2 Southern Brew News • August/September 2017 SOUTHERN BREW NEWS August/September 2017 Birds continued from cover Greenville, everything fit into place. The city would be home. In the months leading up to the com-pletion of their taproom in the Hampton Station area of Greenville, Shawn was brewing at nearby Thomas Creek, tak-ing this lineup to festivals and special events. While living in Florida, Shawn spent time with his mentor, brewing leg-end Bob Sylvester of Saint Somewhere Brewing. Many of Sylvester’s techniques have inspired and guided Birds Fly South into what is has become. That “Skin & Bone” release that brought me run-ning to Greenville was a collaboration with Sylvester. After Florida came a post in Washington D.C., and more brewing time at Virginia’s Fair Winds Brewing. Shawn’s brew-ing future was starting to take shape. Shawn and Lindsay found an old cotton warehouse built in the 1930s (ironically during Prohibition) full of brick and exposed wood. It looks perfectly designed for a brewery, as if the Barrels at Birds Fly South builders knew almost P hoto by R eid R amsay /b eeR s tReet J ouRnal 100 years ago what this building would ultimately Farmhouse brewing is a become. family affair Birds Fly South truly is stunning. The Family is another important piece of rows and rows of oak barrels and and wine this story. When I say Birds Fly South a puncheons feel right at home amongst the family affair, I mean it. It’s not just mom backdrop of heavy wood beams and open and dad’s job. My first day in the taproom ceilings. Whether intentionally or uninten-Shawn and Lindsay tionally, Shawn and Lindsay have created a rustic farmhouse brewery that conjures up Belgian countrysides and a simpler life, not a bustling growing Greenville metropolis. You really feel at peace here. As if you live here. Aesthetics aside, there was a run-ning fear bubbling inside of me. What if this amazing couple and this beautiful building were a great story, but the beer lineup wasn’t as good as that first taste that brought me here? That didn’t take long to become a distant memory. You find Brand New Eyes (a saison), Rumblefish (Brett pale ale), and Paper Airplanes (American Wild) are each stunners in their own right. Shawn and his brewing team have an arsenal of puncheons, Italian foudres and hundreds of oak barrels, each bearing a name of a musician. The range is every-thing from Bob Dylan to Biggie Smalls. You’ll find the focus to be heavy on the P hoto farmhouse and sour end of the spectrum, were putting the finishing touches on the throwing a hop bomb into the mix just for space for the coming grand opening. Their good measure. The brewery may be fairly three boys were hard at work dusting, mov-new, but thanks to time tested old world techniques and blending, plus modern brew-ing chairs and even washing glassware. For them it is fun to be in the thick of it with ing practices really does equal the brew-ery’s tagline — “Progressively Old School.” their parents. Shawn and Lindsay’s connec-tion to family is strong, and it shows. Each At this point, all I can keep saying to of those beers above are named for their myself over and over is “wow”. The brew-children. ery’s big garage doors are open and a warm An hour later I’m sitting on the patio summer breeze passes over the bar. I’m with Shawn and Lindsay. Joking with surrounded by oak and wood, sipping farm-Shawn about how comfortable Birds Fly house ales while families laugh and kids South feels, he chuckles back, saying that’s run and bicycle around the brewery. 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All material ©2017 by Southern Brew News unless otherwise noted. P hoto by R eid R amsay / b eeR s tReet J ouRnal the point. This is our home, too. Sure, brewing is a business, and many breweries run well that way. For Shawn and Lindsay and their budding farmhouse brewery, home and family drove these birds south, and you’ll feel it when you step inside. Shawn disappears inside for a min-ute and returns holding a bottle of Saint Somewhere De Garde, and a few of his own bottles for us to taste. With each pour, he takes out his phone to change the music being played in the brewery to fit each beer (or at least his ever changing musi-cal mood). Despite how good Shawn and Lindsay’s beers are, he speaks with pride about the other brewed creations. His admi-ration of others shows. It’s a subtle humility that can be rare in craft beer. Family, travel, and the need for the warm embrace of The South led the by R eid R amsay /b eeR s tReet J ouRnal Johnson family home. Shawn might not have realized it at the time, but each step of his adventures serving our country was another step towards Greenville. The city is lucky to have them. But don’t just take my word for it. Go pull up a chair and find your new home. The Johnson family is waiting.