Fermental opens in Ogden for wine and beer connoisseursLiving so close to downtown, I don’t find myself passing through Ogden frequently. Every now and then I cruise north on Market, and drive by the myriad car dealerships and restaurants. However, a few short weeks ago, I found myself traveling along this familiar route to visit what will be a new haven in northern Wilmington for beer and wine lovers.
He’s a friend and former colleague, beer and wine representative, art-bar owner and encore contributor, as well as director of the nonprofit Art Soup (sounds familiar to a lot of us, doesn’t it): Steve Gibbs. Gibbs opened Fermental in Ogden, located just past the now-closed Marc’s on Market. When I pulled into the parking lot, I perceived a quaint 1940s bungalow with a spacious backyard area, neighboring a local locksmith. Although it was a few days before Fermental was due for its soft opening, the inside of the shop still managed to leave quite the impression.
“Fermental is a retail shop,” Gibbs explained, “but it’s also a place where one can drink a beer or a glass of wine. He guided me through the small bar, with seating in a corner, and a cozy lounge filled with tables and an enticing couch. “We will also be having an outdoor beer garden,” Gibbs told, “which will be perfect in the upcoming season. People can relax and drink, or they are more than welcome to buy a six-pack or a bottle of wine to take home and share with their family and friends.”
Though Gibbs began his work on the shop back in November, Fermental has been brewing (no pun intended) in his mind for some time now. After struggling to find the right location in midtown and even Mayfaire, he only had to journey a few miles from his home to discover the perfect building for his vision.
Gibbs always has been involved with beer and wine somehow—from selling crafts and imports for Mutual and Ararat distributing companies to formerly co-owning Bottega Art Bar and Gallery and conducting tastings at Art Soup events. Likewise, he oversaw the beer and wine selection at Tidal Creek Cooperative.
During the grand tour of Fermental, Gibbs admitted to focusing on products of outstanding quality. The store carries a colossal collection of imports and crafts from all over the world. Prices, too, remain reasonable. For instance, a 99-cent “tall boy” of Narragansett beer (Rhode Island) is offered, as is a prestigious Belgian ale at a sensible $30. The same principle applies to wine. From quality $5 bottles to aged ports, sweet meads or unfiltered sakes. During my visit, Gibbs recommended a delicious Dubhe Imperial Black IPA from Uinta Brewing Company, a beer with a 9.2 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), for a mere $3.
Along with beverages, Fermental offers retail foodstuff, like a variety of meats and imported cheeses, including some from Chimay Trappist. Gibbs managed to bring in Brooklyn Brine’s beer- and hop-infused pickles (made with Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA), three Sierra Nevada mustards (pale ale and honey spice, porter and spicy brown, and stout and stoneground) and hop candy. Fermental is also the first location in North Carolina to offer wine ice cream from Mercer’s Dairy in New York.
“As far as I know, this is one of the very few places you can find this ice cream,” Gibbs said. “The ABV on these are actually 5 percent, and we have all the flavors: red raspberry chardonnay, Riesling, peach white zinfandel, cherry merlot, chocolate cabernet and port.”
Fermental also offers kegs, keg supplies, and home-brewing equipment and ingredients. Gibbs mentioned he would provide delivery and set-up if needed. Other retail items entail beer and wine literature, glassware and wine tools, among others. The shop is available for private parties, wedding catering and other off-site events that require wine and beer.
“This place will also be a small venue for some occasional live music and educational meetings and classes. If possible, especially since we provide some supplies for the craft, there may be courses on how to home-brew.”
Fermental’s grand opening, while still being planned, will include a day of live music, giveaways and tastings. Gibbs remarked that the soft opening drew in a great crowd, especially considering he did not do heavy advertising.
“It was a bit overwhelming,” he smiled. “The plan now is to have $3 drafts and select wines on special everyday. Fermental will have tastings, and outside there will be the beer garden—hey, we may even get some bocce ball in the near future. Still working on Sunday hours, but apart from then, we’ll be open daily 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. People can come in and have a beer in the afternoon on their day off, or stop by in the evening after a long day of work.”
Fermental is located at 7250-B Market Street toward Ogden. Folks can contact Gibbs at (910) 821-0362 or visit online at www.fermental.net.