I spent most of last Wednesday in our Sprinter van…running the gauntlet of I-40 for close to 500 miles.
I met with our buddy Uli Bennowitz, from the Weeping Radish Brewery, by the side of the road and dropped off our first shipment of malt! Weeping Radish is located near Manteo and focuses primarily on German styles. Although their beer is not currently available in WNC, they are expanding their distribution channels and offer shipping services on their website, if you are interested. Some people around Asheville may not realize it, but Uli was responsible for “legalizing” the first microbrewery in North Carolina almost 25 years ago. He has since branched off into an array of new business ventures focusing on locally grown, sustainable meat and produce. If you are planning a trip to the Outer Banks…check ‘em out.
After our brief meeting, I headed for Fullsteam in Durham. These guys are pioneers in their own right….anyone who can make beer out of red beans and rice or kudzu deserves some attention. They have been a big supporter of our project since its infancy, and we really appreciate the support. They are planning to run some test batches using our Heritage Malt and Carolina Rye next week. Maybe a nice spicy rye IPA release before Thanksgiving??? I’ll also take this opportunity to make a shameless plea for the bottling or re-release of the Cheerwine Saison…
Learn more about their “plow to pint” approach to brewing at http://www.fullsteam.ag/
My final stop was the riverside “happening hamlet” of Saxapahaw. I met with Ben, the proprietor of Haw River Farmhouse Ales, to discuss their new brewery slated to open sometime next year. We kicked around a lot of different ideas on how to build the beer economy in our state…agritourism, local sourcing of ingredients, and building relationships with farmers in every region.
Follow their progress at http://hawriverales.blogspot.com/
I arrived home sublimely exhausted…knowing that NC’s beer scene will continue to develop into a vibrant and durable part of our economy. Who knows? Maybe a southern style ale, saison, or hefeweizen is closer than we think.