Foothills Brewing

Musings and Mashings

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What’s Next

Been a busy Fall – we released Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate, won five medals (one at Great American Beer Festival and four at NC Brewer’s Cup), and released Craft Happiness IPA Project beers that are raising awareness (and funding) for the causes of literacy, service animals, and hunger.

Time for a break right?

Frostbite Black IPA.jpg



Here’s an update on what we have coming up:

Frostbite: Our seasonal black IPA is hitting shelves as we speak – we call it the official beer of Jack Frost, blending barley and roasted wheat malts with a big blast of flavor and aroma from Pacific Northwest hops. As refreshingly bracing as a cold winter day.

ORF (4)Olde Rabbit’s Foot: North Carolina’s original collaboration beer has been resurrected after a 5-year hiatus! The beer is a blend of imperial stouts from all three breweries (yes, we used Sexual Chocolate for our part) and has been aging in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels.


  • ORF will go on tap simultaneously at our pub and tasting room, as well as the tap rooms for  Olde Hickory Brewery and The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, on Friday November 10th at 4pm.
  • Bottle sales will begin Saturday November 11th, when both our pub and tasting room doors open at 11am. Same times for tap and bottle sales locations at Olde Hickory and Duck-Rabbit.
  • Price is $20/bottle, there will be no bottle limit on purchases. Since we’re not sure how many people will be showing up, we don’t have a lot of details on lines and wristbanding. If we do wind up with a long line prior to opening our doors, we will wristband everyone to denote your place in line.

peoplesMoravianPorter_CMYK[1]Moravian Porter: your favorite Triad holiday beer is back on its traditional release day, Black Friday (November 24), when both draft and bottles will be available. As we did last year, we’re partnering with Dewey’s Bakery to create gift boxes that’ll have a bomber, a box of Moravian cookies, a limited edition pint glass, and some other goodies in it. We ran out of these pretty quickly last year; we’ve made more this year but they’ll still get snapped up pretty quickly, so make sure your Black Friday plans include a stop at Foothills.

Sustenance (Custom)Craft Happiness IPA Project: today marks the release of Sustenance, brewed to bring awareness to hunger issues in our community. Did you know 1 in 4 kids in North Carolina is food insecure? 1 IN 4. so every pint and bottle of Sustenance you buy will go to alleviating that need. Our friends from Second Harvest Food Bank will have donation boxes set up at the pub and tasting room – be sure and bring something to drop in those boxes when you stop by.

CherishDecember’s Craft Happiness IPA is Cherish, brewed to highlight the needs of kids who could use a helping hand to have a Merry Christmas. We’ll be having a toy and gift drive all month – we can use your help with that one too!

Footnote Café: Our owners, architects and contractors are hard at work (as you can see from the picture below), and work continues, slowly but surely, on our latest venture – while we don’t think it will be ready for the holiday season, we’re working to get it open as soon as we can. Stay tuned.

footnote construct


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Foothills Job Fair

Footnote picWanna be part of our Foothills Family?

By now hopefully you’ve heard – we’re opening up another location called Footnote. Which is going to need cheerful, smiling faces. Like maybe yours.

So we’re holding a job fair at our downtown pub on Thursday October 5th from 2-4pm.

We’re looking to fill the following positions:

  • Wait staff
  • Host staff
  • Kitchen staff
  • Footnote catering staff
  • Brewery packaging staff
  • Sous Chef
  • PM Kitchen Manager
  • Footnote Assistant Manager

Come down and apply with us! Bring your resume, and we’ll need to run a background check if we’re interested in hiring you.

Questions before then? direct them to


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Bourbon Barrel Sexual Chocolate 2017

Sexys Back 9-9-17“Sultry”. “Decadent”. Unforgettable”.

Just a few of the superlatives used over the years to describe our Bourbon Barrel Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout, which we will release on September 8th (draft) and 9th (bottles).

FHBBLAgedSexualChocolate22ozBottle1Following are frequently asked questions we get every year. 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.

  • So what exactly is the big deal about this beer?

We brew our Russian Imperial Stout, Sexual Chocolate, just once a year. A small portion of the yield goes into bourbon barrels (Buffalo Trace, in this case) , where it’s aged for several months. Then we put it in bottles and on tap. Then we drink it.
The beer has a 100 rating on RateBeer, a 96 rating on Beeradvocate, and is often called one of the most sought after and coveted beers in America.
We traditionally tap our first keg Friday afternoon at 4pm, then have bottle sales on Saturday.

  • I hear there’s a party the night before the release?

Image may contain: 5 peopleYou are correct. Foothills will host its traditional Bottle Share Pre-Release Party on Friday night September 8th beginning around 7:00 pm, in the brewery portion of our pub at 638 West 4th Street in Winston-Salem. Here’s how it works: we open up the party 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’ suds and we’re not responsible for the incessant mocking which will inevitably ensue. Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate will be on tap at the bar, and we’ll have appetizers to snack on if you’re famished.

  • What are the rules for getting in line for bottle purchase?

The line to buy BA 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: do not, repeat, DO NOT, start lining up before we close. Please and thank you.

Image may contain: one or more people, tree, crowd and outdoor

  • Any rules while I’m in line?

Only the Golden Rule. Treat your line mates as you would like to be treated.
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

  • Can I pitch a tent in line?

As long as it’s not one of those 10-person monstrosities, yes you can bring a tent. The 2-man type works best. We’ve seen everything in line from sleeping bags to lounge chairs to blow-up mattresses. Let your comfort be your guide. That and the weather – overnight lows are usually in the high 50s – low 60s.

  • Any restroom facilities available overnight?

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.

  • How is the bottle purchase organized?

00E3478AAround 6:30 am we will rouse you for a brisk round of calisthenics. Just kidding.  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 the night on (or near) the ground.

  • What’s the best time for me to get in line and be assured a bottle?

Ah, that most frequently asked of the frequently asked questions.
Here’s what we can tell you: bottles tend to get snapped up quickly. That will probably continue to be the case this year. We politely suggest that, if you want to partake in this beer, please plan accordingly (“wow they put that in bold italics they must be serious”). If you show up at 4:00 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.

  • How about if I ask on social media what the best time to line up is?

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 is not in tune with the spirit of this event. 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.

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, crowd and indoor

  • When does the pub open on Saturday?

The pub will open at 8:00 am. Barrel Aged 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.
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.

  • How many bottles can I buy and how much are they?

Bottle limit this year is 12 (double last year’s limit!). Bottles are $20 each. We take all forms of payment — cash, credit cards, your firstborn…

  •  Will you give me something to carry my beer in?

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, just to be safe. How big you ask? About (insert number of bottles you plan to buy) bottles big.

  • teku glassCan I get growler fills of Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate?

No growler fills of Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate. And no growling about no growler fills.

  • Will you have any other cool stuff for sale?

Why yes, we’ll have plenty of Sexual Chocolate Rastal Teku glasses for sale ($15). They’re very cool. Somehow the beer seems to taste better in them. We’ll also have an assortment of merchandise, including Sexual Chocolate long and short sleeve t-shirts.

Our Tasting Room will also be getting in on the fun with their Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate Draft Release Party. They’ll tap their kegs on Friday afternoon September 8th at 4pm when they open. La Vie En Rose food truck will be there, with a special “breakfast for dinner” menu, and there will be live music from Triad favorites Bad Hombres (with members from Big Daddy Love) 7-10pm.

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.

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


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Liquid Passion

craft-happiness-tap-stickerThe response to our Craft Happiness IPA Project has made us, well, happy.

It was a simple idea: have a beer, and make a difference. we theme an IPA with a charitable need, and give proceeds and awareness to a different need every month.

Since January that idea has been embraced by communities all over North Carolina. Just this past weekend, to support this month’s Craft Happiness theme of clean natural water resources (and our Clean IPA), Triangle residents got together for a #CraftHappiness Cleanup at Lake Johnson in Raleigh.

lake2 lake1 lake3

Clean thumbnailNow obviously, clean natural water resources are kind of a big deal to craft brewers. More than 90% of the product we make is water. Here in the Triad, the responsibility for our lakes and rivers is in the hands of Yadkin Riverkeeper. Their efforts to protect and improve the Yadkin Pee Dee River Basin culminate every year with a summer-long paddle tour down the entire Yadkin River.

As we wrap up this month of bringing awareness to our rivers. lakes and streams, we sat down with YRK’s Will Scott to get the pulse of what’s going on with their organization.

What’s keeping Yadkin Riverkeeper busy these days?
Yadkin Riverkeeper is focused on reducing the amount of mud and fertilizer in the river.  Last year, the Yadkin was #1 in North Carolina for levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment (also known as mud).  You don’t get a trophy for that.

YRK 2The two main culprits here are our agricultural sector and our cities.

On the agricultural side, EPA ranked North Carolina #1 in the country in amount of manure per acre of farmland. The Yadkin has one of the biggest concentrations of poultry facilities in the state, enough to house around fifty million chickens at any time -and that’s just in the upper part of the watershed.  While most people have heard about hog farms, poultry in North Carolina actually generates three times as much nitrogen and six times as much phosphorus as hogs.  That’s a lot of poop.

YRK 4It’s so much that our corn, hay and soy crops can’t absorb all of it and these powerful fertilizers ends up in the river, growing algae in lakes like High Rock.  That can cause fish kills and be dangerous to swimmers, particularly kids.

Our cities are the other main source of nutrient overload – while cities in other parts of the state like the Triangle have put controls on how much fertilizer they pump into local rivers, most towns and cities on the Yadkin still just let them run into the river.  We’ll be working with the cities and agricultural organizations to find the most efficient way to reduce pollution from both sectors and clean the river up.

Image result for yadkin riverkeeper tour logoWhat details can you share about the upcoming Yadkin River Tour?
We have Yadkin River Tour paddles coming up August 19th in Elkin and September 24th to Carolina Heritage Vineyards in Surry County.  You can bring your own boat or rent one from us.  We run shuttles, so all you have to do is show up, paddle and join us for a bite or a drink after!

What’s one thing you want people to know about their natural water resources?
The Yadkin’s headwaters start at Blowing Rock and run along the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way into Virginia.  When you drink water in Winston-Salem, that’s where it comes from.  We have some of the cleanest, most protected headwaters of any river in the state – all we have to do is make sure that it stays clean once it comes off the mountains!





cheersThe more you share… the more you have.

That single premise permeates the entire craft beer industry, and is in part responsible for its explosive growth.

It’s true for us here at Foothills too – in big initiatives like our Craft Happiness IPA Project, but in little ways as well – the simple joy we’ve gotten from sharing our beer with our family, friends and community ever since our pub opened in 2005.

The space we bought for our pub back then at 638 W. 4th Street had sat vacant for awhile. It had originally been a car dealership, then an auto parts store, even a sketchy night club or two (remember Club Lava?) before we rolled in the brewing tanks.


We shared a wall with an automotive repair shop that was in business for over two decades. When they closed up shop early last year, we started daydreaming about what we maybe could do with that big empty space next door.

Add more brewing space? Well we already have a 48,000-square-foot brewery with a 75,000 barrel capacity. So, no.

Add more restaurant space? Winston-Salem loves a good restaurant. Not sure we need one that’s 10,000 square feet.

So, as we looked at what we might do with part of that space, we discovered that our resident literary non-profit group, Bookmarks, had their eyes on part of that space as well for a bookstore-slash-coffee shop. That gave our co-owner Matt Masten an idea – what if we shared the space?

Our other (enterprising) co-owner Jamie Bartholomaus added a suggestion –  “hey you want a coffee roaster for your new coffee shop?” Side note – yes we actually own a coffee roaster. Or at least Jamie does. He bought it a couple of years ago (prompting many an eye roll from his staff).

BookmarksThat conversation led to many others with Matt and Jamie. Long story short? We decided to do what we do best (besides make beer) – share.

So while Bookmarks has already opened their bookstore on their side of the building, we’re in the early stages of building out our own little footnote to our pub next door.

In fact, that’s what we’ve decided to call it – Footnote.

Footnote picIt’s a natural extension of our pub next door (and our brand), and will be an all-day kinda place – open early for coffee (roasted with, yes, Jamie’s roaster) and breakfast pastries, then later in the day/evening it’ll function a basic high-end bar – complete with single malt scotches, single barrel bourbons, craft spirits, and a curated wine and cocktail list from our wildly talented bar staff. And, of course, plenty of Foothills beer (since it’s brewed right on the other side of the wall).

Food? Yep we’ll have food. Charcuterie, tapas, cold appetizers – perfect fare for the relaxed vibe we’re planning at Footnote.

We’re going for an elevated comfort level as well – overstuffed chairs and couches inside, outside seating space (on both sides of the building) with tables to enjoy the (almost always) beautiful North Carolina weather.

Best part? We’re hoping the space will become one of the preeminent private function facilities in downtown Winston-Salem. It will have three rooms of varying sizes, plus the main bar area, which altogether will offer 4,500 square feet of event space, with room for 250 people. By comparison, right now our pub can handle 40 in its private dining room and 75 in the mezzanine. So anything from a small business meeting (we’ll have complete A/V functions) to family and class reunions, anniversaries, Christmas parties, rehearsal dinners – the space will be a great venue for you to consider. We’re even creating a special catering menu exclusively for Footnote.

By now you’re saying “Sounds cool! Can’t wait to go! When’s it open?” (subliminal suggestion). Two things on that:

  • We have every intention of having it open by mid-fall, in time to plan your holiday parties there if you so desire (but don’t call just yet, we’re not taking reservations).
  • Part of the challenge, quite frankly, will be finding it. There will be a breezeway (with signage) on 4th Street just east of the pub that leads there. There will also be a parking lot behind the pub off of Holly Avenue with access.

Once you find it, however, you’ll be glad you did. Hopefully as glad as we are to be opening a new space – and sharing it.



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.



  • ORF will go on tap simultaneously at our pub and tasting room, as well as the tap rooms for  Olde Hickory Brewery and The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, on Friday November 10th at 4pm.
  • Bottle sales will begin Saturday November 11th, when both our pub and tasting room doors open at 11am. Same times for tap and bottle sales locations at Olde Hickory and Duck-Rabbit.
  • Price is $20/bottle, there will be no bottle limit on purchases. Since we’re not sure how many people will be showing up, we don’t have a lot of details on lines and wristbanding. If we do wind up with a long line prior to opening our doors, we will wristband everyone to denote your place in line.


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!