Ames EDC

Crafting Community & Tending Fences

Posted on May 13, 2021 at 8:00 AM by Guest Writer Guest Writer

Written By: Bryce Bearson, Business Engagement Collaborative, Ames High School


Tucked in the small, quaint town of Huxley, Iowa lays Fenceline Beer Lab, a nano-brewery and restaurant. Famed for its craft beer and food, this locally-owned establishment is located at 107 South Main Street. The owners, Susan and Jonathan Frantz, bought the property in late 2017 and worked nights and weekends to renovate the building until it was finally finished in 2019. 

The Frantz’s had always wanted to open a brewery and when they moved to Iowa in 2013, their dream became even more possible. With an actively growing community, Huxley presented itself as the perfect place to start the beer lab. One short block away is the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail, which brings in business from cyclers, hikers, and runners. The couple’s focus has always been committed to a community-forward atmosphere and a place where families could gather to share a meal. 

Fenceline opened for business in January of 2020, which unfortunately was right as the global pandemic hit, but that did not stop the Frantz’s. They instantly introduced “to-go” beer sales two weeks into the shutdown. Towards the end of June 2020, they slowly began offering “to-go” foods. Unfortunately, due to the derecho that wreaked havoc across the state and the COVID-19 pandemic, they were forced to close for all in-house sales in September. Thankfully, in October, in-house seating was reopened and continues to be available today.

Nick Sorensen, Director of Community & Economic Development Outreach at the Ames Chamber of Commerce stated, “Fenceline Beer Lab is located right off the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail and presents a new stop for cyclists in Old Town Huxley. It brought back life to an underutilized building and gave residents another place to spend their time and invest locally.”

Fenceline Beer Lab is committed to creating a welcoming atmosphere. They plan to continue to achieve this goal by expanding their patio area in the near future. When Susan and Jonathan were in the planning phase of their business, they decided that they wanted to become active members of the community. “We are thankful for the support of the community and the wonderful help from others during this challenging time.”

To access Fenceline Beer Lab’s unique list of craft beers and menu, visit

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