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New craft brewery cruises into Guelph (6 photos)

Fixed Gear Brewing Co. brings small batch brewing to the Junction neighbourhood

There's a new player in Guelph's craft beer scene.

Fixed Gear Brewing Co. is now up and running in a 4,000 square-foot former garage at the corner of Alma and Inkerman streets, just west of downtown in the Junction neighbourhood.

Fixed Gear officially opens to the public on the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend, but this past weekend had a soft quiet opening that saw plenty of people stop by.

The name is an homage to the community's avid cycling community.

A special tasting room licence allows them to have a small bar area until 9 p.m.

The brewery is the lifelong dream of a local businessman who prefers to keep his name out of the spotlight for now.

He had a longtime friendship with late Wellington Brewery owner Doug Dawkins and has spent the last five years bringing fixed gear to fruition, calling it a "labour of love."

"It has to be. I'm not going to get rich," he said with a laugh.

The Fixed Gear plan is to sell and serve their various beers at their Alma Street home for now, hopefully expanding into local bars and restaurants eventually. Getting listed in the liquor store is a long way off, if ever.

Head brewer Mike Mayo does the talking for the enterprise.

"All sorts of different kinds. We're going to try and cover all the bases," Mayo says of the offerings.

"We've got some lighter beers that are a little bit more approachable .... lots of stuff with hops, a couple of Belgian beers .... a stout .... quite the variety."

Mayo is a University of Guelph grad who started in the beer business on the packaging line at Wellington Brewery. His beer making talents were honed at Black Oak brewing in Etobicoke and five years of home brewing.

Capacity at Fixed Gear is 10 hectalitres (7,000 litres) at any one time.

The intention is to make small, fresh batches that move quickly. The beers will vary from week to week, although the Dutch classic blonde ale of the first run looks like a keeper.

Early beers making the taps include a dry hopped saison, an American pale ale and a stout that sold out quickly. Beer will be available for purchase in individual 473 ml cans, 500 ml bottles and eventually growlers.

"We're going to play with what we've got now, but as we open and we see a trend of which brands sell better, we can tailor it and decide which ones we will be producing a little bit more of."

Mayo said he's happy with how the first beers have turned out.

"A lot of trial and error. Every brew house is how it operates, so there will be some minor changes made here and there, but I am happy with where they are to begin with at least.

"I want to adapt to people's tastes. See what work. And I'm always open to criticism, if someone doesn't like a beer I'd like to hear why."

A food truck is expected to be on hand for busier times.

Info on when the brewery and serving area are open, go to their website. They are also on Instagram, although no Twitter account yet.