On Tuesday, June 12, Fathoms Restaurant & Bar hosted a beer tasting and fundraiser for the Gulf Coast Humane Society.
“We already have one location in Fort Myers, but all the proceeds from this event and Yappy Hour are being put toward building a new shelter in Cape Coral, sometime in the next three to five years,” said Jessica Bamford, events coordinator for the Gulf Coast Humane Society.
Outdoor events in the summer of Fort Myers often need to be planned and timed with a steady eye on a Doppler radar screen of the area. The beer tasting and fundraiser — hosted by the newly established Cape Coral Brewing Company, The French Press and Fathoms — could not have been more incorrectly timed.
At 6 p.m. the band Soapy Tuna had just begun the event by playing some usual rock cover songs when wind and rain swept through the Cape Harbour Marina, spoiling the event, or, so it seemed. As quickly as the rain had blown in, it blew out like a very wet respiration from the gods. By 6:30 p.m., despite the visibly discouraged rock band packing up its recently soaked instruments into a small white trailer, it was as if a violent storm hadn’t even fallen on this beer-tasting event.
Fathom’s is directly in the middle of a short boardwalk lining the scenic Cape Harbour. Its waterside bar stands as a circular oasis for the many Midwestern pensioners to sit around, drink bland and pale American pilsner beers and talk about what killed the Detroit auto industry.
If one were simply going to Fathoms for a Tuesday evening dinner, you could walk right past the small white tent that is housing a jerry-rigged, red Igloo, keg-cooling apparatus and go about your merry way, unaware you missed out on a few mini cups full of remarkable home-brewed ales and a chance to contribute to a budding animal shelter. The tent housed a couple enthusiastic entrepreneurial beer crafters named Mark Hart and HeidiMoore-Hart.
“We made this all on our back patio,” Moore-Hart said.
She explained that their expectation is to be fully functional by the end of June at 839 Miramar St. in Cape Coral.
Cape Coral Brewing Company presented three different beers to the public at the event.
The Gongoozler Ale is described as the “quintessential boating-fishing, lawn-mowing, canalcruising ale,” and I could not agree more. It was not overly hoppy, sweet or tart, and it seemed to cover the expectation you would have for something with a name that literally means, “To idly watch activity on a canal,” in Olde English. That seems to be all one can really expect to do when living on a glorified peninsula of canals.
Second up was the Burrowing Owl Brown Ale, and it was basically New Belgium’s Fat Tire in disguise. Mind you, these beers were not brewed in CCBC’s new facility, so the taste they meant to work toward may not have been fully realized when being brewed on a Cape Coral patio.
Last was the Hungryland APA.
“APA” as in American Pale Ale, which is weird since most beers — crafted with the aim of slamming your bitter taste buds with an avalanche of hoppy goodness — are simply called IPAs regardless of their origin. There are Canadian IPAs and Belgian IPAs, and there may even exist a Japanese IPA. But what all these concoctions have in common is they aren’t called CPA, BPA and JPA, respectively. This is because they aren’t reinventing the wheel (so-tospeak) of what an IPA is; if they were, they would probably call it something completely different.
So, when one happens upon something so confidently called an “APA,” you expect to taste something that doesn’t taste exactly like another boring IPA. Despite the slight disappointment of finding that even the ”press” is presented with the same vitamin-holding-sized miniature cups, the event seemed to go off quite well after going to the bar to purchase a full-sized cup of beer for $6 from the bar.
The relationship between Fathoms Restaurant and the Gulf Coast Humane Society began this past December when they got together to begin a new kind of Happy Hour called “Yappy Hour.” On the last Saturday of every month, Fathoms hosts “Yappy Hour,” where patrons can bring in their overly pampered pups, buy some fruity cocktails and talk about pups, from 6 to 8 p.m., or until one realizes that “Yappy Hour” ended a while ago, and you have been paying full price for the already movie theater-like-priced drinks. A portion of the bar sales will go toward the Gulf Coast Humane Society.
All in all, these men and women have their hearts in the right place. It’s difficult to start a business and be successful, but going above and beyond to better the community puts you in another league. Sometimes simply knowing that the money you spent for overpriced martinis at a harbor-side bar is contributing to the well-being of local stray animals in Lee County may be just the easy excuse you need to buy your dog-loving friends another round.