Behind the Barn Door: The Haw River Blog

filed under: Grand Opening, Events, Beer Culture, Beer
posted by: Ben Woodward

We Get Beer with a Little Help from Our Friends

Those of you who follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram may have noticed over the past few weeks that we've been posting images of the Haw River team working closely with friends at other NC breweries on a bit of a rather mysterious project. What do you do when you have an army of friends in the beer industry, but are patiently awaiting the day you can open your own doors? Why, you make beer with them!

The question many of you may have in regards to these little "one-off" collaborations is: So where's all this beer heading? One of the more frustrating aspects of attending new brewery openings is that there may (understandably) be only a few beers on tap, or even more disappointing, the brewery will source a few kegs of everyday brands from another local brewery and have a few "guest taps", just to round out the selection. Opening a brewery is a lengthy, sometimes-difficult, always-rewarding process, so when the Haw River grand opening finally rolls around this summer, we think we should pull out the stops. So when we started planning our grand opening and the first few weeks of business over a year ago, we had an idea to put something really special together just for all of you, just for our grand opening.

Dawnya adds hops to a collaboration saison at Mystery Brewing in Hillsborough.

(Before we get too far, know that we're very close to setting a date for the grand opening celebration... we're only a couple weeks from brewing our first scheduled batch onsite here in Saxapahaw, but as of the last week in July, are currently still at the mercy of the last few contractors and licensing agents... we want to make sure we don't string everyone along with rescheduled delays announced every few days, so just hang tight while we wrap things up properly and we'll announce a date as soon as we have complete control over the brewery and are able to pinpoint exactly where we are and what we're looking at.)

So here's what we have in store for you guys: We're teaming up with a dozen of your favorite NC breweries to brew very special, very fun, one-time collaboration beers, which we'll have on tap at our grand opening celebration, alongside a few of your favorite our soon-to-be regular Haw River beers! We're really excited about these collaborations, and we've already been working on a few of them since the idea came together last summer.

Mashing in with Michael, head brewer and owner at Sub Noir Brewing in Raleigh

Want a little sneak peek at some of them? We've got two batches under our belts so far, and have more brew days at friends' breweries on the calendar throughout the next few weeks, all leading up to our grand opening celebration later this summer.

Last fall, we spent a lovely fall day with our friends at Sub Noir Brewing Company in Raleigh, filling a freshly-emptied, second-use brandy barrel with almost 60 gallons of a bright, lovely saison, which was then fermented with eight different, unique strains of Brettanomyces (a type of "wild" yeast) and tucked into a corner of his brewery to age gracefully until we get our doors open this summer. We're calling this one "Dust Bunny", and we're really excited about pouring one for you soon.

We've also recently brewed another saison using Riverbend base malt, that's been placed into a few barrels over at Mystery Brewing Company in Hillsborough for a beer we're calling "Memorial Day 2012" (named after Mystery head brewer Erik's favorite jab at our—rather naive, in hindsight—original announced opening date). This beer will become a blend of barrel-fermented saisons fermented with both our house yeast and Mystery's own, in two types of barrels—the two beers will ferment next to one another and be combined just before packaging to result in a delicate, layered, complex farmhouse ale.

Nathan adds our house yeast to the brandy barrels at Mystery Brewing in Hillsborough.

On deck next, we're brewing a beer called "Coffee & Cigarettes" with our buddy Les over at Trophy Brewing in Raleigh, so follow us on social media and find out more about what's gonna be another good one! Then be prepared for more details soon on something fun with the guys from Steel String in Carrboro, the great folks at Deep River in Clayton, more from Big Boss in Raleigh, Front Street in Wilmington, Fullsteam in Durham, and several more we're keeping the lid on for now! We're excited about some of the details we're starting to pull together for our grand opening weekend, and we're getting really close to announcing a date soon (so you can make sure to get the babysitter scheduled and your designated driver all lined up), as well as dropping a few more details on the mini-collaborations we have planned and other fun things surrounding our opening.

Thanks again for everyone's patience as we've been moving into the final phases of the buildout. The brewery really is starting to look fantastic, and we can't wait to invite you to our home here in Saxapahaw to show off all our hard work and, more importantly, to pour a glass, just for you. We promise it'll all be worth the wait very, very soon. Cheers!