5 Destination Breweries in the South
by David Bryce
Editors Dave and Harvey have been back and forth and through the South more than once in these last couple years, but today, I’d like to introduce you to and revisit a few breweries. If you live or visit the South you’ll be among some of the best in the country. Here’s a breakdown of some of the more storied, decorated, and interesting brewers in the region.
SweetWater Brewing Company – Atlanta GA
A favorite among many southerners, this brewery has a lot to offer—they have a ton of medals to show for it. SweetWater was awarded Grand National Champion at the 2012 United States Open Beer Championship, winning three Gold, three Silver, and one Bronze Medal. One of the reasons for their success could be due to their dedication to freshness. Their Hop Cop travels through the southeast making sure all their distributors have the freshest beer available!
Terrapin Beer Co. – Athens, GA
Another Georgia-born brewery, Terrapin, also makes its rounds through the competitive circuit; receiving its first noticeable recognition at only six months old! Rye Pale Ale was introduced in 2002 and was Terrapin’s sole offering when it won Gold at the 2002 Great American Beer Festival. For anyone interested in talking a tour through their facilities in Athens, you’re in luck. Open Wednesday through Saturday, the tour also features live music while you enjoy Terrapin beers at the peak of freshness.
Mother Earth Brewing – Kinston, NC
This company, created by a guy and his son-in-law, is young but showing sure signs that it’s here to stay. The name may give it away, but this brewery is devoted to conserving, well, Mother Earth. Even their old building in Kinston was remodeled with only environmentally-friendly materials. After only three years of existence, Mother Earth Brewing won three medals at the 2011 United States Open Beer Championships. They took the Gold in the “Wood/Barrel Aged Strong Ale” category for their Tripel Overhead; a beer honoring the Belgian Trappist Monks who perfected that style. The brewery tour is free and open to the public, and if you want to keep sipping, they have a tap room that is 100% solar powered!
Abita – Abita Springs, LA
Another company dedicated to preserving the environment, Abita, located in Abita Springs, Louisiana, was the first brewery in North America to use the energy-efficient MerlinBrewhouse. This system reduces boiling time and uses 70% less energy than traditional brewing methods. Even their packaging is earth-friendly; using 47% less material than other six-pack carriers. With only four ingredients (water, barley, yeast, and hops), Abita manages to crank out over 125,000 barrels of beer (21 different types of brew) and 8,000 barrels of root beer a year—brewed in small batches, of course.
Lazy Magnolia – Kiln, MS
As Mississippi’s first brewery, Lazy Magnolia has been offering tasty beers that remain true to the Southern Style. Their Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale (one of Dave’s faves) is proof they stick to tradition. It was the first beer in the world (to their knowledge) made by using roasted pecans. It took third in the Specialty Beer category at the 2006 World Beer Cup.
There you have it, five of the best destination breweries in the South. Take it upon yourself to visit these interesting locales; I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.