2006 | REGIONAL | SOUTHEAST
By Bobby Bush
345 S. Elm St.
Greensboro, NC 27401
Pisgah Brewing Co.
150 Eastside Business Park
Black Mountain, NC 28711
Depot Street Brewing
904 Depot St.
Jonesborough, TN 37659
Liberty Steakhouse &
914 Mall Loop Road
(Oak Hollow Mall)
High Point, NC 27262
Azalea Coast Brewing Co.
3406-C Merchant Ct.
Wilmington, NC 28405
Old Dominion Brewing Co.
(Micro with pub)
44633 Guilford Dr., Bay 112
Ashburn, VA 20147
Edenton Brewing Co.
(Micro with pub)
1249-A Wicker Dr.
Raleigh, NC 27604
Sweetwater Brewing Co.
(Micro with pub)
195 Ottley Dr.
Atlanta, GA 30324
Spanish Springs Brewing
1105 Main St. (in The Villages)
Lady Lake, FL 32159
The first-ever Carolinas Championship of Beer (CCB) was a
rousing success. With 133 entrees in 65 categories, the blind-judged
competition awarded 19 gold, 30 silver and 38 bronze medals
to 26 breweries. Best of Show winners, announced during April
22’s fourth annual Hickory Hops festival, went to Natty
Greene’s (first place), Pisgah Brewing (second) and
Depot Street (third). Scott Christoffel, brewer at Greensboro’s
18-month-old Natty Greene’s, was not on hand to accept
the engraved first-place plaque awarded to his aged Tarheel
Tarwebier, but his assistants were more than exuberant when
his name was called.
The winning beer is a Belgian-style Flanders sour ale made
with several strains of bacteria and wild yeast. Christoffel
has been refining the recipe for over five years, though with
14 to 16 months in conditioning, his sour ale requires a “fine
balance that takes patience to tune.” Though Christoffel
played a role in crafting winning beers while working for
Left Hand Brewing in Longmont, Colo., and Ft. Lauderdale’s
Independence Brewing, the CCB gold medal and Best of Show
are his first official accolades as head brewer.
David Quinn, head brewer for Pisgah Brewing, another relatively
new brewery from Black Mountain, N.C., was busy pouring his
organic ales when the call came out for second place in the
Best of Show round. The shiny plaque was bestowed upon his
savory Solstice, a Belgian-style tripel.
Rounding out the winning trio, from mountainous Jonesboro,
Tenn., Depot Street brewer Michael Foster was elated with
his third-place showing for South Bound, a sweet Scottish-style
The CCB competition was patterned after the long-running
Best Florida Beer Championship, which announced the winners
of its statewide competition in late February. First-place
Best of Show honors went to McGuire’s Irish Pub of Pensacola,
Fla., for brewer Steve Fried’s I’ll Have What
the Gentleman on the Floor Is Having barley wine. David Doble,
brewer for Tampa Bay Brewing, scored second place with his
One Night Stand in the American Pale Ale category. Third place
went to Yuengling Light Lager brewers John Houseman and Randy
On a much broader scale, Southern winners at the 2006 World
Beer Cup, which judged 2,221 beers from 540 breweries in 56
Gold: Schwarzbier from Gordon Biersch, Chattanooga, Tenn.;
and Pale Ale from Diamond Bear, Little Rock, Ark.
Silver: Black Mocha Stout from Highland Brewing, Asheville,
N.C.; and St. Nick’s Weizenbock from Sweetwater Tavern/Great
American Restaurants, Centreville, Va.
Bronze: Amberjaque Rye Ale and Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale,
both from Lazy Magnolia Brewing, Kiln, Miss.; Millennium Ale
from McGuire’s, Pensacola, Fla.; Smolder Bock from Outer
Banks Brewing Station, Kill Devil Hills, N.C.; and Savannah
Pale Ale from Old Savannah Brewing, Savannah, Ga.
In mid-January, following a year’s sabbatical from
the brewing business, craft-beer veteran Jim McLennan took
over for Eric Lamb at Liberty Steakhouse & Brewery in
High Point, N.C. McLennan, who previously brewed for Black
Rock Brewing in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and for the Gordon Biersch
micro in San Jose, has settled in comfortably at the brewery.
He gets plenty of advice from Lamb’s well-meaning brewpub
Coinciding with McLennan’s arrival, Lamb stepped into
the knee-high boots of Liberty - Myrtle Beach brewer Josh
Quigley, who joined partner David Epstein full time at New
South Brewing Company, the restaurant group’s kegging
microbrewery, also located in Myrtle Beach. Lamb has made
a few minor changes in some of Quigley’s brewpub recipes
to reflect the tastes of his old North Carolina clientele,
though he was shocked at the volume of lighter beers consumed
in the beach tourist pub. Since spring break, Liberty has
been moving over 35 barrels of beer each week. Lamb is filtering
lager daily to keep up. The Broadway at the Beach establishment
has been completely redecorated, including the addition of
an awning over the outdoor beer garden.
A new North Carolina microbrewery opened last September.
Encouraged by the popularity of his homebrewed ales and lagers,
Ethan Hall decided to add a 10-barrel brewhouse, called Azalea
Coast Brewing Company, to his homebrew supply store. Hall’s
German doppelbock-style, 8.5% abv beer called Navigator Lager
is his best seller. Fokker Ale, named for the Red Baron’s
aircraft, not the movie, is a golden ale, while Buccaneer
Brown Ale is of European brown (not nut brown) ancestry. Azalea
Coast Chocolate Stout began as a seasonal but has been added
to the regular lineup. Hall’s first commercial batch
of Azalea Ale, made with fresh local strawberries, should
be out now.
Designed as a late-summer seasonal, Single Malt Scotch Ale
will have one full year in the conditioning tank by the time
it’s released. According to Hall, who apparently samples
the conditioned beer frequently, the 6.5% abv smooth and complex
ale just “keeps getting better and better.” Azalea
Coast already has over a dozen outlets in the coastal Wilmington
area, though the Carolina Ale House in Cary, 130 miles north,
near Raleigh, is the new company’s No. 1 customer. To
facilitate wider distribution, the micro is installing a 22-ounce
Edenton Brewing Company, a Raleigh, N.C., microbrewery, recently
released its newest seasonal beer. A classic German-style
lager, PickelSchticker Pilsner, made from German barley and
hops, is “the perfect complement to the beginning of
the barbecue season.”
Atlanta’s Sweetwater Brewing opened its new tasting
room on April 2. The facility, which also houses the nine-year-old
micro’s corporate offices, replaces the trailer and
porta-johns they have used since moving into the facility
several years ago. Sweetwater, which won the GABF 2002 Small
Brewery of the Year award, used the tasting room grand opening
celebration to introduce its newest beer. Hummer is a rich,
yeasty Belgian white that looks almost like a frothy glass
of pulpy orange juice. Tours and tastings are held on Mondays
and Thursdays beginning at 4:20.
Correcting an error in fact that I made in the last issue,
I’m pleased to report that Spanish Springs Brewing Company
is alive and well and brewing on a regular basis. It is true
that long-term brewer Buzz Brown departed the retirement-community
brewpub. Where I missed the boat was that 11-year Hops veteran
Jamie Schee has taken over the brewhouse. Schee, who spent
about six months working for BJ’s Brewery in Brea, Calif.,
before returning to his home state to a more hospitable economic
climate, began working for the Lady Lake, Fla., brewpub on
Since the brewery sat idle for a month after Brown’s
departure, Schee has been busy playing catch-up. With the
summer slowdown nearing, he’s busy making lagers while
trying to reduce inventory from his current eight beers on
tap. New to Spanish Springs are Lighthouse Pale Ale, a gold-medal-winning
IPA at the Best Florida Beer Championships 2006, and Coffee
Oatmeal Stout. Expect a hefe for the summer seasonal and a
much-anticipated Oktoberfest beer for autumn. Schee is also
planning a Belgian strong called Notre Buena, which will be
a cooperative effort with former brewer Brown, who is still
putting a business plan together for a new venture.
South Carolina’s version of Pop the Cap is out of subcommittee
and headed to the full House Judiciary Committee for review.
House Bill 3804 may find its way to the House floor this year.
The grassroots effort to lift the 6% abv limit on beers sold
in South Carolina, patterned after similar successful movements
in neighboring North Carolina and Georgia, has been gathering
steam for over a year. See popthecapsc.org for updates on
the struggle to free the people of the Palmetto State from
beer oppression and to learn how you can help.
June 3 greets the third Blues ’n Brews Festival in
Fayetteville, N.C. Campbellton Landing will host food, regional
blues acts and over 75 different beers. Activities for children
are also scheduled. For details, scroll down to June at cfrt.org/artman/publish/article_99.shtml.
Also happening that same day is the 23rd International Beer
Tasting at Riverwalk Marketplace in New Orleans. Try 504-486-5511
or wyes.org/events/beer for tickets and schedule.
The 10th Old Dominion Beer Festival runs for three days beginning
June 23. More than 50 breweries and loads of fun will be on
hand. See olddominion.com.
Friday, July 7, sees the Folioweekly Beer & Music Festival
at Alltel Stadium Touchdown Club West in Jacksonville, Fla.
Details are sketchy, so check folioweeklybeerfest.com
for more info.
The fifth Music City Brewers Festival takes place on July
29 from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Scenic Park in Nashville. There
will be plenty of food, music (of course) and beer from 35
breweries. Some 4,000 people attended last year’s sold-out
In conjunction with the Brewers Association National Homebrewers
Conference in Orlando on June 22–24 (see beertown.org),
the Central Florida Home Brewers have several events planned.
The afternoon of June 21 is the Great Gator Tail Brewing Gadget
Extravaganza, followed by a raffle and pub crawl. Rossi’s
Pizza Buffet Lunch is on tap for June 22. Contact Darryl Hickey
for more info.
Bobby Bush is just a good ol’ Southern
boy who loves his beer rich and tasty and despises all things
NASCAR. Comments and sarcasm are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.