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Franklin Street breweries help craft NC state beer

22 companies collaborated this weekend to create the North Carolina state beer at Mystery Brewing Company in Hillsborough. 

Erica Tieppo, from Detroit, Michigan, works with the beer through its fermentation process.
22 companies collaborated this weekend to create the North Carolina state beer at Mystery Brewing Company in Hillsborough. Erica Tieppo, from Detroit, Michigan, works with the beer through its fermentation process.

The beer, called “North Carolina Gose West,” was brewed Saturday and Sunday at Mystery Brewing Company in Hillsborough. Franklin Street’s Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery and Carolina Brewery both took part in the collaboration.

“It was a great time. It’s a rare day in the state when you get that many brewers together,” said Nathan Williams, head brewer at Carolina Brewery.

“It’s a light, slightly tart German-style sour beer,” said Chris Atkins, co-head brewer at Top of the Hill.

Williams said the beer’s flavor is unique.

“It’s a rather wild, kind of funky style,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting to taste when it’s finished.”

Williams added that the ingredients, sourced from around the state, are what make it a true North Carolina beer.

Margo Metzger, executive director of the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild, said this is one of the first times there has been a beer brewed with only North Carolina ingredients.

“We wanted everything to represent the three regions of the state,” she said. “We made sure we had ingredients from the mountains, the Piedmont and the coast.”

The beer contains barley and wheat from Asheville, muscadine grapes from North Carolina, Outer Banks sea salt from Southern Shores, yeast and water from Hillsborough, and hops from farms in the Piedmont.

“We had 22 brewers in the room together sharing ideas and sort of hanging out,” Metzger said. “There are not very many industries where you see this many competitors coming together to do something.”

Atkins agreed that everyone pitched in to help get the work done.

“It’s just about all being together and working with the brewing community for the same goal,” he said.

Metzger said the seven or eight barrels of the batch, which will only be brewed once, will mature and finish in about two weeks. She said what college students typically think of as a keg is half a barrel.

The majority of the beer will go to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado and the World Beer Festival in Durham, both in October.

After the beer is sent for judging, participating breweries will still have the option to serve whatever is left over in their bars, Atkins said.

Metzger said the idea for a state beer came from discussions about how to better represent North Carolina at the Great American Beer Festival. At the festival, one of the biggest in the world, she said brewers typically have many beers on tap that they rotate through several nights of tastings.

“We thought it would be more fun and make a bigger splash for North Carolina if we could collaborate on a beer and serve it the whole time,” Metzger said.

arts@dailytarheel.com

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