For the Love of NC Beer
One of my favorite things about this industry, especially locally, is when breweries get together and work on projects. This exact thing just happened Sunday, February 15th, at Deep River Brewing Company, when representatives from more than a dozen NC breweries met to brew a collaboration beer for the Bull City Food and Beer Experience coming up next month.
“There’s about 14 or 15 North Carolina breweries represented here this morning,” said Paul Auclair, owner of Deep River Brewing Company. “It’s nice when we can all get together to work on something where everyone gets along; we’re all friends here today.” When asked if every brewery had some kind of input, Auclair grinned and said each of them did. But, if you ask me, and pretty much everyone else hanging out drinking beer around the brewery, this was more of a time to get together and enjoy a relaxed brew day, rather than sitting around a table, recording ideas and information on a white board.
Two guys who weren’t so fortunate to just hang out were Deep Rivers’ two brewers: Ben Evans and Donovan Matthews. The entire time I was there, those guys were measuring, weighing, adding, subtracting, pressing buttons, spraying, cleaning, etc. When asked why it seemed they were the only ones doing any of the work, Evans laughed and told me that it was good for him because he needed to burn off those donuts he ate earlier in the morning.
More about the beer…
This year’s collaboration will be a Coffee Brown Ale. “This one will measure about 5.3%,” Auclair said. “We didn’t use any milk sugar, but it is made with a lot of love. That’s for sure!” Auclair told me that brown ale was brewed this morning, and the coffee will be added after fermentation. “The coffee will come from Raleigh Coffee Company. Joe up there in Raleigh always takes good care of us.” The beer is to be released in March at the Bull City Food and Beer Experience at the DPAC in Durham.
As one might expect, when you get a bunch of brewers around, beer is sure to follow. Nearly everyone involved brought something of his own or something a little (or a lot) more rare, such as the Maple Bacon Porter from Funky Buddha. Beyond the beer, there was also plenty of food. Appropriately, chopped pork was the main feature (I mean, we’re in NC, y’all).
Whether it was a real work day or not isn’t the point of what this day meant. Whether this collaboration becomes the most amazing beer out of NC or not is completely beside the point. What is so special about this project is that multiple breweries came together to work together, share ideas, and appreciate each other. This is the kind of thing that makes craft beer, specifically NC beer, so special!