Southern Brew News February/March 2017 : Page 1

Feb/Mar 2017 VOL. 12 NO.1 By Bill Plott By Owen Ogletree geeks before craft beer raft beer has was cool love to spread entered our the gospel about the popular culture. basics of the beverage. Even here in With this in mind, here the Southeast, are six personal craft it has almost become beer wishes for the new mainstream. Much like year… early, ground-breaking, solid Rock & Roll 1. Support all that was eventually great craft beers in accepted by the world the Southeast, not just and led to a plethora what's new, trendy or of questionable, rare. less evocative, pop With sales of their facsimiles, craft beer once popular, flagship The author enjoys a classic Dusseldorf culture seems to be brews beginning to caught up in trendy altbier in a historic German beer hall. lag, brewers around the "beers of the moment" Southeast are forced -competing at all costs to produce a regular for attention and precious shelf space in a market stream of limited, unusual, one-off beers to flooded with new breweries. maintain cash flow and remain in the public eye. It's a fact that when great things like Many of these new-fangled beers are appealing exotic food, Rock & Roll or craft beer become and interesting, but most brewers still wish that integrated into mainstream culture, the tendency more beer lovers would occasionally revisit older exists to lose sight of what made these things craft favorites and avoid getting caught up in remarkable in the first place. The current the "if it's not impossible to find, why drink it?" popularity of craft beer is amazing and has been mentality. long overdue, but those of us who were craft beer Spread some love to little-known breweries. When there's a massive line at a beer festival brewery booth for a hot beer, walk right up to the quiet brewery table next door for a few samples. Alabama/ This tactic often leads to tasty surprises, and the Mississippi 7 lonely brewers will be happy for the interaction Tennessee ... 4 Georgia ....... 11 and feedback. C T Florida ....... 5 N.Carolina ....14 Louisiana .... 6 S. Carolina ... 15 See Wishes p.2 he burgeoning enterprises on “Brewery Row” has put a whole new spin on Huntsville, AL as a beer destination. Located within two blocks of each other on Clinton Avenue are three microbreweries, a homebrew supply store, several restaurants, an event center, a craft-beer centered bar and a growing number of other small businesses. The centerpiece of all this activity is Campus No. 805, a renovated school property that is home to two of the breweries – Straight to Ale and Yellowhammer. The third brewery, Salty Nut, is just down the street within easy walking distance. All have taprooms and welcome visitors. Straight to Ale – now the largest brewery in Alabama with two locations filling 65,000 square feet of floor space – might be called the anchor of the enterprise. Included within are a restaurant and arcade with a music venue in the planning stage. “It’s cool to take part in the revitalization of something like this. There’s a lot of history here,” said STA founder Dan Perry. The 13-acre facility was built in 1951 as S.R. Butler High School. When Butler relocated in 1967, the facility became Roy L. Stone Middle School, a function it served until it was closed in 2009. For five years, the Huntsville City School System property sat on the real estate market, empty and decaying. Along came Perry and a developer named Randy Schrimsher. “We needed more space. We were at capacity with 1,000 barrels of fermentation. We couldn’t expand where we were. We stumbled on the old school, which was falling apart,” said Perry. Schrimsher had been eyeing the Stone property for some time, but he only wanted the raw land that had been primarily the football field for warehouse development. He was not interested in the school building. However, the school system was in an “all or nothing” position. Finally, he came to terms with Randy Taylor, CFO of the school system, for the entire property. He brought in an engineer, who suggested that Schrimsher develop the school building. “I told him if he’d find a use for it, I’d talk about it, never expecting to hear from him again,” said Schrimsher. “About a month later, he called and said, ‘I’ve got a brewery that’s interested in that space.’” Thus, began Campus No. 805, with the named derived from the last three digits of the neighborhood’s ZIP code. Several months later Schrimsher was approached by Yellowhammer. That resulted in a brand-new building for them and the city park space between the two breweries. There are actually three buildings on the property. The old student union building is now referred to as the Retail Building. Seven of its eight tenant spots are filled. Among them are a salon, Rocket See Campus p.3

Craft Beer Wishes For The New Year

Owen Ogletree



Craft beer has entered our popular culture. Even here in the Southeast, it has almost become mainstream. Much like early, ground-breaking, solid Rock & Roll that was eventually accepted by the world and led to a plethora of questionable, less evocative, pop facsimiles, craft beer culture seems to be caught up in trendy "beers of the moment" competing at all costs for attention and precious shelf space in a market flooded with new breweries.

It's a fact that when great things like exotic food, Rock & Roll or craft beer become integrated into mainstream culture, the tendency exists to lose sight of what made these things remarkable in the first place. The current popularity of craft beer is amazing and has been long overdue, but those of us who were craft beer Geeks before craft beer was cool love to spread the gospel about the basics of the beverage. With this in mind, here are six personal craft beer wishes for the new year...



The author enjoys a classic Dusseldorf altbier in a historic German beer hall.

1. Support all great craft beers in the Southeast, not just what's new, trendy or rare.

With sales of their once popular, flagship brews beginning to lag, brewers around the Southeast are forced to produce a regular stream of limited, unusual, one-off beers to maintain cash flow and remain in the public eye.

Many of these new-fangled beers are appealing and interesting, but most brewers still wish that more beer lovers would occasionally revisit older craft favorites and avoid getting caught up in the "if it's not impossible to find, why drink it?" Mentality.

Spread some love to little-known breweries. When there's a massive line at a beer festival brewery booth for a hot beer, walk right up to the quiet brewery table next door for a few samples. This tactic often leads to tasty surprises, and the lonely brewers will be happy for the interaction and feedback.

2. Bump up the quality.

While most of the beer flowing from southeastern craft brewers ranks as technically admirable, a few breweries have a tendency to release an occasional beer with flaws. It's simply not acceptable these days to sell a beer with unpleasant earthy flavors, diacetyl, DMS or other major off-flavors. As the number of breweries in the Southeast expands, brewers are feeling increased pressure to I'm prove and maintain high quality. With the financial pressures of running a business and hoping that every batch of beer tastes good enough to send to the distributor, some head brewers can fool them selves into thinking that a defective beer is acceptable.

Involving a team of local beer writers, pub owners or homebrew judges in regular tastings and evaluations at the brewery for honest feedback can be extremely valuable. When given negative feedback, the best brewers don't get angry - they listen, research, tackle the problem and fix the beer.

3. Appreciate the hops in an IPA.

With another possible hop shortage on the horizon, some craft brewers seem to be searching for ways to get by with fewer hops. Sure, trendy new IPAs with fruit, coffee and other curious ingredients can be delicious and intriguing, but many craft beer purists are missing their beloved hop fix. America craft brewers are known for their IPAs that are packed with classic, New World hop aroma and flavor, and brewers around the world are now emulating this style. Adding a little grapefruit or pineapple juice or extract to an IPA can mimic aspects o f hop character, but there's simply no substitution for a well-balanced, flavorful, robust hop bill.



Wicked Weed scored a silver medal at the 2015 GABF for theirmagnificently hopped Pernicious American IPA.

4. Drink more cask ale.

There's no better way for a pub, restaurant or brewery to attract attention than by putting a well-made cask-conditioned ale on the bar. 10.8 gallon cask firkins allow brewers to have fun throwing in dry-hops and other special ingredients, but let's remember that every cask version of a beer is special. Try a draft version of a pale ale alongside a pint o f the same beer from cask. The draft beer will be foamy, cold, polished and feature a sharp, carbonic palate bite from the artificial carbon dioxide gas. In contrast, the unfiltered cask version will be carbonated naturally and softly from living yeast in the firkin and should be served at a cool, flavor-enhancing cellar tem perature of around 50-55 degrees F. The addition of dry-hops in the cask produces an elegant hop aroma and flavor, and pleasant esters from the secondary fermentation in the cask add to complexity. Basically, these will come across as tw o completely different beers.

It's painful to see a pub take delivery of a cask, immediately throw it up on the bar with no time to settle or vent, and proceed in serving a pint of "mud." Cask ales are like homebrew bottles with sediment - they require a couple of days to "calm down" in horizontal position to allow the sediment to settle in the belly of the cask. Casks must also be vented with wooden pegs before serving to be sure they aren't overly carbonated. Some brewers put too many special ingredients in the cask that contain fermentable sugars, and this can lead to spewing, foaming and too much pressure. Superb cask ale ranks as an art form.



Greg Rapp researches and revives historic German beer styles at Rapp Brewing in Seminole, Florida.

5. Revisit classic and historic styles.

These days it seems that if a beer wants to grab our attention, it must be barrel-aged, high-gravity, sour or taste like a dessert or breakfast entrée. On national beer rating sites, high gravity often correlates with high rankings, while lighter alcohol, perfectly made classic styles are scored lower because of a perceived "lack of flavor intensity."

In a craft beer world where crazy and bigger is better, remember to find time to also enjoy classic American pales ales, German and Czech-style lagers, English-inspired ales and elegant, subtly complex session beers to appreciate the drinkability and appeal of these classic styles that inspired the modern craft beer movement.

Loaded with artistic creativity, American craft brewers constantly formulate new styles and imagine innovative trends, but looking backwards can also be fun. It's fascinating when craft brewers research and resurrect historic styles like Kentucky common, Lichtenhainer, London brown ale and roggenbier. Ten years ago it was almost impossible to find a Gose or Berliner Weisse in America, and now these are almost as common as pale ales.



Matt Horney brews an amazing range of classic beer styles at Louisiana’s Old Rail Brewing.

6. Avoid making craft beer generic.

Popular culture prefers things to be simple and generic, but the diversity and complexity of craft beer doesn't work within these constraints. The trendy term "sours" is a prime example. Calling every beer that contains acidity a "sour" is like calling all forms of art involving colors, pigments or paint a "drawing." Visit a lambic blender or brewer in Belgium and use the term "sours" to describe their historic beers, and you might be asked politely to leave. Beers that often showcase acidity are as varied as Berliner weisse, Flanders red, oud bruin, lambic and newer American "wild ales" with mixed-fermentations involving yeast and bacteria. Craft beer's complexity and diversity should be respected and revered.



John Roberts, brewer at Atlanta’s Max Lager’s, takes great pride in offering a different cask ale each week.

Read the full article at http://sbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Craft+Beer+Wishes+For+The+New+Year/2706923/382666/article.html.

Campus No.805

Bill Plott



Huntsville'c too cool for school beer destination
The burgeoning enterprises on “Brewery Row” has put a whole new spin on Huntsville, A L as a beer destination. Located within two blocks of each other on Clinton Avenue are three microbreweries, a homebrew supply store, several restaurants, an event center, a craft-beer centered bar and a growing number of other small businesses.

The centerpiece of all this activity is Campus No. 805, a renovated school property that is home to two of the breweries – Straight to Ale and Yellowhammer. The third brewery, Salty Nut, is just down the street within easy walking distance. All have taprooms and welcome visitors.

Straight to Ale – now the largest brewery in Alabama with two locations filling 65,000 square feet of floor space – might be called the anchor of the enterprise. Included within are a restaurant and arcade with a music venue in the planning stage.

“It’s cool to take part in the revitalization of something like this. There’s a lot of history here,” said STA founder Dan Perry.

The 13-acre facility was built in 1951 as S.R. Butler High School. When Butler relocated in 1967, the facility became Roy L. Stone Middle School, a function it served until it was closed in 2009.

For five years, the Huntsville City School System property sat on the real estate market, empty and decaying.

Along came Perry and a developer named Randy Schrimsher.

“We needed more space. We were at capacity with 1,000 barrels of fermentation. We couldn’t expand where we were. We stumbled on the old school, which was falling apart,” said Perry.

Schrimsher had been eyeing the Stone property for some time, but he only wanted the raw land that had been primarily the football field for warehouse development. He was not interested in the school building. However, the school system was in an “all or nothing” position.

Finally, he came to terms with Randy Taylor, CFO of the school system, for the entire property. He brought in an engineer, who suggested that Schrimsher develop the school building.

“I told him if he’d find a use for it, I’d talk about it, never expecting to hear from him again,” said Schrimsher. “About a month later, he called and said, ‘I’ve got a brewery that’s interested in that space.’”

Thus, began Campus No. 805, with the named derived from the last three digits of the neighborhood’s ZIP code.

Several months later Schrimsher was approached by Yellowhammer. That resulted in a brand-new building for them and the city park space between the two breweries. There are actually three buildings on the property. The old student union building is now referred to as the Retail Building. Seven of its eight tenant spots are filled. Among them are a salon, Rocket and Roll Pizza, Wish You Were Beer homebrew
supply store, and a sushi restaurant.

In the school building, retail spots are filling also with Lone Goose bar, a personal fitness trainer and a tattoo parlor the early occupants.

“It has exceeded everybody’s expectations, including mine,” said Schrimsher.

Straight to Ale’s brewing operation is set up in the old gymnasium with a heavy emphasis on recycling.

“We used the wood from the gym floor and the bleachers to build our bar and tables in the taproom,” said Perry. “We even kept the graffiti from the walls.”

The basketball goals and scoreboard still hang in the gym. Perry said eventually the timer on the brewhouse will be wired to the scoreboard for countdowns.

The brewery occupies 12,000 of the 55,000 square feet in use. At the combined facilities (Campus No. 805 and Leeman Ferry Road), they are producing about 11,000 barrels per year with a canning line at each location. In addition to their regular draft and canning operation, they have a contract with Whole Foods for several special release beers.

“We have 400 barrels of fermentation capacity on the Campus. We have a 30-barrel brewhouse with three vessels. We can fill a tank in a day now. It used to take two days to fill a tank in the old place,” he said.

STA installed two grain silos that will hold about 44,000 pounds each and allowed the grain to fed directly into the brewhouse in lieu of toting heavy sacks.

“Our head brewers are Drew Stanford and Bob Gile. They been with me along time and they are the creative force behind our beers pretty much these days,” said Perry.

Beverage diversity is coming too. “We have a triple license now for a brewery, a winery and a distillery,” Perry said.

The first batch was already aging in the still. They have a contract with a small vineyard in Fayetteville, TN for grapes that will be used in their wines, but that’s awaiting the grape crop. Meanwhile, experiments with meads and ciders are under way.

What about the rest of that 55,000 square feet? Adjacent to the spacious new taproom is Ale’s Kitchen, a full-service restaurant specializing in burgers and similar foods. Not far away is Ronnie Raygun’s Arcade, a couple of rooms with the latest popular pinball machines and several pool tables.

“Some of our local poolies wanted a nonsmoking place to play, so we put in some pool tables,” he said.

There is also “Speakeasy,” a separate bar for members of the VIP Club.

Coming eventually will be a music venue with its own dedicated light and sound system and a capacity of about 350 people.

These things hopefully will give STA staying power when today’s craft beer explosion reaches its peak and the inevitable shakeout comes.



Yellowhammer brewer Keith Yager and Courtney Nunley.

“You’ve got to be super strong in your local market. The local market plays a big role. It can be tricky to put on promotions here (at the brewery) that do not hurt your accounts in the market. We put a lot more effort in this market. We want them to succeed. We want our competitors to succeed. It helps all of us,” said Perry.

When Yellowhammer came on board, a new building exclusively for them was built on part of the old football field. But they also wanted an additional amenity. An expanse of land between the school building and Yellowhammer was sold back to the City of Huntsville to be turned into a park. Patrons can see the patio serving areas of both breweries while walking their dogs and watching children play.



Straight to Ales Michelle Ginn, owner Dan Perry and David Huey.

“We are working with the city on an entertainment district license. Then people will be able to take their drinks out in the park and wander in the park,” said Perry.

The family friendly environment is dramatically changing the west side of Huntsville.

Like STA, Yellowhammer Brewing was ready for a bigger facility, also. The “stumbling across” good fortune of Perry and Schrimsher was perfect timing for Yellowhammer.

“We are growing every year. There is a major expansion every year,” said co-owner and brewer Keith Yager.

“We have a 20-barrel brewhouse. We are currently producing 2,500 to 3000 barrels a
year. We hope to reach 5,000 next year with the larger facility,” he said. The larger plant has enabled Yellowhammer to add on-premise food rather than relying on arrangements with mobile food trucks. He has contracted with Earth and Stone Pizza. They are turning out pies in brick ovens in a space adjacent to the new taproom.

Under construction out back is a warehouse expansion. It is expected to double the space, allowing Yellowhammer to get out of a warehouse it has been renting down the street.

Yager has seven fulltime employees and several part-time bar staffers. His bottling line can produce 60 cases per hour.

Yellowhammer’s brewing focus has always been on German-style lagers and Belgian-style ales. Their best seller remains the Belgian White, but a lot of small batch and special release treats were on tap in the taproom recently.

Bride of Frankenhammer Strong Dark Ale is a spinoff from the Frankenhammer, a 9.2% Belgian dark aged on cherrywood. Frankie’s Bride weighs in at 10.5% and is aged in red wine barrels with cherries added.

Their 6th Anniversary Imperial Pilsner was brewed with Hallertau Blanc hops with the addition of white raisins. It has a smooth mouthfeel and is 8.4% abv.

Although not part of the Campus No. 805 property, Salty Nut Brewery can quickly be included in a pub crawl. It is located just two blocks away in Yellowhammer’s former facility.

There are four other breweries in the Huntsville/Madison area. Also in Huntsville are Mad Malts Brewing and the brewpub Below the Radar. In adjacent Madison are Blue Pants and Rocket Republic. All of them can be reached within a few minutes drive.

Read the full article at http://sbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Campus+No.805/2707032/382666/article.html.

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