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AUG/SEP 2006 | REGIONAL | SOUTHEAST

Southern Brewing
By Bobby Bush
 


Carolina Brewery
460 W. Franklin St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
919-942-1800

Orlando Brewing
(micro)
1301 Atlanta Ave.
Orlando, FL 32806
407-872-1117

Titan Brewing
(micro)
2 Independent Dr.
Jacksonville, FL 32202
904-356-7272

Carolina Beer & Beverage
(micro)
110 Barley Park Ln.
Mooresville, NC 28115
888-601-BREW

Atlanta Brewing Co.
(micro)
1219 Williams St.
Atlanta, GA 30309
404-275-6701

Thomas Creek Brewing Co.
(micro)
2054 Piedmont Hwy.
Greenville, SC 29605
864-605-1166

French Broad Brewery
(micro)
101-D Fairview Rd.
Asheville, NC 28803
828-277-0222

Dixie Brewing Co.
(reopening August 2007)
2537 Tulane Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70119
504-822-8711

Boscos Squared
2120 Madison Ave.
Overton Square
Memphis, TN 38104
901-432-2222

Dothan Brewing
191 N. Foster St.
Dothan, AL 36303
334-699-2750

 

Brewer Jon Connolly and the folks at Carolina Brewery in Chapel Hill have scheduled an all–North Carolina beer dinner for August 3. In addition to a selection of brews from host brewpub Highland Brewing (Asheville) and The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery (Farmville), a four-course dinner will feature a menu of North Carolina–raised vegetables and meat.

Carolina chef Andrew Forester, a CIA grad, has prepared an interesting meal pairing food and beer. Highland owner Oscar Wong, Duck-Rabbit owner/brewer Paul Philippon and Connolly will all make short presentations during the all-inclusive dinner. Call 919-942-1800 for more information.
Carolina Brewery’s next strong ale should be up soon. An 8% abv doppelbock, it will join Connolly’s Firecracker Pale Ale, an American pale, as a summertime seasonal.

After months of uncertainty trailed by a long bout of moving pains, Orlando Brewing has resurfaced in its new location. Director of Brewing Operations Ed Canty fired up the brew-kettle in mid-March, followed by the early April opening of the microbrewery’s taproom, which is open seven days a week and offers bar snacks and 20 different beers. Canty’s KISS beers, made from “simple” recipes incorporating only one type of hops, embody the Orlando Brewing all-organic line: Blonde, Pale, Mild and Red ales. Currently augmenting the regular foursome in the taproom are Old Pelican, an English pale ale, and Black Water Dry Porter, a brown porter style.

Canty recently staged a special tapping party to introduce his newest recipe. Brewed to coincide with the AHA’s National Homebrewers Conference, Doble Imperial IPA was created to honor John Doble, the revered Tampa Bay Brewing brewer who died in a tragic fire several years ago. This high-gravity ale packs 136 bittering units, and 10 barrels of it were produced. In his first attempt at partigyle brewing, Canty used the second runnings to produce BVC, a 123-IBU brew intended as a treat for the brewery’s many volunteer workers that Orlando has dubbed its Brewing Volunteer Corps. The supple brew will also be served at a conference beer dinner hosted by beer writer Randy Mosher.

An industrial park micro, Orlando Brewing's taproom also offers a nice selection of guest beers, including Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, Anchor Liberty, Chimay Tripel, Harpoon IPA, Lindemans Framboise, Abita Turbodog and more. Orlando commissioned its bottling line by packaging Laughing Gator Russian Imperial Stout, which was brewed by a multitude of Florida homebrewers in 10-gallon batches as their gift to homebrewing conference attendees.

When all the dust settles from Orlando’s forced relocation, made necessary by a new road routed through the middle of the old brewery, the company’s annual capacity will more than double. Unlike most Florida breweries, Orlando is licensed to sell kegs and bottled beer to go.

To comply with Florida’s screwy laws, recently remodeled Cellar Grille is shedding its brewery. Separately owned and operated, the new business will be called Titan Brewing Company and will become a distributing microbrewery providing beer to Cellar Grille and other Jacksonville-area bars and restaurants. Eric Lumen remains behind the 20-barrel brewhouse, just as he did for the facility’s original owners, Charlotte-based Southend Brewery. Lumen specializes in American-style ales, though he keeps several European brews in rotation, including a few lagers. Plans for the new Titan lineup include four regular brews: Sunshine Blonde, Mulligan Red, Knuckledragger Oatmeal Stout and one seasonal, which for now is a snappy Bohemian Pils.

State law requires that all of Titan’s production be sold through a distributor. Even beers destined for Cellar Grille, which resides literally on the other side of the dividing wall, must leave the premises, dwell in a warehouse for a night and then return on the next delivery.

That inconvenience allows Titan’s owners to better utilize the brewery’s capacity (20 barrels is too large for most brewpubs) by selling to other entities, including a new Cellar Grille under construction and another on the drawing board.

Carolina Beer & Beverage (CBB) has a new brew on tap. The Mooresville, N.C., microbrewery recently introduced Strawberry Blonde to rave reviews. According to company President John Stritch, the amber-hued ale's caramel, malty taste causes the natural berry tart flavor to “pop out.” “Men like it too,” he states unapologetically. CBB has a new tour center that seats over 100 people and has expanded its tour schedule to thrice each week. The ’40s bar overlooks the brewery’s new canning machine. First out in tall, slender 12-ounce cans will be Carolina Blonde, the company’s light but flavorful flagship brew. Cottonwood Irish Red will follow in more traditionally shaped 16-ounce cans.

Brewer Dave McClure attributes the recent and rapid growth of Atlanta Brewing Company to the arrival of new investors about two years ago. Reshuffling responsibility within the 12-year-old micro’s organization created a more efficient system, allowing McClure and President Greg Kelly to concentrate on their strengths: brewing and selling great beer, respectively.

Though beers like Red Brick Ale and Peachtree Pale Ale are still distributed only in Georgia, Atlanta Brewing is on a 3,800-barrel pace this year, compared to about 2,200 barrels produced in 2005.

A Massachusetts-born homebrewer, McClure had no prior professional brewing experience when he joined Atlanta Brewing six years ago. While plans are being made to introduce Atlanta beers to Alabama and Tennessee consumers, the Georgia Department of Transportation is scheming to build a bridge on the site. Sooner or later the company will have to relocate. When they move, Atlanta’s owners hope to replace the brewhouse with a new 18,000-barrel brewery. In recognition of its growing popularity, Atlanta Brewing has added another day, the Sabbath, to its weekly tour and tasting schedule. Tasting begins at 5:00 on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays followed by brewery tours at 6:15.

Thomas Creek Brewery has added another contract-brew to its fold. Marietta, Ga.’s Woodstock Beer Brands is marketing two new tie-dyed beers brewed by the Greenville, S.C., micro. Woodstock Pilsner is a traditional light-bodied German-style lager targeted for mainstream drinkers, while Woodstock IPA is actually a double IPA packing 8.5% abv. Founded in 1997 by brewer Tom Davis, Thomas Creek is a family-owned and operated microbrewery that has a nice line of its own self-branded beers, including chewy Multi-Grain Ale, rich Doppelbock, hoppy IPA, lilting Vanilla Cream Ale, crisp Pilsner and others. Kegged and bottled Thomas Creek beers are available throughout Tennessee and both Carolinas.

Even beers destined for the other side of the dividing wall must leave the premises, dwell in a warehouse for a night and return on the next delivery.

Asheville, N.C.’s French Broad Brewing claims to be the “first microbrewery to convert to waste vegetable oil as [its] primary fuel source.” According to brewer/owner Jonas Rembert, the boiler and a French Broad promotional vehicle, Vice President Jason Smith’s military Blazer, have been converted to burn alternative fuel provided by Corn A Copia, a local green fuel company. When Rembert found that he “could save money and do the right thing socially and environmentally,” the company signed up immediately. “It started as a business decision and consequently spurred the evolution of our progressive values,” Rembert said, as well as a new company motto: “Global Beer. Asheville Flavor.”

French Broad has nine employees, including new brewer Bobby Krusen, who previously brewed for New Knoxville Brewing. (Bobby’s brother, Al, brews for Knoxville’s Downtown Grill & Brewery.) French Broad recently increased production capacity by 70 percent with the addition of two new fermenters and a bright tank. Summer seasonal Laurel Country White, along with six other beers, is available at French Broad’s popular taproom, in kegs and growlers to go and at many local bars and restaurants.

Severely damaged by the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, Dixie Brewing is not expected to be back in business for another year. Owners Joe and Kendra Bruno, who took over the then-struggling company in 1985, had built volume at the almost 100-year-old brewery back up to 50,000 barrels annually when the levees broke. Dixie Beer is recognized universally as the signature beer of Louisiana and New Orleans, and the Brunos must invest millions to replace destroyed equipment — much of it antiquated — and stolen property (the brewery had been ransacked) to bring Dixie Beer, Blackened Voodoo and Jazz Amber back to their rightful home. The new Dixie Brewing will be a modern, automated facility centered around its unique cypress conditioning tanks. Dixie beers may make an early return by way of a contract-brewer.

In April, Boscos Brewing Company head brewer and co-founder Chuck Skypeck was awarded the Brewers Association Recognition Award. This honor is the industry's highest individual award for contributions to craft brewing. Steve Bradt, head brewer at Free State Brewing Company and board member of the Brewers Association, recognized Skypeck's tireless advocacy for the Brewers Association and the industry. "We all owe him a lot for the tremendous work that he put into the merger that created the Brewers Association." Presented every year to an individual or company whose inspiration, enthusiasm and support contributes to the brewpub and microbrewery movement, the award was given to Skypeck at the Brewers Association annual Craft Brewers Conference held in Seattle.

Memphis-based Boscos owns and operates brewpubs in Nashville, Memphis and Little Rock, Ark. Last year the company, which was “founded as a comfortable neighborhood gathering place that offers great food, accompanied by our own special craft-brewed beers,” announced a new franchise program designed to spread Boscos’ good cheer and, eventually, beer from the company’s own microbrewery, which is still in the planning stage.

In a state known for the word “no” — as in “No off-premise sales,” “No Sunday sales” and “No beer over 6% alcohol” — Rick Lewellyn opened Dothan Brewing Company in Dothan, Ala., on April 1. No joke. Brewer Wayne Womble, alum of Buckhead Brewing in the Atlanta area, has impressed locals with his craft. He keeps five beers on tap in the former JC Penney building-turned-brewpub. Though the menu features German cuisine, including homemade bratwurst, Womble brews a worldwide variety of beer. A new batch of unfiltered hefeweizen is the summer seasonal, accompanied by regulars Blonde, Amber, Urban Legend Pale Ale and Johnny McBrown, a nut brown ale.

NEWS IN BRIEF
Athens, Ga., contract brewer Terrapin Beer recently introduced a new bottled beer. Terrapin American Imperial Pilsner, which has been available in kegs for a year, joins other fine turtle-esque brews, such as Rye Pale Ale, Cream Ale, Big Hoppy Monster and Wake-n-Bake Coffee Oatmeal Stout, on shelves and bars in Georgia and the Carolinas.

Front Street Brewing, a Wilmington, N.C., brewpub, has closed.

“The first authentic hofbräuhaus in America,” Hofbräuhaus Newport was ranked in the “Top 10 Brewpubs in 2005” by the American Brewers Association. The Newport, Ky., brewpub ranked sixth and was the only Southern establishment recognized in the top 10, which was dominated by California, with three brewpubs. Colorado and Washington each had two brewpubs on the list.

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 bobbywbush@charter.net.

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