Mother Earth Brewing. Hops, Gardening, and Rock and Roll.

So many big decisions throughout time have occurred over the quaffing of beer.  The inception of one of North Carolina’s growing, and quite good, craft breweries occurred over organic tomato juice.  Technically, it was over a red-eye, a mix of both, so there was beer present.  The red eye was courtesy of Stephen Hill, an organic gardener and one time home brewer, and served to his son in law, Trent Mooring.  According to the brewery’s website, when Trent tasted the combination of good craft beer with delicious home grown organic tomato juice, “that was it”.  Trent soon began home brewing as well and the two men began to imagine a brewery.  As it turns out, the mix of homegrown cultivation and beer didn’t end with the red eye.  Truly, it only began there.  It would become the foundation of a brewery that would come to be named, appropriately, Mother Earth.  The two men, determined to base the brewery in their hometown of Kinston, NC, turned an abandoned downtown building into a beer producing model of eco friendliness.  Solar panels dot the roof, recycled denim lines the inside of the walls, and carpet made from renewable resources is used on the floors.  With all this dedication to their hometown and to running an earth friendly business, the name of the brewery seems, in a word, natural, right?  But the men didn’t come upon their brewery’s namesake, at least directly, from their green mission statement.  We owe that part of the story, somehow appropriately enough, to classic rock.

Before much of the planning for the building or brewery was underway, the two sat down to listen to bunch of favorite tunes.  Eventually, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Mother Earth” made it to the playlist, and it seemed to echo the values the men held important, and ones the brewery would be based around.  From the building to the brewing, green was on the mind of the founders.  Those solar panels on the roof completely power the brewery’s taproom.  “Blue jean insulation”, which according to the website is an entirely recyclable product, lines the walls.  Soy based insulation lines the ceilings.  A water heater heats on demand, instead of all the time, and like many eco conscious breweries, spent grain from the brewing process is sent to local farmers for cattle feed.  The brewery recently posted a message on their website noting that two cisterns were soon to be put into use to catch rainwater, in turn used to water plants and for toilet water at the brewery.  The brewery’s smaller ecological footprint also reaches the beer itself, as the six pack carriers are made from 100% recycled material and the tap handles are even made from bamboo.

“Mother Earth”, then, would seem fitting as the name going on each bottle.  Perhaps this is even more fitting for a brewery than other kinds of businesses, one might contend, since beer truly is a beverage of the earth – grain, water, yeast, hops.  The brewery’s green mission certainly would be worthy of anyone’s interest on its own.  But add to the mix that the beer Mother Earth produces is pretty darn exceptional, and the whole story starts to really come full circle.  From their German Dunkel lager “Dark Cloud” to their summer day in a bottle Kolsch “Endless River”, from their American stout “Silent Night” to their Belgian Tripel “Tripel Overhead”, overwhelmingly positive reviews of several Mother Earth brews are the norm from the editors of beeradvocate.com.  The final word from the BA guys can be summed up with this quote, from their review of the brewery’s Dunkel lager Dark Cloud: “N.C. craft brewing flexing its muscles here.”  On a recent trip to North Carolina, I was lucky enough to try several of their beers, which in turn prompted a stop before leaving to bring several bottles back home.  Personally, their India Pale Ale “Sisters Of The Moon” became an instant favorite.  Most IPAs, of course, do feature some sort of citrus flavor, with red grapefruit as a common, almost stereotypical flavor, as is sometimes pineapple.  I can only describe Sisters as a sublime mix of these and other tropical like fruits, with just enough malt sweetness and moderate bitterness.  It is very good, without being in your face with any one particular characteristic.  Often, when you have beers that you can say this about, they are solid but not very memorable.  This is definitely an exception to the rule.

From a renovated building in small Kinston, North Carolina, what began with a home grown red-eye now has grown into a quality craft brewery from which many top notch beers flow.  Stephen and Trent continue to build upon their original intent, to create great, memorable beer with a constant eye on staying as earth friendly as possible.  Recently, the brewery announced plans to add a canning line to the brewery, further lessening their ecological impact while giving us, the drinkers of their beer, a new way to buy their good brew.  Two years ago, the brewery planted their own hops, and according to the brewery website, the first growing season yielded “unfathomable growth”.  With the brewery’s constant dedication to staying green and putting out great beer, I suppose it was only natural that the real Mother Earth would give its own blessing to the brewery.

Please visit the Mother Earth Brewery website – where the whole story of its ecologically friendly mission can be found.

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~ by thebeerroad on May 4, 2011.

 
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