18 Nov 2012 @ 11:27 PM 

Someone brought it up to me again the other day: You should get back to blogging more.

And, you know? I agree… for a couple of reasons. For one, it’s cathartic. It’s a nice release to be able to commit thoughts to words and publish them, even in a vanity forum like this blog, but also because there are a lot of topics that I’d like to see discussed in the world at large that I feel like I can at least introduce, and hopefully see out and about.

However, what with this whole “owning a brewery” thing, my time is often pretty limited and when I write it takes up a LOT of time – not only because, regardless of how fast a typer I am, it takes a long time to get things out, but because I’m just enough of a nerd to not want to write a blog post unless I have a complete thought. You should see how long it’s taken me to put this post together … or, maybe you can see it.

What’s more, often I only really think about writing when I’m upset about something and I don’t want to have the reputation (any more than I already do) for being the angry, ranty brewer guy. I am often not angry, and so I’d like that to actually come through on my blog. However, I REALLY like turning convention on its head and really looking at why it is we do what we do. Nobody ever made progress by doing the same old shit over and over again, and I really like applying creative problem solving to things that don’t necessarily appear to be broken. That often comes off as angry – or at least hyper-critical. But I don’t want to come off that way.

So, I’m going to try something new: Podcasting. There are a few reasons for this.

1) I can talk faster than I can type, and while part of me wants to make sure that there’s a complete written post around a podcast, that seems to me (for now) to be faster than setting down words to an entire post.

2) I can do it in a lot of different places. There’s no reason I can’t record a podcast while I’m working on something in the brewery, or in between tasks, whereas writing needs to take place in basically one or two environments where I have a computer and a long time to sit in one place.

3) It’s a lot easier to tell my tone when you hear my voice. If I don’t sound angry, I’m probably not angry. Not always the case, but normally true.

So, we’ll try this out. The podcast will serve two functions:

To educate. I’ve taught a Certified Cicerone Study course a couple of times over the past year and it’s very popular, and while I think people are generally interested in the Cicerone program, I think most people just want to learn more about beer – and so I’ll be doing little bits of education. Everything from how beer is made to how tap lines are cleaned to what the ingredients are and how they’re used. I’ll try to do this in a very non-technical way so that it’s easy for anybody to understand. With any luck there will be something for everybody to learn.

To inform. Since I’ve started Mystery, I’ve learned a LOT about the industry that I never would have thought about as a drinker and a fan of the industry, and I think it’s worth discussing some of those things… things like: Why the three-tier system is actually pretty great. Or that bars often don’t take care of their own draft systems. Or how AB-InBev is going to crush us all and how you’re going to help them.

And it will staaaaaart now.

Play

Enjoy!

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Tags Categories: industry, media, meta, Mystery Brewing Company, op-ed, podcast Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 19 Nov 2012 @ 01 58 PM

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 02 Jul 2012 @ 1:58 PM 

This past weekend, while we were running our little temporary taproom experiment over at Mystery, somebody – one of the fine patrons that came and joined us that evening – stole a poster from the bathroom of our office.

It was a kind of a cheap poster, but it was fun – the Awdrey-Gore Legacy poster by Edward Gorey. It’s a little murder-mystery poster, a little macabre and a little funny. Moreover, it was my wife’s poster and we’d had it hanging in our house for a while, but we brought it into the brewery when we opened up mainly so that the bathroom would stop looking so empty. So, while it sucks, it’s not like someone stole our smoker or anything. It wasn’t anything of significant monetary value, or even something of practical value, but something of sentimental value, instead.

And that is precisely why it pisses me off so much.

Here we are – we’re a young business. We’re still getting our feet under us and trying to get a solid footing in the market. We’re not rich. We work our asses off to pay the bills just like everybody else. So, we’ve opened up our doors to try to stay engaged with people while we’re struggling to get our taproom open and somebody comes in and, essentially, betrays our trust and our hospitality by stealing something of literally no value.

Dear asshat – go and buy your own fucking poster. That one belongs to my wife. And while you can now put it up in your house and say, “Oh my god! Isn’t this cool? I totally took this from Mystery!” Any person’s response to that statement should be: “Wow. You’re a douchebag.” In fact, do yourself a favor, save your money – don’t buy my beer, and go buy a poster instead so that way I don’t have to waste my time and money replacing it.

When I asked my staff if they knew it was missing, the overall response was something along the lines of, “What did you expect to happen when we started letting people in here?” and I think that is the saddest most sorry statement against humanity I have ever heard. That’s what I have to expect from fans of craft beer? Petty theft? Aren’t you better than that?

That’s exactly the kind of bullshit that makes it difficult to run a small business and difficult for us to justify letting people into our business, into our office, and into our lives. If you think it’s cool to steal a poster, what else are we going to have to replace? What else in the brewery has gone missing that we haven’t noticed yet? We’re trying to get people in here to make sure that we have enough money to operate, and it’s not going to fly if we have to replace even a few small things every time we let people in here. And what happens when it’s not something small and it’s something big? Damage to our equipment or stealing something that’s vital to our operation could literally shut us down permanently.

So, to whomever of you who has decided that the cool and hip thing to do is to go into a small business and steal something: Fuck you. That business that you stole from isn’t some fancy mega corporation and walking into it should have been able to tell you that. You didn’t steal from the man, you stole from me and from my employees and the hours and hours of work we put in every day so that you can enjoy that beer you came in and had. I’m so glad that we engendered enough of your respect that you felt like you had to take something from us.

Please, take this as a token of my respect for you: don’t ever come back.

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Tags Categories: brewery, Mystery Brewing Company, op-ed Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 02 Jul 2012 @ 03 22 PM

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My book, North Carolina Beer and Breweries is officially released today.

Neat.

And before the book was even officially out, I’d already had at least one AMAZING, humbling review.

Now comes the hard part – the the book tour. In this, I need help.

I’m a nerd. I’ve been to a lot of book signings and releases, and in each and every one of them the author generally gets up, reads a bit from the book, answers some questions, and then shmoozes and signs books for a while. I’ve also been to a couple of beer book signings and releases before where the author kind of stands around and drinks while signing books when people manage to approach the with a pen and a book in hand. I find the latter kinda lame. I want to hear from the author, that’s why I’m there. Otherwise I’m just drinking with somebody I don’t know and I could just buy a signed copy of the book and have the exact same effect.

So, this is where you come in – what do I do at these? The nature of this book is such that reading from it is difficult – it’s not fiction, it’s essentially episodic non-fiction. There are small snippets about the entire state and what’s interesting to a crowd in Wilmington will be different than what’s interesting to a crowd in Asheville. So, in order to make sure that everybody who goes to one of these gets a great experience, what’s the best thing to do?

Read from the history section?

Just do a talk about beer in North Carolina?

Q&A?

Beer tasting with whatever is local? (Remember – that requires buying kegs.)

Just hang out and shoot the shit?

Stand on the bar and deliver a gospel sermon about craft beer?

Help me, internets – what would YOU find interesting?

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Tags Categories: marketing, media, Mystery Brewing Company, NC Beer, nc beer book Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 01 Apr 2012 @ 10 51 AM

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 16 Mar 2012 @ 2:05 PM 

There are a couple of reasons that I’ve been so quiet here this spring. One of which, given my most recent posts, should be obvious: this brewery that I started up. As it turns out, those take a whole lot of your time. It’s a little insane. It’s fun, but it doesn’t leave much time for public musing.

The other reason that I’ve been so busy is because of this book that I wrote. You can buy it online or at many bookstores, bottleshops, or breweries around North Carolina.

Well, now that both of those are essentially wrapped up, I’m still going to be busy. But! This is the type of busy where I can actually see people, and hopefully have the time to write a little on the side. So, just in case you want to say hi and share a pint here’s where you can find me in the next two months:

Thursday, April 12, 6PM – 8PM: Book Launch Party @ Mystery Brewing Company
437 Dimmocks Mill Road, Suite #41
Hillsborough, NC 27278
www.mysterybrewing.com

Saturday, April 14, 12PM – 11PM: All About Beer’s World Beer Festival Raleigh

Tuesday, April 17, 8PM: Fullsteam Brewery
726 Rigsbee Avenue
Durham, NC 27701
919-682-BEER
www.fullsteam.ag

Wednesday, April 18, 4:30PM – 7:00 PM: Bottle Revolution
4025 Lake Boone Trail
Raleigh, NC 27607
919-885-HOPS
www.bottlerevolution.com

Thursday, April 19, 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM: Olde Hickory Tap Room
222 Union Square
Hickory, NC 28601
828-322-1965
www.oldehickorytaproom.com

Saturday, April 21, 12PM – 6PM: Hickory Hops

Wednesday, April 25, 7PM – 9PM: Carrboro Beverage Company
102A East Main Street
Carrboro, NC 27510
919-942-3116
www.carrborobeverage.com

Friday, April 27, 4PM – 6PM: Cape Fear Wine & Beer
139 North Front Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
910-7663-3377
www.capefearwineandbeer.net

Wednesday, May 9, 6PM: Foothills Brewing
638 West Fourth Street
Winston-Salem, NC
336-777-3348
www.foothillsbrewing.com

Thursday, May 24, 6PM: Olde Mecklenberg Brewing Company
215 Southside Drive
Charlotte, NC 28217
704-525-5644
www.oldmeckbrew.com

Wednesday, May 31, 7:30 PM: Malaprop’s Bookstore & Café
55 Haywood Street
Asheville, NC 28801
828-254-6734
www.malaprops.com

Thursday, June 1, 4PM – 7PM: Hops and Vines
797 Haywood Road, Suite 100
Asheville, NC 28806
828-252-5275

You can also find this schedule on this page which will be updated regularly as the schedule is updated.

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Categories: industry, media, Mystery Brewing Company, nc beer book, news, travel
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 16 Mar 2012 @ 03 07 PM

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Last year about this time I held a beer class – it began as the idea to make a Certified CiceroneTM study group for an upcoming exam, but others wanted to take it to just learn about beer, and it sounded like a great idea. Now, by popular demand, it’s back.

This time, we’ll have the advantage of experience under our belt, and we’ll have a much more focused class. If enough people in the class are interested in the Certified CiceroneTM exam, we will arrange to have an exam offered at the end of it, however the course covers material well above and beyond the CiceroneTM exam. I don’t teach to the test – I want people to understand all aspects of beer.

Here’s a loose syllabus:

Week 1: Intro, Beer Ingredients, How to Taste Beer, style tastings.
Week 2: Hot-side of Brewing (from milling through mashing, boiling and lautering), Off-flavor tasting.
Week 3: Cold-side of Brewing (yeast and fermentation), style tastings.
Week 4: Post-fermentation brewery-side handling (clarification, filtration, souring, and conditioning). Off-flavor tasting.
Week 5: Beer packaging, shipment, storage, and aging. Style tastings.
Week 6: Serving beer: draught systems, casks, bottles, glassware, and the rest. Off-flavor tastings.
Week 7: Style history and tastings.
Week 8: Beer and food. Questions, and review. Style tastings.

The class will run Monday evenings starting at 7PM at Mystery Brewing Company in Hillsborough, NC starting on January 30th. There will be multiple weeks off through the course (when I’m busy). The course will end in April.

Join us! We will have a maximum enrollment of 16 people, the course costs $150. Payment is due on the first day of class.

Pre-Requisites: None, but you’ll probably be happier if you are at least somewhat familiar with beer and are a Certified Beer ServerTM.

Questions? E-mail Mystery Brewing Company.

Use this form to save your seat. Since there are limited seats, please only reserve a seat if you mean to use it.

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Categories: cicerone, Mystery Brewing Company
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 02 Jan 2012 @ 01 20 PM

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