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UNIQUE TASTES COME FROM SMALL BREWERY IN BIG FLAT


BREW A


THE CRAFT IS IN THE


By CHANDRA HUSTON Photos by KEVIN PIEPER


s foam rises to the top of a glass of amber ale, Bill Riffle inspects it for perfection. He examines its color, takes in its aroma and cor- rects the foam-to-beer ratio. It’s


his liquid masterpiece and tastes all the better knowing he made that ale. Little did Riffle know that a whim in 1980


would lead to a passion for handcrafted beer and a career that would take him to the tiny town of Big Flat. In November 2013, Riffle and Tony Guinn


opened Gravity BrewWorks, a nanobrewery producing handcrafted ales in small batches. Ananobrewery is defined as a brewery that uses a three-barrel or smaller system. Gravity BrewWorks uses one barrel, making 30-gallon batches of ales. “One day Billy came home and said he want- ed to brew some beer,” Guinn said. “There was


ahomebrew store near where we lived at the time, so we went and got equipment. That’s how it all started.” From years of homebrewing, Riffle, now 56, transitioned to the assistant brewer position at River Rock Brewing in Little Rock, and later to head brewer at Vino’s Brewpub in Little Rock, where he won a gold medal at the Great Amer- ican Beer Festival for his imperial red ale. He said the experience gained at the two brew- eries made him think he could open his own brewery one day. “Once I got into (brewing), I really started


thinking about doing this,” he said, of opening Gravity BrewWorks. “I wanted to start out small and grow, but word of mouth hit. I have been surprised at what a busy winter we have had. It’s hard for us to keep up with the de- mand.” Guinn said the brewery’s recipes are


created by her and Riffle. The two use their extensive knowledge of grains to produce a high-quality beer.


6 Living Well i June/July 2014


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