Foothills Brewing

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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!


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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.