Newburyport Brewing Co. gets an all-female spinoff, Alewives, at downtown food hall High Street Place thanks to Allison Fisher and Crystal Rimoczy. Their husbands, Bill Fisher and Chris Webb, run the original North Shore brewery. The duo met as part of a seven-piece funk band, Das Pintos, where Bill played trumpet and Chris was the lead singer. Alewives was a pandemic pivot, featuring a handful of Newburyport originals and other local favorites. When Fisher isn’t pouring beer with Rimoczy, she’s running 10Ks (she has a master’s degree in exercise physiology) and caring for three teenagers in Newburyport.
How did Alewives come into existence?
So, it was originally branded to be Newburyport Tasting Room. But, as you know, the food hall didn’t open with COVID. There were many uncertainties around opening and lots of moving parts. So, during that time, we really kind of sat down as families and thought about what would work best for us. We thought about how Crystal and I could make this our own and make a brand that reflected us. We started to think: The boys are having so much fun with the brewery, and we could do our own thing here at High Street Place.
Did you meet your husband through a love of beer, or is it something that you grew to like as a couple?
I kind of found craft beer prior to meeting my husband. I went to graduate school out in Ithaca, New York, and I used to go to this local brew pub called the Chapter House. And it was just what you would think of: a dark brew pub, kind of an older building, and they had local beer — some Ithaca breweries. I really found that I liked hoppy IPAs, real flavorful beers. It just was a coincidence when I met my husband, and he was a giant beer lover. He had studied in Belgium during college and really became a lover of craft beer. He continued to introduce me to more craft beers. When I moved back to Boston, we used to go to Paddy Burke’s and drink Guinness, and he would always have me trying different things.
What’s your niche at Alewives?
We offer a wide variety of beer. We have 12 draft lines, and five of those are dedicated to Newburyport beers, because those are our favorites. We have five other options as well. We have everything from light, easy-drinking, lower ABVs, to hoppy beers with a little bit higher ABVs. So it really it covers the gamut of anything that somebody might be looking for. And then we have a gluten-free option in a cider, which is great for people who don’t want a beer, and we offer seltzer as well.
What it’s like to run a stall at a food hall in the current climate? Who’s the clientele? Who’s coming in, and what’s your sense about the future of downtown?
That was one of the uncertainties with High Street Place and the bar itself opening. We really weren’t sure, because the city is still kind of opening back up, and the occupancy rate within the building is actually still pretty low. But, you know, people are coming out, and it’s just been awesome. The food hall is just been really, really well-received. People are excited to get out and come in the morning, get some breakfast on their way to the office, stop down for lunch. At night, there’s a DJ sometimes, and there was an après-ski event the other night. So people are excited to come out. I think it’s only going to move in a positive direction, especially as the weather gets nicer. I really think people are ready to get back out there to meet up with friends. … I continue to think it’s going to do well.
I know you want your beers to pair well with some of the other foods at High Street, and there’s quite a variety of foods in the mix. Any pairing recommendations?
One of the beers that we chose was the Boulevard Tank 7, and we chose that because it’s notoriously a beer that pairs really well with different foods. It’s very light-finishing. It’s not too overpowering. It’s a little bit higher alcohol, but it will pair really well with more robust food offerings, like a chicken sandwich from Haley Jane’s or maybe a burger at Wheelhouse. I just spoke with Abby over at Wheelhouse about possibly doing something with wings for the bar, which would be really cool — or possibly doing a beer cheese with our Green Head IPA from Newburyport.
Let’s talk about the yin and yang of exercise and beer. What’s your secret?
Exercise is a really big piece of who I am. It’s something that’s important to me, and my three kids are all involved in sports. I like to run more in the summer. I’m a little bit more of a summer runner. So, you know, I keep it in check that way — I like to run some local 10Ks down the Cape and up in Maine, and I do CrossFit. It helps balance everything out.
Favorite style of beer?
A session IPA. I drink [our] Melt Away Session IPA. They’re a little bit lighter alcohol, so you can drink a little bit more, but you still get that flavorful citrus.
It’s a spring day. You’re outside. What’s your favorite beer and food pairing?
A session IPA and a nice charcuterie board with cheese, crackers, fig jam, and maybe some almonds.
If you’re home snacking, watching Netflix, what are you eating?
I usually find myself with something salty sweet — I like to make my own trail mix with pretzels and nice chocolate.
Favorite restaurants in Newburyport?
My favorite restaurant is actually my whole family’s favorite restaurant: The Black Cow. We love it there. We go quite often. If I ask the kids where they want to go, that’s usually the first place that they want. We get the sushi, which is a big hit — and the firecracker shrimp has become a big family favorite.
What’s your best hangover cure? I’m not implying that you get hangovers. But if you did?
I think a nice cold glass of orange juice.
Is there one dish that really struck you as something you’ve tried and absolutely loved at High Street?
I’m usually having lunch down here, so I’ve been having the chicken sandwich over at Pennypacker’s lately. I really like that chicken sandwich. There’s an aioli, there’s a sauce on there, that’s got some kick to it. It’s pretty spicy. It’s a nice lunch. And I like the Farmacy: They have nice, healthy bowls with greens, and you pick your protein, and some rice. I haven’t tried everything yet.
Have your kids tried beer in moderation?
They have not tried beer. Believe it or not, they have not.