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Brewing the NC Way

“NC Craft Beer and Breweries”
by Erik Lars Myers
Book siging/reading at Cape Fear
Wine and Beer • 139 N. Front St.
4/27, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

While on the phone with erik Lars Myers, author and founder of Mystery Brewery, I found a lot of similarities between us beer lovers. Both originating in the north (Myers coming from Maine, myself born in New York) and comfortably settling down in the North Carolina climate and culture, we each have a profound appreciation for this state’s rapidly developing craft-brew movement.

“I moved down here around nine or 10 years ago when my wife began grad school,” Myers says. “I immediately fell in love—the climate, the beer scene, and now with Mystery. It feels like I am helping the state in many ways, economically and by providing a craft most people can enjoy. It really makes me proud to be a North Carolinian.”

Having never had brothers, it’s difficult to fully comprehend what teenage boys expect for their birthdays. However, for a newly turned 13-year-old Myers, homebrewing entered his adolescent life when his mother handed him a brewing kit. “It blew up from then on,” he laughs. Craft beer not only became a hobby but a deep passion. Even though he pursued theater in college, the fantasy of making beer for a living was always in the back of his mind.

“Three years ago, if someone told me that I would’ve had my own brewery, I would’ve laughed it off and never believed it,” he says. “A lot of people who get in this business usually are first walking down completely different paths, like being a lawyer, teacher, whatever. Some of those peoples’ families end up being somewhat disappointed their kid went into the beer industry, rather than finishing grad school or law school. With my family, they were pleasantly surprised with where I ended up.”

Thus began the fruition of Mystery Brewery, a brand new craft beer spot based in Hillsborough, North Carolina, about 20 minutes away from Durham. Only a month old, Mystery is approaching the beer industry a bit differently. There are no flagship beers and no regular lineup of brews, only seasonals.

“The beers we produce will change every few months, and it will all be local,” Myers explains. “It’s our way of trying to embrace variability in beer. Of course, consistent quality is good. Beer is very much like wine as an agricultural product that constantly goes through change; a lot of it based on the season and what that season brings, as far as ingredients, harvesting and so forth. The industry tends to ignore that rather than celebrate it. Whatever we put out, it’ll mainly be based on the season, its popularity and available ingredients.”

While preparing for Mystery to fully sink into the North Carolina brew market, a publisher approached Myers on writing a “guide book” on North Carolina craft beer. With the right timing and Myers’ growing activity in the North Carolina Brewers Guild, writing “NC Craft Beer and Breweries” was the perfect opportunity to support the industry and help beer connoisseurs.

From the mountains to our beloved Atlantic coast, the book profiles 45 brewpubs and breweries statewide, providing useful details like location and contact information, tour times and hours of operation, and the breweries’ regular lineups of beers and seasonal releases. Also included are each brewery’s history, the vision of its founders and how they offer something different or unique to the beer world. While detailing the thriving craft beer industry in our great state, Myers also included sidebars about festivals, bottle shops and other beer-related features, like hop farms, cideries and meaderies.

“The book tour that I’m starting for this is going to be great,” he says. “I have been to Wilmington before, and I’m glad the launch will be at Cape Fear Wine and Beer. I’ve talked to Kevin Kozak, the brewer for Front Street Brewery, and the brewers guild really talked up the place and the Port City area in general. I’m pretty excited . . . I’ve attended a few of the beer festivals here in Wilmington, and I look forward to being more involved with them and with this city in the near future.”

To catch Erik Lars Myers and his launch of “NC Beers and Breweries,” folks can swing by Cape Fear Wine and Beer on Friday, April 27th, at 4 p.m. It’s free admission, and plenty of craft beer will be availble to choose from—a perfect backdrop for Myers to discuss the value of North Carolina beer.

For info on Mystery Brewing, visit www.mysterybrewing.com.

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, 910tix.com. Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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