Foothills Brewing

Musings and Mashings

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#HopSwap – Round 1

We’re celebrating #NCBeerMonth and supporting North Carolina’s small independent breweries by swapping beer with some of them.
Our first round of travel is complete, we’ve exchanged our Hop of the Month beer with Brown Truck Brewery in High Point and Wooden Robot Brewery in Charlotte.
We asked them a few questions while we were there:


Foothills Brewmaster TL Adkisson & Brown Truck Head Brewer Ian Burnett

Where’d your brewery’s name come from: one of the other owners, Britt Lytle, has a furniture design company, and when he was opening that they were trying to think of a name, and they couldn’t think of anything – he owned this old brown truck, and his young son said, ‘Daddy how about Brown Truck?’ So when the name for this place was being thrown around, we decided it’d be a great name for the brewery as well.

When did you open? February 2016

What’s your favorite beer that you make? I like the saison – it’s very drinkable, and as a brewer you can do so much with it.

What’s your favorite beer that Foothills makes? Everyone says Jade or Sexual Chocolate, but I like the go-to’s, Hoppyum and Torch Pilsner – both very drinkable, awesome in all weather, and they never change – always delicious.

What’s your favorite part of #HopSwap? The camaraderie it represents and nurtures – getting good friends together, swapping good beers, at the end of the day it’s all about the beer and keeping good relationships with all the other brewers – and having fun doing it.


Foothills Brewmaster TL Adkisson & Wooden Robot Head Brewer Dan Wade

Where’d your brewery’s name come from: it’s symbolic – it represents a Belgian farmhouse tradition, really artisanal local beer, and we’re applying our own American innovation to it. So the wooden represents that old school, creative artisanal way, and the robot represents our new school, scientific way of doing things.

When did you open? July 11, 2015

What’s your favorite beer that you make? whatever’s freshest and hoppiest

What’s your favorite beer that Foothills makes? Jade

What’s your favorite part of #HopSwap? it’s really just a lot of fun, and it’s really pretty cool to be able to work with a brewery that we’ve admired and looked up to.

THIS WEEK: we’re headed to Crank Arm Brewing in Raleigh and Koi Pond Brewing in Rocky Mount

follow our adventures on Twitter and Instagram


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NC Beer Month #HopSwap

Slide1 (2)By now hopefully you’ve heard about our #NCBeerMonthChallenge, urging all NC breweries and craft beer drinkers to help out their local waterways and riverkeepers during NC Beer Month.

That was not the only idea that came out of our beer-sipping brainstorming meeting.

Craft beer is, by any measure, big business. And, like any big business, competition is fierce. But unlike most businesses, there exists a “coopetition” atmosphere within our sudsy realm. Despite reports of its possible demise, we like to think that atmosphere will continue to be part of the foundation of this wonderful industry of ours.

We wanted to find a way to tangibly express that sentiment.

Our brewmaster’s solution? “Grab your car keys.”

HopSwap (2)What better way to support small breweries than by serving their beer? So that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

For the first time in its 11-year history, Foothills will be pouring NC craft beer other than its own. We’ve selected about a half dozen breweries in North Carolina that brew less than 5,000 barrels a year (us last year: 37,746). Once a week, we’re gonna load a keg of our Hop of the Month Series beer into the back of our car and drive it to one of those breweries, exchanging it (don’t worry we’re paying) for one of that brewery’s signature beers. They’ll serve our beer at their tap room, we’ll serve theirs at ours. We’re calling it our NC Beer Month #HopSwap.

It’s proving to be a popular idea; already two of the breweries we’re trading with have arranged their own #HopSwap with others.

We’ll reveal our #HopSwap partners each week; there’s some beers we’re very excited to pour. And, consequently, some great breweries we feel honored and privileged to support.

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Fun Stuff We Did

A look back at some of the crap work we did this year:

JANUARY: we debuted our #FoothillsIPAdog bottles with our very own beer dog Barley. Apparently both the beer and the bottle were delicious.

JAN Barley

By the way we donated to a dog charity in the community of each label dog in 2015 – one of our prouder accomplishments.

Also, January saw the official kickoff of The Decade Parade, our year-long celebration of our 10th Anniversary. We wound up throwing 15 separate parties across our distribution footprint. Yes it was epic.


FEBRUARY: Sexual Chocolate Release – which this year came with actual chocolates.


MARCH: Four Decade Parade parties. Or 1,230 miles on the odometer, if you prefer.


APRIL: The Tasting Room officially opened! It’s become our pub’s fun little brother.

TR night

JUNE: Our big Opening Party for the Tasting Room Opening/10th Anniversary party featured bands (including The Connells), a BBQ competition, and something that will never happen again — a 9-year vertical tapping of every year of Sexual Chocolate ever made. We threw a separate party just to showcase all that vintage beer . . . tickets sold out in 4 hours.


JULY and AUGUST: were spent recovering from previously mentioned parties. But we did find time to coax Big Bang Theory star Wil Wheaton to put his rescue pit bulls on our July IPA of the Month label. Kinda cool.


SEPTEMBER: We announced our expansion into Georgia in 2016 — something Brewmaster (and University of Georgia graduate) Jamie is pretty stoked about.


OCTOBER: Between IPA of the Month, Foot Men Series, and the random brilliance of our brew staff, we averaged one new beer release a week throughout the fall. Personal favorite? Maplewood Aged Sauvignon Blanc Jade IPA. Holy crap that beer was good.

Jade maplewood aged sauvignon blanc

NOVEMBER: Our first-ever bottling of our first-ever holiday beer, Moravian Porter. Bottles sold out in a little over a day.


DECEMBER: Goodbye IPA of the Month, hello Jade six packs.

Jade 6 Pack RT_purple handle

It was, by any measure, a special and unique year for Foothills. We raise a glass to you, without whom none of it would have been possible, and wish you lots of fun and success in 2016. That’s our plan, anyway.

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Celebrating NC Craft Beer

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a part of our continuing series for NC Beer Month, asking guest bloggers to tell us what’s collectively great about our beer and our state. This week we welcome Dave Tollefson and Glenn Cutler – better known as the NCBeerGuys – to our blogspace.

NC Beer Guys Dave Tollefson (left) and Glenn Cutler

April is NC Beer Month, and it also just happens to be our third anniversary working as the NCBeerGuys.  Understatement alert: a lot has changed on the beer scene in North Carolina since we first started promoting NC craft beer. The growth in the number of breweries has been explosive, doubling in those three short years. Apparently there’s no sign of that slowing down, as the number of breweries in planning stages will attest.

Breweries are popping up all over the state, introducing craft beer to locations that have been relatively craft beer-free. Our coast especially has seen a jump in breweries in the past year; for twenty years it was only Front Street Brewery, now seven breweries call the Wilmington area home — with still more to come! Rural areas are becoming craft beer destinations and we all know enthusiasts will make the drive for great local beer.

NC Beer Month 2015Even with all the growth in craft beer, NC Beer Month is still the time to encourage those who haven’t experienced craft beer to give it a try – and those folks are out there! Remember, as much as people think craft beer is huge, it is still just a small percentage of beer produced and consumed when compared to the big national-brand beers. The challenge for us in the promotion business is to break drinking habits and patterns that have been ingrained and to encourage people to ‘free their palate’. It’s an epiphany when people realize that craft beer is creative and diverse, with an unlimited flavor range. That first sip of a beer that’s not mega-produced is enlightenment to the non-craft drinker.

There are a plethora of events this month to help promote breweries and their craft beer creations. Breweries are holding their own events and there are festivals every week. All these events showcase the amazing creativity of the brewers, and will hopefully lure more and more people to NC craft beer. Part of the luxury of having a whole month to promote NC craft beer is that it lets all NC breweries take advantage of statewide momentum, sharing in marketing and promotion to rally around a central theme — celebrating craft beer produced in North Carolina!

Dave Tollefsen and Glenn Cutler are regular guys living in central North Carolina with their families who share a love for craft beer and homebrewing. They work together as the NCBeerGuys. They can be found online promoting North Carolina craft beer, providing information about the folks who produce local beer and writing about beer adventures, activities and events across North Carolina.



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A Day at CBC

IMG_4806It is a gathering of brewgasmic proportions — 9,000 beer professionals from all points of the globe, all descending on the city of Denver for a week of meetings, seminars, events, . . . and beer. Lots. And. Lots. Of. Beer. Navigating an entire day of the brewpalooza that is the annual Craft Brewer’s Conference takes stamina, determination . . . and a certain disregard for liver functionality.


goes well with my Denver Apple Jacks

8:15a    Breakfast — fortunately the city of Denver comes with its own signature breakfast dish. Note to self: invent Winston-Salem scrambled eggs.


I thought they said BEAR convention

8:35a    Walk to Denver Convention Center. Encounter giant blue bear trying to get in. Sorry Smokey – gotta have a badge.

9:00a   First seminar of the day – “Respectful & Distinctive Branding”, with two craft beer heavyweights on the panel – Kim Jordan from New Belgium Brewing and Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head. Kim’s advice – be creative and come up with new words when naming beers and breweries. You mean like Hoppyum? Last (and best) advice comes from Josh Lampe, Weyerbacher’s marketing manager: when it comes to competition for names, “don’t be a jerk”. Well said Josh.


10:20a    Time to hit BrewExpo America – over 500 vendors offering the latest, greatest, and at times weirdest,IMG_4828 craft beer technology and accessories. Among items I discover: designer ear plugs, little keg-shaped growlers, and a beverage glass display featuring not one but two of the glasses we’ve designed in the last year — a moment of pride! That calls for a beer. Fortunately there are over a dozen pouring stations offering free beer samples from all over the country. I know, tough gig.


again with the bears


11:05am    I discover that the wonderful purveyors of Briess Malts have found an almost-as-good-as-beer use for their product. Bless them.


11:30a   I spend a few minutes with Ginger Johnson, CEO of Women Enjoying Beer, the only company in the U.S. that specializes in marketing beer to women. Ginger shares her considerable passion on the subject. Over a beer, of course.


Mile High-ppyum


11:50a    I read a story once about some kids who stole a lawn ornament and proceeded to take pictures of it all over the world. I do that with our beer.




12:15p    Lunch (and more beer) at a MastersViewing Party at Breckenridge Brewery. Turnout is sparse. I blame Tiger.

  IMG_48591:20p    Seminar time again – this one with our own brewmaster, Jamie Bartholomaus, on a panel discussing fast growing breweries. I ask if everyone will be eight feet tall by the time we’re done. Jamie patiently explains that I’ve misinterpreted ‘fast growing’. Of note: Jamie uses the word ‘quality’ no fewer than a dozen times during his musings on the explosive growth of Foothills.


3:00p    Through family connections, I’m invited to visit a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate who is now working at Wynkoop Brewery — which is good news, since it’s been almost two hours since I’ve had a beer. Wynkoop is the oldest craft beer maker in the city of Denver, and I’m introduced to their singularly unique Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout – brewed with the aforementioned ingredient, a moniker for bull testicles. It is, as the label implies, ballsy.


5:30p    after 2-plus hours of beer sampling, I pour myself out the door of Wynkoop to reconvene with the Foothills contingent for dinner (and more beer) at a place called, ironically, Prohibition. The check is delivered in a book. An actual book. IMG_4873

8:45p    We converge on the Fillmore for a concert featuring The Funky Meters. Over more beers I have several meaningful conversations. None of which I remember. IMG_4876

10:30p    Concert’s over – I grab a ride back downtown on a party bus. Complete with saddle.


10:50p    As though someone, late at night, tilted up the edges of Denver, all the nocturnal funkiness seems to drain into Star Bar, an alley with a roof on it that’s the seamiest fun to be had in the Mile High City. There is karaoke going on. Which makes another beer suddenly seem like a good idea.

12:00a    Had my fill. If I cut myself, I would probably foam instead of bleed. But one has to salute the fervor with which this city embraces craft beer in general, and this event in particular. Cheers to you Denver. Many times over, as it turns out.


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5 Reasons You Should Care About NC Beer Month


April is NC Beer Month, as we celebrate the beers and breweries unique to our lovely state. OK, we do that every day, but now you have an official reason to do it. For 30 days at least.

1. 100 and counting: There are now over 100 breweries in the state of North Carolina, about 4% of the U.S. total, with another couple of dozen in planning. Don’t look now but you are right in the thick of the surging craft beer movement if you live in the Tar Heel State.

2. Speaking of surges: Total beer volume growth was down about 1% last year in the U.S. But factor out fizzy yellow uber-marketed beer, and those of the craft persuasion saw almost 20% growth last year.

3. It supports local: Fresh beer’s the best beer. The closer your beer’s made to where you’re sitting right now, the more you’ll probably enjoy it. Unless you’re sitting in the Dan River. See? Local humor’s the best too.

DSCN22174. We’re throwing a month-long party: hardly a day will go by in April that we won’t have something going on at our Winston-Salem pub:

  • Mondays we’ll extend our randall hours and show a movie in the pub at 9pm. First one’s a surprise (hint: FOOD FIGHT!!)
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, we’ll add a ‘Beer Round’ of questions to our normal trivia nights; whoever accumulates the most points over the course of the month will win a private Beer School for 8 people
  • Friday nights we’re turning Chef Shane loose in our newly refurbished kitchen to create small plates and beer pairings
  • Every other Saturday we’ll open our brewery for tours and tastings (yes you can keep your glass)
  • We’ll wrap up NC Beer Month with a Beer Dinner on April 30th

2014-nc-beer-month5. It’s about beer: enough said.

So get out and celebrate! Go to to check out events in your area. See why North Carolina is the State of Southern Beer.