Foothills Brewing

Musings and Mashings


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.


Craft Happiness

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Fun Stuff We Did – 2016 Version


reflecting on another year

OK, so 2015 was a hard act to follow. Our 10-year anniversary party, the Decade Parade, the uber-popular #FoothillsIPAdog series . . . but 2016 held its own when it came to moments that helped shape the future of Foothills.  As we turn the calendar on the first year of our second decade, here’s a look at some of our highlights this year:

The year started with an epic week of rollout parties, as we began distributing in the state of Georgia – a particularly momentous event for our owner (and UGA grad) Jamie Bartholomaus.Hop of the Month 2016 Generic

January also marked the debut of the successor to our IPA of the Month – the Hop of the Month program focused on selected unique hops and their flavor profiles, brewed in the style that best accentuated those flavors. Our first beer was a Vienna lager brewed with Wakatu hops from New Zealand.

Oh yeah – January also saw the 10th annual release of our Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout – complete with a new gold-tinged label, and label artist Kyle Webster on hand to sign bottles.

fhb-13638-sexual-chocolate-2016-label-r02_page_1 kyle

We took delivery on a massive (twice the size of  the old one) glycol chiller, in preparation for another tank installation (and the accompanying production increase).

hopswap-2While our tasting room celebrated the 1-year anniversary of its opening, we celebrated NC Beer Month 2016 by initiating the #HopSwap – a way for us to celebrate and support the small independent craft brewers in our state. Every week we visited a brewer in a different region of North Carolina, all with under 5,000 barrels of production annually, and swapped kegs with them, putting their beers on tap in our tasting room (first time we’ve ever done that). That program has inspired a half-marathon/5K we’re hosting this April at our downtown brewpub in Winston-Salem.


tanksWe also took time to install three huge 400 BBL fermenters and a 400 BBL bright tank – part of the aforementioned production increase that saw our beer output capabilities jump by 41%.

May saw the first-ever meeting of our Foot Soldier Run Club – and it’s met every single Wednesday ever since.


wvOff we went to West Virginia – the 6th state in which we now distribute beer. Enjoyed some heavenly scenery . . .


. . . and met a few of the locals.


Another successful FloydFest partnership! this time with our very own party deck.


We introduced our first new stout in quite awhile – Dead & Berried, an American Imperial Stout made with oregon blackberries. Its presence in our pub and tasting room was understandably short-lived.

The Chicago Cubs weren’t the only winners in October – we took home a Great American Beer Festival bronze medal for our Torch Pilsner!

We made more Moravian Porter than ever – and it sold out faster than ever. Just introduced two years ago, this beer has quickly become a Triad holiday staple. And this year it even came in gift boxes paired with Moravian cookies.

We brewed our last-ever Hop of the Month beer – a Simcoe Double IPA. That series will be replaced by a new monthly series in 2017 – we’ll announce that the first week of January.

Here’s to cheers and new beers in 2017!

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Carrying A Torch

Google the word ‘Bohemian’ and you’re told it’s an adjective that means ‘having informal and unconventional social habits.”

If that’s true then Bohemian Pilsner might be the most culturally accurate style in all of craft beer.

foothills%20torch%20pilsnerNow read the label copy on our Torch Pilsner. (In fact, read all our label copy. We work so hard at being clever.) The last line on the Torch label says “we dig Bohemians”.

It’s true. And apparently we’re not the only ones.

On a day that saw North Carolina more than double its previous record medal total, Foothills was awarded a bronze medal at this year’s Great American Beer Festival for Torch Pilsner. (NC got a total of 17 medals – the previous best was 8).

Most of you know about GABF, and many of you have probably attended. For those who aren’t as familiar… imagine you threw the greatest tailgate party ever. And the entire stadium showed up. That’s GABF.

Held every October in Denver, it’s a 3-day, 4-session, 800-brewery, 3800-different-beers marathon of bacchanalian indulgence for craft beer faithful from all over the world.

It’s also the largest beer competition in the country.

gabfHow big? This year saw more than 7,200 beers entered, evaluated by 264 judges from 12 different countries. The American IPA category alone had 312 entries.

So you can see why a medal from this competition is kind of a big deal in our world. It’s like winning a beer Emmy.

And this one is special, for a couple of reasons. One, there are 96 style categories judged at GABF. Bohemian Pilsner is one of the simplest and most basic beer styles – not to mention one of the oldest. The Czech city of Plzen was founded in 1295, and shortly thereafter the citizenry was granted the right to brew their own beer by King Wenceslas. Presumably after he looked out on the Feast of Stephen.

pilsenThe first true Czech (Bohemian) Pilsner was brewed on October 5th, 1842 (174 years and 1 day before we won our medal for that style), and is still being brewed today in that same city.

It’s a style our brewmaster T.L. is quite fond of, from personal experience. True story – while T.L. was still early in his beer career, a friend from his college days at University of Tennessee got hired as the personal chef for the U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic. T.L. got invited over for a visit, and spent a few weeks drinking Bohemian Pilsner at its source. His 3-word review: “I was hooked”.

Meanwhile, on a parallel Pilsner track, our owner Jamie got interested in brewing beer while attending University of Georgia. When he brewed his very first batch of beer, he and his buddies visited a comic book store for label inspiration. He saw a cover depicting the hero descending into a cave – holding  a torch. The label – and the legend – were born.

In fact ‘Torch Brewing’ was one of the names considered for this place before they settled on Foothills.

torch1 torch2

Even today’s version of the label has an interesting twist to it – our label artist Kyle used his dad as inspiration for the flame-bearded Viking. Some early sketches:

torch-pencil-sketch  early-torch-1  early-torch-2

Soon you’ll be able to see our new ‘beer Emmy’ hanging in our pub, alongside the other 7 we’ve won at GABF. We’re proud of it – but not as proud as we are of our state as a whole. North Carolina brought home more GABF medals this year than any state east of Colorado. More than the revered craft beer state of Washington, even.
That pride extends particularly to the three medals won by Brown Truck Brewery in High Point. Not only are they our Triad craft beer brothers, but their head brewer Ian Burnett was part of our our brewing staff before starting Brown Truck. (oh by the way Brown Truck took home Very Small Brewery of the Year honors in addition to their three medals).

Wow. Seems the North Carolina craft beer scene is burning bright. Almost like a Torch.


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The Foothills Farm

pepper-beerToday Foothills introduces its first pepper beer, For Heat’s Sake. It’s available on draft at the pub and tasting room.

You know where the beer comes from. But you probably don’t know where the peppers come from.

About 10 miles from our brewery, nestled by a lazy bend in the Yadkin River, lies a stretch of flood plain land that has been transformed into a unique farm.


It all started as a pet project for our owner Jamie Bartholomaus, on whose land the fledgling farm sits. Jamie is a brewer by trade but a gardener and farmer at heart. I mean, the guy once had over a hundred orchids.

Anyway he moved his family into the house on the property this March, and quickly began to map out a chunk to use for growing fruits and vegetables. Some to eat, some to give away . . . but most, to the delight of Chef Shane, earmarked for the kitchen at the pub.


Chase and Jamie

One problem from the start – running a large regional craft brewery, and daddying three little girls at home, doesn’t leave a lot of time for tractors and tilling. As Jamie puts it, “running a farm is one of the few things that may be more work than running a brewery.” So he turned to longtime Foothills employee Chase Westmoreland, an integral part of our shipping operation but also a third generation farmer from Davidson County.

Another problem to start – the land is a flood plain meadow, a stone’s throw from the Yadkin River. That means it’s mostly river silt, largely devoid of the necessary nutrients to sustain large-scale farming. Jamie says he has yet to see an earthworm anywhere out there.

wp_20160712_20_48_30_proBut that problem had a silver lining – since the land has stood fallow for a couple of decades, it is completely free of anything non-organic – no pesticides, no chemicals.

Jamie and Chase came up with a two-tiered plan – spend the growing season experimenting with different varieties of fruits and vegetables, while nurturing the soil with organic matter for long-term viability.


a man who’s truly out standing in his field


Chase picking peppers

It was Chase’s job to decide what to plant – a role he took on like Noah preparing for the flood. In other words he planted two of everything – between 50 and 60 varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Who knew seven varieties of zucchini even existed?

Oh and there’s bees. Eight colonies of bees.


Yes. Orange watermelon.

The results? Well if you’ve had pesto on anything at the pub lately, you’ve tasted the three varieties of basil they grew. If you’ve had a vegetable medley, then you’ve tried some of the seven different squash varieties. The farm yielded a bountiful harvest for the pub this summer – for everything from basics like tomato sauce to more creative applications – like a honey melon hot sauce our Sous Chef Sam recently whipped up for our smoked wings (it was amazing).

img_1974Then, of course, there’s the pepper beer – which uses four different varieties of peppers picked fresh from Jamie’s farm the day they went in the beer. It follows in the tradition of our Coffee Porter – which uses coffee home-roasted by Jamie and his wife Sarah.

Eleven years ago, Jamie started Foothills Brewing with the goal of influencing how people in our community enjoy craft beer. The goal of the farm is no different – a sustainable (did I mention the 33 solar panels?), non-GMO, organically grown, farm-to-table operation that influences and enhances the creative menus of our pub and other area restaurants – many of whom have already shown keen interest in our produce.

So look for more from Chase and Jamie’s farm in the future – including some interesting infusions for some of our beers. Maybe we’ll call one Green Thumb.




Hops For the Home Team

cropped-facebook-jade.jpgSince we were the first craft beer maker to ever open here, we’ve always kinda considered ourselves Winston-Salem’s hometown brewery.

Well now we’re joining one of our hometown teams.

We are very, very proud to announce a 2-year partnership with Wake Forest University to serve our locally made craft beer at school athletic events. The partnership commences with Wake Forest’s first home football game, vs. Tulane on Thursday September 1st (kickoff set for 7pm).

We consider this great news for all involved … starting with our co-owner Matt Masten, one of the main architects of the deal. Says Matt, “I grew up in Winston-Salem and have been a Deacon fan for as long as I can remember. I look forward to sharing a pint with fans during the season this year.”

Jamie Bartholomaus, our president and CEO, sees this as a “natural business partnership” that pairs the prestige and prominence of Wake Forest’s academics and athletics with the most award-winning brewery in North Carolina. He says “to be invited to have our products available to Wake Forest fans is an honor, and a sponsorship we look forward to maximizing to its full potential.”

Made in WS LogoThis partnership is part of a bigger initiative entitled ‘Made in Winston-Salem’, an effort by the Athletic department to showcase local businesses on campus.

But wait, it gets better! In addition to availability at Demon Deacon football games at BB&T Field, Foothills beer will also be on sale at all men’s and women’s home basketball games at Lawrence Joel Coliseum. Wake Forest is also considering offering alcohol sales at David F. Couch Ballpark for baseball, and at Spry Stadium for men’s and women’s soccer matches.

New Hoppyum IPACarolina Blonde R08b

At football games, Hoppyum IPA & Carolina Blonde Cream Ale will be served on all concourses. Those flagship brands, as well as selected Foothills seasonal beers, will be available in the Flow Lexus Club, luxury suites, the Moricle Society suite, the Touchdown Club, and the beer garden known as Top Hat Tavern located behind Deacon Hill.

So let’s play some football! And drink some craft beer. See you at the stadium!