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Southern Brewing
By Bobby Bush

Billed as “This Ain’t Your Grandma’s Breakfast,” the world’s first barley wine breakfast was held at Dunedin Brewery in December. It was organized by homebrewer and former Florida Brewers Guild Secretary Ken Koenig, and 30 people gathered at the Tampa-area brewpub to enjoy food prepared by Chef Travis Kruger and, of course, a challenging selection of hefty brews assembled by Cellermaster Koenig.

Beef brisket, marinated with Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale, was accompanied by eggs and bitter baked apples that had been cooked in Dunedin’s Farm Ale. Bigfoot 2000 was the first-course beverage. Blue Kilted Biscuits comprised the next round. Stilton Cheese Scones were topped with a choice of Oregon Marion Berry Jelly, Citrus Jalapeno Pepper Glaze or Catch a Fire Mango Chutney. The 2003 vintage Bearded Pat’s Barleywine from Bluegrass Brewing in Louisville, Ky., served as a chaser.

Highland Balls completed this far-from-light 9:00 a.m. meal. Two homemade sauces accompanied the deep-fried Scotch Eggs. One was a fiery-hot barbecue sauce made with “I’ll Have What the Gentleman on the Floor is Having Barleywine, 2003” from McGuire’s Irish Pub (Pensacola, Fla.), and the other was a more palatable sauce made with Denver’s Broadway Brewing 1999 Roundhouse Barleywine and whole English mustard seeds. Accompanying libations were the brews used in the sauces.

Following the meal, the entire ensemble packed into vans and paid a visit to brewer Buzz Brown at Spanish Springs Brewing in nearby Lady Lake, a sprawling retirement community, and then to the one-year-old St. Sebastiaan Belgian Microbrewery in Spring Hill, Fla.

Event planner Koenig is working with the Florida Brewers Guild on the statewide promotional group’s next event. The Florida Beer Competition will determine the Sunshine State’s best beers. Winners will be announced at the Florida Brewers Guild Annual Beer Fest and Brewers Ball, held February 19–20 in Tampa. See bestfloridabeer.org and floridabrewersguild.com.

Another big beer event for Floridians is the F.A.B. Fest 2005, which will be held in March at Bayfront Park in the heart of downtown Miami. The six-day Food, Arts and Beverage fest begins with a kick-off tapping party on Tuesday, March 1, and runs until last call on Sunday, March 6. That final day includes Dragon Boat Races on Biscayne Bay, a trade session for industry professionals, a VIP cask ale reception, the final round of the bartender competition and an eight-hour beer, food and art festival, which also has sessions on Friday and Saturday. Check fabfest.com for the complete schedule.

September saw the opening of Thoroughbreds Grill & Brewery in Leesburg, Va. Brewmaster Dean Lake, who has a diploma in Technical Brewing Science from Siebel Institute, has been part of the project almost since its inception. Previously a brewer at Old Dominion, Lake keeps six ales and lagers plus a cask-conditioned ale and a couple of guest beers on tap to complement the “American bistro cuisine” of Executive Chef Jeff Rodger. Rodger is a grad of the Culinary Institute of America and has cooked in New Orleans and Washington, D.C.

Working with a 10-barrel brewhouse situated in the center of the dining area, Lake plans to rotate beers frequently. Among the maybe-regulars are Thoroughbreds Pale Ale (English style) and Fifty Cat Ale (an IPA). Available now, Dry Mill Keller Pils is a light, unfiltered lager. Blackstrap Porter is bolstered with molasses in the brew-kettle, and Ball’s Bluff Barley Wine is a cold-weather pleaser. Thoroughbreds is situated in the new 50 Catoctin office complex John Bryce gets around.

The former owner/brewer of Blacksburg Brewing, a Christiansburg, Va., micro, is now working the bottling line for Old Dominion in Ashburn, Va., with hopes of joining the brewing staff when an opening becomes available. Following the demise of his short-lived company, Bryce manned the brew-kettle for Capitol City in Arlington, Va., before taking the Old Dominion position.

Although it was originally slated for last August, it now appears that February will be the month that seasoned brewer Jamie Bartholomaus begins brewing in Winston-Salem, N.C. As of late December, his 15-barrel Foothills Brewing equipment (which previously served defunct Cottonwood Brewery in Boone, N.C.) was in place, in need of plumbing. With brewing license in hand and labels approved, Bartholomaus and partners — Brian Cole, a media expert; Matt Masten, a local banker and financial advisor; and Bob Hiller, owner of Blue Ridge Brewing, a Greenville, S.C., brewpub — are all anxiously looking forward to the grand opening of Winton-Salem’s first brewpub.

With little fanfare, Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing Company opened in downtown Greensboro, N.C., on August 1. According to well-traveled brewer Scott Christoffel, the brewpub’s reception has been “really good.” He already has the seven-barrel brewhouse working overtime, serving about 20 barrels each week. An 18-year industry veteran, Christoffel began his career in Winter Park, Fla., and most recently was head brewer for Left Hand/Tabernash Brewing of Longmont, Colo.

He is struggling to keep six beers on tap. With Natty Greene Pale Ale, Buckshot Amber Ale, Guilford Golden Ale, Old Town Brown, and nitrogenized General Stout for mainstays, Christoffel was pleased that his challenging seasonals, called Scott’s Honest Ales, have been well received by a growing legion of regulars. These special brews include a 48-IBU IPA and a gingerbready Christmas Beer.

Named to honor revolutionary patriot Nathaniel Greene, the brewpub features “pub fare to nicer fare,” including farm-raised catfish, handmade buffalo burgers and baby back ribs. Located in Greensboro’s historic district in a century-old building that was originally a hotel and later a grocery store, the brewpub has bars on two floors. Offices and a well-equipped banquet room reside on the third level. As if Christoffel has nothing else to do, Natty’s was just awarded the beer concession contract for the Greensboro Grasshoppers minor league baseball stadium.

Terrapin Beer Company recently introduced the second beer in its limited-edition Monster Beer Tour. As follow-up to October’s 8% abv/75-IBU Big Hoppy Monster, the Athens, Ga.-based contract brewer unleashed Wake-n-Bake Coffee Oatmeal Stout in January. According to brewer Brian “Spike” Buckowski, who also mans the brewhouse at Atlanta’s Five Seasons brewpub, the new 7.5% abv imperial stout has a pound of Costa Rican coffee in each barrel. It’s full-bodied, rich and thick. The Monster Beer series was designed to “have fun with beer” and to make the most of Georgia’s newly liberated alcohol law.

Terrapin began as a concept in 1997. With nothing but a business plan in hand, partners Buckowski and “marketing genius” John Cochran were unable to raise capital for a brewery. The company hired the now-defunct Atlanta micro Dogwood to brew their first full-scale beer in April 2002. Six months later, Terrapin’s Rye Pale Ale struck gold in the American Pale Ale category at the Great American Beer Festival. Cream Ale was introduced in recognition of the company’s second anniversary and earned a 2004 silver GABF medal!

Maryland’s Frederick Brewing now handles Terrapin’s brewing. Distribution is expanding beyond the central Georgia region. Look for kegged, and eventually bottled, Terrapin beers in Greenville and Columbia, S.C., and Asheville, N.C. And yes, Buckowski and Cochran still have plans to establish their own brewery. Investors, scarce and uninterested in the late 1990s, are now calling Terrapin with offers of financial assistance.

Dunedin Brewery | Visit Website
937 Douglas Ave.
Dunedin, FL 34698
(727) 736-0606

Thoroughbreds Grill & Brewery | Visit Website
50 Catoctin Cir.
Leesburg, VA 20176
(703) 777-5785

Old Dominion | Visit Website
44663 Guilford Dr., Bay 112
Ashburn, VA 24060
(703) 724-9100

Foothills Brewing Co.
638 W. Fourth St.
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
(336) 777-3348

Greenshields Brewing | Visit Website
214 E. Martin St.
Raleigh, NC 27601
(919) 829-0214

Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing Co. | Visit Website
345 Elm St.
Greensboro, NC 27401
(336) 274-1373

Terrapin Beer Co. | Visit Website
196 Alps Rd., #2-237
Athens, GA 30606
(888) 557-BEER

Bobby Bush is just a good ol’ Southern boy who loves his beer rich and tasty and despises all things NASCAR. He welcomes comments and sarcasm via email.


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