Southern Updates 4/6/17

By David Fowlkes

Olde Mecklenburgers: Ryan Trask, Ryan Weir, Matt Pennisi, Chris Davis, Zach Carden.
Photo/Mark Hanson

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery is pleased to announce the purchase of the old “Curtis Screw Premier Precision” property in Cornelius. The former manufacturing occupant recently relocated to a new facility in Mooresville, enabling OMB to acquire the 24-acre wooded site, with a 51,000 square foot building, situated in the heart of downtown Cornelius. OMB’s founder, John Marrino said “We are extremely excited about this property. We have a long-term commitment to the Charlotte region and we believe that this site will allow more Charlotteans to experience OMB and our beers first hand.” However plans for the site hinge on what the North Carolina General Assembly does during its current 2017 session. A movement called Craft Freedom plans to bring legislation to the floor to remove the arbitrary 25,000-barrel production cap law that restricts the growth of self-distributing breweries throughout our state. OMB brewed over 21,000 barrels in 2016, after having to preemptively pull-out of the Triad in 2015 to avoid exceeding the cap. If the legislature lifts the barrel cap in 2017, OMB plans to invest an additional $7 million in the Cornelius site to expand its brewing and wholesale operations, in addition to building a spectacular Brauhaus & Biergarten. This will create well over 100 new local jobs in Cornelius, and generate millions of dollars of additional economic activity in the region. However, if the law does not change, the future of the new site will be significantly impacted, as OMB will have to further restrict its sales territory to avoid exceeding the production limit, leaving millions of Charlotteans without easy access to OMB products.

Revelry Brewing, Charleston, SC unveiled their newly filled coolship, the first of its kind used in production brewing in SC, back in March at the brewery taproom located on Conroy Street in downtown Charleston. The wild fermentation beers should be available in about a year Head Brewer and Partner Ryan Coker tells me. He brewed a lambic base with pilsner, wheat, oats and raw Seashore Rye from Riverbend Malthouse. The brew produced a turbid mash and Ryan used an extra-long boil, adding four-year old aged hops to the kettle. After knocking out to the cool ship at 170F he tells me the wort cooled overnight to 65F and it was then gravity fed into French Oak barrels. Ryan plans to ultimately make a gueze.

The Charles Towne Fermentory has opened in the West Ashely district of Charleston on the Savannah Highway. Head Brewer Adam Goodwin hails from Trillium, Tired Hands, and Cisco Brewing so his experience is second to none. Operating a 15 BBL brewery in a small space that used to house a dry cleaner, he has brought the hazy NE IPA to the Holy City as well as a number of artisanal styles. Recent brews include a Biere De Garde, a Rye Saison, and a Zwickelbier. The brewery is mostly taproom consumption only but has released limited draft into the local market to mostly beer centric bars and restaurants. Look for hop-forward beers from Adam, as he always has Pale Ale, IPA, DIPA on the draft board. The brewery and taproom sit on a corner spot on their block, so look for the rolled up garage doors and gathering crowd at the bar that can be spotted as you drive by. It is a very inviting space and defiantly worth a stop when in Charleston.

Snafu Brewing opens in North Charleston with killer beers! Located off Ashley Phosphate Road at 3280 Industry Drive, the husband and wife team of Scott and Julie Koon are making waves all over Charleston with their beers. Skoon, as Scott is known, operates a 15 BBL Copper clad Bohemian brew house. His Snafu-Tang 5.3% is a sour ale that is brewed with oranges and is the talk of the town. Very refreshing, pleasingly sour, this beer is a gem. There are other variations of Tang, like Grape, Sucka! (Tang brewed with grape juice), and Tang with Lime that also hold strong on their own. Snafu also is brewing solid beer in other styles like Donnie Dark Ale 6.7% Black IPA, Kinky Lola 5.1 % Dark Sour with Cherries and a 7.7% IPA that is dank and full of hoppy goodness. Skoon started home brewing in high school, and moved to Charleston from Pennsylvania to work for Westbrook Brewing for a stint.

Edmund's Oast Brewing Co. owner Scott Shor and Operations Manager Timmons Pettigrew shared updated details on their new production brewery and onsite restaurant. The brewery is located in the Pacific Box & Crate development located at 1505 King Street Extension, less than a mile from Edmund’s Oast Brewpub. Construction is still underway and anticipated opening is late spring. The 20,000 square foot Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co. will produce a variety of beers packaged in cans, bottles, and kegs for wide-reaching wholesale. Once in full operation, the brewery will sport over a dozen EOBC beers on tap and regularly can at least four offerings. Head Brewer Cameron Read will produce an array of beers for both fresh consumption and barrel-aging. The facility includes an area dedicated to clean barrel-aging, and a sealed area for wild fermentation. EOBC beers will be available at the Edmund’s Oast restaurant, as well as other restaurants and bars in Charleston and beyond. There will also be a casual taproom for patrons to visit and consume beer onsite and purchase beer to-go. Chefs Geoff Marquardt and Johnny Singleton will oversee the in-house kitchen, which features a wood-fired brick oven and an onsite Polish smokehouse.

In Birmingham, AL Cahaba Brewing added an Irish Stout 4.4% to its canned offerings. Head Brewer and partner Eric Meyer says the beer is a favorite at the breweries Shamrock Festival on Saint Patrick's Day, and decided to offer it in a new format this year. "It's an old classic Irish Stout. The recipe is a very simple pale malt and roasted barley," Meyer said. "It's got the strong roast character that you would expect to find in a good stout, as well as a little bit of a fruity character that comes through from the yeast we use." Cahaba Brewing is located in the old Continental Gin building in the Avondale district where it relocated early in 2016. The breweries 30 BBL system is churning out great beers for the Alabama market.

In Mobile, AL look for Haint Blue Brewing that launched back in February. It is located in the former Crystal Ice Co. warehouse. After spending time in Washington State and discovering the great beers and breweries around Mount Rainer, owner Keith Sherrill decided to bring craft beer back to his home state of Alabama. He and Head Brewer Matt Wheeler launched with a Porter and IPA and plan to have their taproom open soon, but currently their beer is available at local bars and restaurants. Around the corner and soon to be open is Serda Brewing, in an old Goodyear Tire Center. The brewery has recently poured the brew house slab and is working trench drains with framing, plumbing and electrical work for the tap room. Their cellar slab and trench drains are done, with gas lines run as well. These guys should be open soon! After months of prep work Blue Pants Brewery has added a canning line to their operations in Huntsville. Look for the first two releases in local stores, Amber and Chocolate Oatmeal Porter.

In Chamblee, Ga a new brewpub has opened that has an Asian flair. Hopstix was opened by Andy Tan, who grew up in Indonesia and moved to Atlanta in 1997 where he graduated from Georgia State University. Andy is also an award-winning homebrewer. His family has been in the restaurant business so he brings a wealth of experience to this new operation. Bob Townsend of Atlanta Restaurants reports that Hopstix “combines elements of a sushi bar and a beer bar with the atmosphere and service of a chef-driven restaurant.” Andy will act as the Head Brewer for Hopstix, while he has brought on Executive Chef Dony Raymond to run the kitchen and develop menu items. Look for a “beer-friendly menu that features Asian-fusion starters and entrees, along with robata grill and raw bar items like the Hopstix Sushi Corndog with beer-battered fried spicy tuna roll, and spicy mayo.” Andy has a new 5 BBL brewery that will pour from 10 taps that will serve house brewed beers, while another 10 taps will offer local brews from around Atlanta. Chris Collier assists in the brewing. At the opening in March Hopstix had a Pale Ale, Dark Mild, with a blonde ale and IPA on the way!

Also new to Atlanta is Steady Hand Beer Co., a new craft brewery founded by brothers Brian and Kevin Sullivan. Founder and Brewmaster Brian Sullivan was a former head brewer for 3 Sheeps Brewing, and has a background in microbiology and chemistry. His brother Kevin Sullivan takes on the role of CEO and is no stranger to the world of beer business and commercial real estate. His expertise in business development, marketing, sales, and management nearly rival his love for beer and bluegrass! They are assisted by Randy Wise who is the Engineer and Operations Manager. He has over 15 years of home brewing experience that he brings to the table as well as being an engineer. Look for the beers to be balanced, creative, and drinkable. They start offering Paradise Waits IPA 5.2% that is a lush balance between citrus, lingering pine, and crisp bitterness as well as a Farmhouse Ale 5.2%. Both beers will be available on draft and in 22 oz. bottles.

Carrollton, GA has a new brewery in Printer's Ale Manufacturing Company. Elliott Hall and Greg Smith will start with four core beers. Greg’s family has been in the printing business for 30 years in Carrollton, and just over a year ago he decided to take his hobby of home brewing to the next level by adding the brewery in a second building that his printing business was not fully utilizing. His Managing Partner Elliot Hall assisted in building the brewery and will assist in operations. Printers Ale has hired Head Brewer Brian Quinn and Assistant Brewer Nick Moran to man the kettles and fermentation tanks. Look for four core beers, a Porter, Amber Ale, Golden ale, and IPA.

Augusta, GA welcomed the new Savannah River Brewing Company at the end of February. This is Augusta’s second brewery to open recently. Riverwatch Brewery opened last spring just down the street. Savannah River Brewing Company is located at 813 5th St., and owners are brothers Steve and Dave Ellison who have hired Head Brewer Mark Walters to make the magic happen! Look for the Augusta-centric brand to include beers Dynamite Brown Ale, Westobou Amber Ale and No Jacket Required Pilsner in addition to smaller one-off releases.

The new Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen opened in Macon, GA downtown at 450 Third Street. Brewing duties are headed up by longtime home brewer Brian Whitley. Piedmont Brewery & Kitchen is a brewpub offering handcrafted beer, honest food and a family friendly urban arcade. Brian and partner Richie Jones of the Downtown Grille have teamed up on the venture. They open with beers including Porch Song Pale Ale, White Rabbit Belgian Wit, Midnight Rider Robust Porter, and an IPA done with Mosaic hops. Jon Roberts of Max Lagers was on hand for their first brew, a Golden Blonde Ale.

Atlanta, GA Eventide Brewing adds 'The A' IPA to their list of year round offerings. Available in the Georgia market starting Spring 2017, ‘The A’ will be Eventide’s first year round addition to the brewery’s portfolio since the release of its Dry Irish Nitro Stout in 2014. "Eventide is currently expanding production by 75 percent,” said Nathan Cowan, Eventide Brewing CEO.  “This is the largest expansion that Eventide has undertaken at one time to date and will allow us to push out more styles, in more package options, to more accounts, and has paved the way for a long anticipated year-round release of an IPA." Named after the city from which it hails and having a fantastic, straightforward taste, beer lovers can look forward to experiencing this solid IPA with layers of flavor both on draft and in cans. “We’re very excited about the launch of Eventide’s first year round IPA,” said Eventide Brewing Brew Master, Geoffrey Williams. Huge hop aromas and flavors of tropical fruits, bright citrus, and spicy pine melds with a very clean profile and firm bitter finish to deliver an “A” class IPA experience. “I spent a great deal of time researching available IPA styles and took the components from each we liked best,” explained Williams on the process of crafting the beer.  “The malt profile is New England, the yeast profile is East Coast, and the hop profile is a fusion of West Coast and Pacific Northwest. The result is a juicy, slightly hazy, well balanced IPA with amazing flavor from start to finish.”

Arches Brewing in Atlanta is growing into a new 20 BBL system and offers new memberships to help fund the project. They announced that they have raised enough capital to purchase a new 20 BBL brew house that should have arrived by press time. The brewery started operating with a 3 BBL system when it opened last April as a true nano-brewery. Arches is now unable to keep up with demand for their products and are starting this expansion a full twelve months prior to their original projections!

Red Hare Brewing, Marietta, GA introduces their latest seasonal, Ain’t That a Peach Berliner Weisse 3.9%, that delivers the taste of a classic German beer with a little Southern charm! Brewed with peaches, pilsen, wheat, and 2-row with German Hallertau hops, Ain’t That a Peach is a refreshing experience from start to finish. Lactobacillus added in the kettle creates just the right amount of lactic acid tartness to blend with the sweet peaches. “When we were making our Berliner Weisse, we wanted it to combine the best of German and Southern culture,”  says Roger Davis, Red Hare Founder and Managing Partner.

When Terrapin Beer Co, Athens, GA and Skybound collaborated to re-release The Walking Dead Blood Orange IPA in 6-pack cans this year, one beer wasn’t enough to satisfy. Raising the stakes they have added a second more limited edition brew to the project. Lucille 9.4%, is an Imperial Stout brewed with blackstrap molasses and vanilla, then aged on hickory, maple, and white ash. Available only in 500 ml bottles with a label that does the barbed wire wrapped bat justice. The limited release was available in late February. The Monster Beer Tour line is back with Cumulus Lupulus, an unfiltered Imperial IPA 8.1%. The beer is a new variation of IPA for Terrapin. Cumulus Lupulus boasts over four pounds of Amarillo, Citra, Galaxy, and Mosaic hops per barrel. Since there’s no filtration, everything is bolder. Tropical, juicy aromas give way to a smooth bitterness and a full mouthfeel. Packing so many hops into the brew and not getting too much bitterness meant a shift in hop additions. The brewers shifted most of the hop editions to the whirlpool. “The goal of the late hop additions was to bring out the incredible aroma and flavors of the hops by not driving off oils and volatiles as well as not extracting too much bitterness” explains Jack Albanese, Terrapin’s Director of Operations. The beer is also dry hopped at three different stages to infuse even more hop aroma and flavor.

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