Foothills Brewing

Musings and Mashings


Hello Olde Friend

Foothills_Pint_GlassSeems like not so long ago that craft beer was overwhelmingly driven by a unique and singular concept we refer to internally as ‘coopetition’. As craft beer grew, the convivial repast of sharing a good beer together (an idea that, incidentally, got a lot of craft brewers started in the first place) remained central to, if not stated in, brewery business plans. The rising tide of craft beer’s popularity would float all our boats, was the unwritten understanding. So while we are all trying to make the best beer (and yes, sell the most of it), we’d not let those goals deter us from the higher collective calling we all feel, both to each other and the craft beer loving community as a whole.

If you are at all a follower of the craft beer industry, you’re no doubt aware that the landscape of our burgeoning world has been changing dramatically. Competition, from both outside forces and sheer internal brewery numbers has torn at the fabric of camaraderie that’s been so purposely woven by our little band of craft beer misfits.

ORF bottle (2)So a few of North Carolina craft beer’s ‘old guard’ have decided to resurrect a piece of #NCbeer history – and brew a reminder of why ‘coopetition’ remains essential to the continued growth of craft beer.

Quick history lesson: back in 2009 a lot of the concepts we now accept as mainstream in craft beer were still in their infancy. Like collaborations, for instance. One day that year, after a festival, three North Carolina brewery owners were discussing (over a beer, naturally) some of the brewing collaborations they’d seen popping up around the country.

(by the way, those three owners represented, at the time, 10% of all North Carolina breweries. Today that meeting would represent less then 1 1/2% of all NC breweries.)

At the time, all three breweries — Olde Hickory, Duck Rabbit and Foothills – were barrel aging beers (another concept in its infancy in craft beer at the time), and decided to blend their three respective barrel aged stouts into one amazing collaborative brew.

Thus was born Olde Rabbit’s Foot -the first-ever collaboration beer brewed in North Carolina.

Understand, the challenges of pulling this off were myriad – but crazy as it seemed, take on those challenges they did. The beers – Olde Hickory Event Horizon and Duck Rabbit’s imperial stout called Rabid Duck – were sent here to Foothills, where they were blended with our Sexual Chocolate, then aged in 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle’s bourbon barrels.

The resulting product had craft beer fans lined up outside our doors for the years (2009 through 2012) that the beer was made. It also paved the way for many, many collabs to come statewide and nationwide.

The Olde Rabbit’s Foot project eventually got sidelined as the industry grew, and each brewery got busier and more successful. But every time Steve Lyerly (Olde Hickory), Paul Philippon (Duck Rabbit) and Jamie Bartholomaus (Foothills) would see each other, the same conversation would surface: “That was fun! It’d be cool to do it again.”

duckrabbitolde hickorySo this week, Steven and Paul will travel to Winston-Salem to brew their respective imperial stouts at our downtown brewpub, alongside Foothills brewmaster TL Adkisson. We’ll blend them right here, in house, and barrel-age the beer in Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve barrels for the next few months.

Given the current climate in craft beer, a healthy dose of the selfless fellowship that helped get us to this point seems in order. Why? Says Paul: “Even in the midst of competition, celebrating the success of your competitors and the industry as a whole can be very uplifting.” Steven adds, “In an ever changing marketplace, this shows the spirit of collaboration is still alive. It’s more important than ever that people see the cooperative heart of NC beer.” And Jamie says simply, “These guys are our friends. We’ve been peers a long time. This provides a little continuity to the past of North Carolina beer.”

Expect to see release info for Olde Rabbit’s Foot 2017 sometime this fall.

And prepare to welcome back an old friend.



This Terrain Is Your Terrain

PM1Take a minute and look at that view. Kinda takes your breath away doesn’t it?

That view didn’t just happen. Well OK, the geological part of it happened over millions of years. But the ability to stand in that spot, and take that picture, is the result of a lot of hard work over a lot of years by a lot of dedicated people.

Western North Carolina, for us, is home. (if you squint really hard you can see our brewery in the picture.) It’s also home to a large portion of the southern Appalachian Mountains, over 2,000 plant and 700 animal species, and some of the wildest forests left in this part of the country.

Terrain thumbnailFortunately for those of us who call this magnificent landscape home, there are organizations dedicated to protecting and preserving those wild spaces – led by people who believe there are places in our region that should just never be paved.
It’s those people that we salute with this month’s Craft Happiness IPA, Terrain. People who enhance our wilderness, blaze and build trails, and make sure we all have a wild space to call home.

Piedmont Land Conservancy, who will benefit from sales proceeds of Terrain, is one such place. This week we were invited out to see firsthand some of the work this group is doing to protect the places we hike and bike and fish and camp.

One of a dozen or so land conservancies in North Carolina, PLC started in 1990, and since then has completed over 200 projects, protecting more than 20,000 acres in nine counties.

But they didn’t get all that done by protesting the latest ‘big box’ store opening. “It’s based on the what we call the ‘willing landowner’ concept,” says PLC Development Director Greg Keener. “The vast majority we work with are land owners that own a piece of property they want to see protected for generations.”

PM5The latest addition to Pilot Mountain (the state park not the pale ale) is a perfect example. A 70-acre addition to the park was facilitated by PLC, not only creating a brand new 3.4 mile trail, but protecting an additional stretch of the Pilot Mountain watershed as well.

By that way that trail we mentioned? Built in 59 days, by volunteers working 6 days a week. That kind if dedication is both humbling, and worthy of the awareness we’re bringing to it with our Craft Happiness IPA Project.


“One thing I’ve learned being involved here is none of this happens by accident,” says Greg. “These great places are all protected because there’s a lot of people that make it a priority to protect them.”


POSTSCRIPT: Piedmont Land Conservancy officials will be at our tasting room on Wednesday April 19, 6pm to help us celebrate Craft Happiness Day, when we will donate a portion of our entire day’s proceeds from the pub and tasting room to their meaningful work. So come on out, have a beer and make a difference!


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Safe Haven

Haven thumbnailWhen we started picking names for the beers in our Craft Happiness IPA Project, we sought words that would accurately reflect the charitable needs and causes to which we hope we’d bring awareness. Ergo, we figured ‘Haven’ to be an appropriate name for a beer dedicated to animal rescue.

Apparently it’s just as appropriate for an actual rescued animal.

Haven the beer? Meet Haven the dog.


Haven (the dog) first came to our attention when we announced Haven (the beer) in our bi-monthly newsletter to our distributors.

The name caught the eye of Derek Allard – which makes sense, considering Derek and his girlfriend Courtney have a rescue dog.

Named Haven.

What are the odds?

IMG_2781Derek is an off-premise sales rep for Mims, our biggest distributor, and invited us to stop by during a recent trip to Raleigh so Haven – could meet Haven.

A two-year-old Jack Russell mix, Haven’s lovable enthusiasm for meeting new people is typical – even if her response to a bottle of her namesake beer left a bit to be desired. Can’t eat it. Can’t chew on it. No thanks.

Her owners are animal lovers with a predictable soft spot when it comes to rescue pups. “I would adopt them all if I could,” says Courtney, echoing the sentiments of many a rescue dog owner. “We found her on a website, visited her in the shelter, and we were like ‘this is it, how can you not love her?'”

Derek spends his days immersed in craft beer (figuratively, anyway) and sees a lot of parallels in dog lovers and beer drinkers.

“It’s hard to go to a brewery or bottle shop and not see a lot of dogs,” he says. “It’s a good group of people, everyone’s nice to each other, I just think they kinda go hand in hand – dogs and beer.”

Well said.

Quick note of irony: in 2015 we did an entire series of IPAs with dogs on the labels. Here we are two years later and dogs are still a part of our narrative. What would you expect from a brewery with a dog in the company bios?

IMG_2790Haven’s story has a happy ending. Sadly, those are not too common in the world of rescue animals. On average over twenty thousand animals enter our country’s shelters every day.

Every. Day.

Of course we want to encourage you to adopt. But you don’t have to adopt to help. There are lots of ways to contribute – starting with items you can donate to help your local shelter.

You can also have a Haven IPA… and help us craft a little happiness in the lives of rescue animals.






Double Take

PP FoothillsSeeingDoubleIPA“It’s a good time to be a hop lover”.

The inimitably sage words of our Brewmaster TL Adkisson, when we first sat down to talk to him about some big changes for one of our longest-running beers – Seeing Double IPA.

If you’ve grabbed yourself a HopBox yet (and really, why would you not have?), then you’ve seen one of the most important changes – Seeing Double is now available, for the first time (and only in the HopBox) in a 12-oz. bottle.

But the outside isn’t the only thing that’s changed. The inside’s gotten a makeover as well.


Backstory: when craft beer first started being a thing, brewers looked at hops as a delivery vehicle for the alpha acids – those notorious chemical compounds in the hop cone that impart bitterness to beer.

As craft beer grew (and grew and grew and grew) there was a parallel growth pattern in research, breeding programs, and acreage dedicated to all things hop. Gradually the focus has shifted away from alpha acids and more to the essential oils that provide flavor and aroma. It’s opened up a whole new world for beer drinkers. One small hop for man, one giant hop for mankind.

SeeingDouble 12oz RT_Lo-resBrewers are a lot like painters – experimental by nature – constantly tweaking, refining and improving their works of art. Seeing Double IPA was Foothills’ first-ever high gravity beer -so it was due for some fresh, carefully considered brush strokes.

Here’s proof: one the main hops in our revamped recipe is Citra – which hadn’t even been invented when Seeing Double was originally brewed.

We’ve also added Mosaic, and replaced the Cascade dry hop with one featuring the aforementioned Citra, along with Chinook, a hop that adds the signature piney resinous qualities for which Seeing Double has become known – while getting a nice compliment from the citrusy floral qualities of its fellow hops.

The malt profile was also refined, dialed down with base malts and made a little drier, simply to promote the new hop bill. Think of the grains as the canvas and the hops as the paint.

The resulting beer is lower in ABV (8.3%), with IBU weighing in at a hefty 91. The hops are more crisp and aromatic, the malts a low-key complement, the finish a heady mouthful of tropical fruit (specifically pineapple), pine and resin. All in all, a more drinkable double.

TL has a more succinct description: “it’s sticky, man.”

Give the new Seeing Double a try, let us know what you think!


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Home = Hope

craft-happiness-tap-stickerEDITOR’S NOTE: by now most of you know about Craft Happiness IPA Project, a series we will use to “craft happiness” with charitable causes in our community. Our first beer in the Project, Domicile IPA, is about the needs of the homeless and affordable housing.

Did you wake up in your own bed this morning? Shower in your own bathroom? Make breakfast in your own kitchen? You might want to take a moment and consider your good fortune. Worldwide there are a hundred million people who are homeless. Another billion and a half lack adequate housing. That’s almost a quarter of the world’s population that won’t put their head on a safe or comfortable pillow tonight.

But there are those who strive to provide a home – and by proxy, hope – to those who seek the better life that better quarters would inevitably provide.

Image may contain: textHabitat For Humanity is one such organization – their stated goal is building homes, community and hope. “I like to move hope to the front of the list,” says Mike Campbell, Executive Director/CEO of Habitat For Humanity of Forsyth County. “Whether it’s for those who never thought it possible to own a home, or parents looking for a safe and healthy environment to raise their kids, or a child who gets space to become whomever they want to be – that is the hope we provide.”

Image may contain: one or more people, sky and outdoorMike has seen Habitat houses become pebbles that ripple the surface of downtrodden communities. One new house can lead to improvements throughout a neighborhood, and ultimately affect education levels, crime statistics… and, perhaps most importantly, the positivity of personal and civic pride.

That positive feeling isn’t limited to the benefactors – it’s something that Habitat fosters in its volunteers as well. Every year dozens of college students eschew raucous Spring Break destinations for service to a community under the guidance of HFH – many right here in Forsyth County, housed in a bunkhouse specially designed for visiting volunteers.

Habitat also counts diversity and tolerance amongst its virtues Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor– their Unity Build program brings together religions of all faiths and denominations to build houses cooperatively. One such house was built here in Winston-Salem during the recent tumultuous presidential election.

Next time you ‘take the high road’, don’t be surprised if you see a Habitat For Humanity house there.

Mike explains: “People are very generous to causes that can change lives. All religions became one here, simply to change the life of a family and the face of a community. The atmosphere was one of solidarity, peace and acceptance.”

That just might be a little dose of hope for all of us.

So what about those in our community who don’t know from one night to the next where they’ll be sleeping? That’s where men like Tom Lawson come in. Tom is a board member for Samaritan Ministries, a volunteer-based soup kitchen, shelter and rehab facility in Winston-Salem that’s open 365 days a year.

Tom’s 20-plus years of volunteering at Samaritan have taught him a lot – not the least of which is that “serving is a joy”. Not what you’d expect to hear – but then Samaritan can be an unexpected place.

People that come to seek its services are referred to as ‘guests’, and afforded a considerable degree of dignity and respect. In turn for a warm, dry, safe place to escape life’s hardships, these guests are by and large vocally appreciative and grateful. And surprisingly, according to Tom, not without a healthy degree of optimism that their lives will get better.

In other words… hope.

POSTSCRIPT: Our hope is that this IPA Project, in addition to satisfying your taste buds, will help you satisfy the need we all feel at one time or another to give back. There are local volunteer opportunities wherever you are; here in Winston-Salem, both Habitat and Samaritan could use your help. Samaritan also keeps a wish list of items in need at the shelter; grab a few and drop them by.

There’s also a way you can give back and drink beer at the same time.

We’ve created a Craft Happiness Night that we’ll hold once a month at both our pub and tasting room simultaneously. All you have to do is come out and enjoy a bite or a beer; we’ll donate a part of that night’s sales to a local organization working in the field of that month’s charitable need. Our first one will be this Wednesday, February 15th – at the tasting room we’ll have our friends from Habitat For Humanity around to help build awareness of their good works, and answer any questions you might have about volunteering.

They’ll also be promoting ‘The House That Beer Built’, an intiative HFH has successfully launched in other states that they’re bringing to North Carolina. They’ll have a 2×4 wall stud on hand for people to sign that will eventually go in the wall of the house. Come out, have a beer… and craft some happiness.


Hop on a HopBox

Picture this: you’re standing in front of the craft beer section at your grocer or bottle shop. There’s Hoppyum right there. Jade right next to it. Over in the bomber section there’s Seeing Double. How are you supposed to decide which hoppy goodness to take home with you?

Well now you don’t have to.
Last year we began concocting plans for our first-ever variety 12-pack – plans that have resulted in HopBox, a rotating selection of our hoppiest (i.e. best) beers.

What’s in it? Well Hoppyum IPA and Jade IPA will be staples, along with Seeing Double IPA. “Wait,” you say. “Seeing Double is only available in 22-oz. bombers.”

Yes, that was once true. It is no longer.

At least, as long as you get a HopBox – because that is the only place you’ll be able to get Seeing Double in its brand new 12-oz. size.


For the final selection in the HopBox, we’ll rotate through our Seasonal Series beers – Frostbite Black IPA in the fall and winter, Pilot Mountain Pale Ale in the spring, and HopJob Session IPA in the summer and fall. We’re also working on a plan to include some of our new Craft Happiness IPA Project beers in the HopBox mix.

These should be available next week in markets statewide in North Carolina. For now they’ll only be available in-state; we’re working on plans to be able to expand that in the future.

Grab one when they come out and let us know what you think!


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Sexual Chocolate 2017

FHB.14121.12 Sexual Chocolate 2017 label R1 MECH**UPDATES AT THE BOTTOM**

New Year celebrated? Check.

Christmas decorations put away? Check.

Experienced annual hilarity of watching North Carolinians attempt to drive in the snow? Check.

Only one thing left to check off for January. Don your parka, pack up your sleeping bag and head to Foothills for our Annual Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout Release on January 27 and 28.

Following is pretty much every detail you will need to enjoy this release immensely. If you’ve been with us before for this most special of days, then these details will no doubt be familiar to you. Read them anyway. If this is your first time, then congrats on scratching this particular shindig off your Craft Beer Bucket List. You too must read on carefully.

  • dscn3547Foothills will host its traditional Bottle Share Pre-Release Party on Friday night January 27th beginning at 7:00 pm (or thereabouts), in the brewery portion of our brewpub at 638 West 4th Street in Winston-Salem. Here’s how it works: we open up the back of our brewpub to anyone and everyone who brings a bottle or two (or three or four) of their favorite rare, unique or coveted craft beer. Interpretation of that description is up to you, but show up with a six pack of any ol’ beer and we’re not responsible for the incessant mocking which will certainly ensue. We’ll have Sexual Chocolate on tap at the bar, and appetizers to snack on if you’re famished.
  • dscn3629The line to buy Sexual Chocolate bombers (22-oz. bottles) will begin on the sidewalk outside the front door of the pub. You’re welcome to queue up any time after we close at 2:00 am the previous evening. (For once you don’t have to actually go home at closing time.) NOTE: please do not, repeat, DO NOT, start lining up before we close. Violators will be sent to the back of the line and force-fed leftover Zima.
  • City police officers will be on hand overnight. No doubt this will prove to be for cosmetic purposes only, since we all know what a well-behaved lot craft beer enthusiasts are. There’s a rumor that those nice officers will let you enjoy your own, um, refreshments until daylight. We can neither confirm nor deny . . . we will, however, refer you to the aforementioned good behavior. #winkwinknudgenudge
    the sopranos wink tony soprano james gandolfini
  • There will be portable restroom facilities in the back parking lot. We’re thoughtful like that. Please pay that thoughtfulness forward during your use of them.
  • Around 6:30 am you’ll get a gentle wake up call from a string trio while being served espresso and biscotti. HA! Who’re we kidding, it’s gonna be cold and you will have dscn3651been sleeping on or near the ground all night. Look on the bright side, morning calisthenics won’t be involved either. We will, though, distribute numbered wristbands at that time to denote your place in line. (Captain Obvious says make sure you have your ID with you.) We’ll also have some schwag to pass out as a ‘thank you’ to those brave souls who spent said night on or near the ground.
  • The pub will open at 8:00 am, Sexual Chocolate will be tapped and waiting (as will 14 other beers – viva le variété). We’ll also have breakfast available for purchase. You know, solid food. If that’s your thing.
  • Bottles tend to get snapped up quickly. that will probably continue to be the case even with no bottle limit. This is the part where we politely suggest that, if you want to partake in this beer, please please please plan accordingly. If you show up at 4 in the afternoon and complain bitterly that there’s none left, you will only create bad karma for yourself. That and the staff will be doing impressions of you until next year’s release.


  • Bottle sales will commence at 9:00 am. You’ll be summoned by your wristband number in groups of 50, whereafter you’ll pay for your bottles in the pub, then proceed in somewhat orderly fashion to the brewery in back, where you’ll receive your beer. IMPORTANT: once you receive your beer, we kindly ask that you exit the rear of the building instead of heading straight back into the pub. Keeps the line from devolving into anarchy.
  • Another way to create bad karma? Trying to take the easy way out and asking us on Facebook/Twitter the best time to get in line/show up. Please believe us when we say WE DON’T KNOW. Every year is different. So suck it up and come stand in line. Hang out. Make friends. Be one with us.
  • NO BOTTLE LIMIT THIS YEAR. You read that correctly. The seismic shift this represents in Sexual Chocolate history cannot be understated. We’ve never not had a bottle limit. Or a double negative in our blog, come to think of it. This is a one-time rule change, and is good the day of release only; kind of our way of saying ‘thanks’ to all you loyal release attendees over the years.
  • Bottles are $15 each. We take all forms of payment — cash, credit cards, your firstborn…
  • While we are emptying case boxes as we go, we don’t guarantee a box or bag to stash your bottles – doing so would expand our carbon footprint exponentially. Please bring something to safely cart away your newly purchased liquid treasures. How big you ask? About (insert number of bottles you plan to buy) bottles big.
  • teku glassNo growler fills of Sexual Chocolate. And no growling about no growler fills.
  • We will have plenty of Sexual Chocolate Rastal Teku glasses for sale Image result for make your own s'mores bar($15). They’re very cool. Somehow the beer tastes better in them.

This is the second year our Tasting Room has been open for Sexual Chocolate Release, so it’s getting in on the fun . . . while no bottles will be for sale there initially, they will have Sexual Chocolate on tap Friday night, with live music from Matt Phillips (4-6pm) and Triad favorites Bad Hombres, with members of Big Daddy Love (7-10pm). AND: there will be a Make-Your-Own S’Mores bar! I know. Decadence.

Want to stay up to date on all the latest leading up to this event? Then follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Also check back to this blog, we’ll update it frequently with new info. In fact I just now added this sentence.

Our friends at the Marriott Winston-Salem (walking distance from the pub) will be offering a special $99 rate for the weekend.
Book your corporate rate for Take the Elevator Home

Curious about the history of Sexual Chocolate? Read all about it here. Or watch an incredibly hip video about it here.

WEATHER: Current forecast calls for overnight low of 29 degrees. High of 49 on Saturday.


1/27 BEER UPDATE: We’ve got a few surprises for you Friday and Saturday! On Friday, in addition to tapping Sexual Chocolate, we’re also tapping a keg of our other highly acclaimed Imperial Stout, Dead & Berried! It’s barrel aged, and made with real Oregon Blackberries. Dead & Berried will be on tap Friday 5pm at both the pub and tasting room.

ALSO: we’ve come up with two ‘deviant’ versions of Sexual Chocolate.

The first is infused with organic Peruvian coffee beans (home roasted by one of our owners) and organic Madagascar vanilla beans.

The other has been aged on bourbon and rum oak spirals, and infused with coconut.

Both versions will be on tap Saturday at the pub only, starting at 8am.

VERY IMPORTANT: VERY LIMITED SUPPLY OF EACH. Dead & Berried might disappear quickly on Friday night; the two deviant versions of Sexual Chocolate will definitely disappear quickly on Saturday morning. So 1) if you’d like to try these beers, please plan accordingly, and 2) please remember this forewarning if you show up and there’s none left.