Wiesbaden, we drove through the charming town of Kiedrich (full of Rhine wineries and restaurants), along winding, hilly roads to get to the brewery, which is attached to the family’s home. The name Fox River is inspired by the many foxes that have made the area their home and who have gotten awfully comfortable, and curious, about their human neighbors.

The taproom is filled with natural light with beautiful wooden tables, chairs—and even church pews—for friends to gather. Creedence Clearwater Revival played on the stereo when we arrived and Dave and Daniela warmly welcomed us and each of their guests, curious as to what kind of beer we liked and how we all found the brewery.

We sat down and tasted a flight of four beers, the New England-style “Fresh Squeezed” IPA, a smoked beer (inspired by what you’d find in Bamberg, the home of smoked beer), a Nut Brown ale (which brought me right back to nights at my Wisconsin-college campus bar), and a hybrid English–American porter.

They were gracious and generous, letting us sample other beers they had on tap, such as a Grapefruit IPA, Blond ale, and Belgian wit. They also brought out pretzels to snack on. As an American-style brewery, Fox River has a range of styles that you’d find at a taproom in the States, such as a range of different IPAs, sour ales, seasonals and a number of “lawnmower” beers or session ales, but they also have European-inspired styles. In addition to meeting brewers around the U.S., Dave’s beer education includes trips to breweries in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Trappist monasteries to learn about European-style brews.

As we talked with Dave, it became clear that home brewing has always been something fun for him and his family. Although the brewery opened in 2017, they have taken time to build it out to what it is now. Like so many entrepreneurs, it started out as a “garage project” and when he heard that there was an opportunity to start their own business in Germany, he was ready to scale up his operation.

He explained that they have a mix of German and American visitors, who find the brewery through word-of-mouth, while hiking the nearby trails or simply discovering the brewery while visiting the Rhine River area. They also have a solid crew of neighbors and locals who come to hang out. Dave talks about how much he enjoys introducing his German neighbors to some of the different styles that are not as popular in Europe.

On their website, you will see that they are only open on Saturdays, but you can reach out to Dave and Daniela and they will gladly welcome you in other days of the week or invite you to a personal beer seminar (in German or English) to learn all about their process and brewing journey.

Dave led us through our own mini-beer seminar, showing how their whole process unfolds, from the grain room learning about where the malt comes from, to how each piece of equipment works in making the beer and into the cellar where beer ages and is kept cool. All the while, customers came in and out and Daniela along with their two sons made the rounds, shared beer samples and got to know the guests.

While the brewery definitely reminds you of American breweries back in the States—something that we are missing right now—Fox River Brewery opens its doors and welcomes everyone, Americans, Germans, kids, teenagers, grandparents, dogs and any other traveler passing through. Of course, it’s about the beer, but it’s also about the opportunity to hang out, taste something new and find joy in each other’s company.

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