Mississippi Craft Beer on the Rise


 

MISSISSIPPI CRAFT BEER ON THE RISE

BY ZAK DUCOTE

Mississippi craft beer used to be something one could only correlate with the state’s oldest package brewery, Lazy Magnolia. That’s the past now. As most of you know, beer laws changed back on July 1, 2012, and the Magnolia State has been growing ever since. There are now a total of seven active breweries producing homegrown craft beer in Mississippi. Problems arose as Mississippi began losing revenue because people were driving over state lines to purchase quality, high-gravity, craft beer. Raise Your Pints, a non-profit organization, lobbied and aided in raising the ABV to 10.2%. In turn, Mississippi craft culture has risen to the occasion quickly  and it is not expected to slow down.

Lazy Magnolia has been the trailblazer for Mississippi craft beer since 2005. They paved the way and have created beer that exemplifies the south and southern flavors. This year will be a big year as they begin distributing to new markets. Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Indianapolis are all new states and territories you will be able to get Lazy Magnolia beer. Be sure to head to their brewery for their First Friday events held on the first Friday of every month where they raise money for a different cause or organization. At each event you can find live music, tastings and a tour.

The second brewery to open in Mississippi was Lucky Town Brewing in Jackson. These guys were tired of their fellow Mississippians leaving the state to get better beer so they decided to change that. Not only have they become a staple to the Jackson area but they also brew some damn good beer that you can find state-wide. They set out to bring better, more enjoyable beer to the people of Mississippi and they are succeeding.

Southern Prohibition Brewing and Gordon Creek Brewery are both residing in Hattiesburg. SoPro, what the locals call it, is the only brewery in the state that cans all of their beer. Craft beer in cans is becoming more popular as many new breweries forgo traditional bottles. This isn’t hard to believe considering cans let in no light, which can make beer skunky. Gordon Creek is currently only on draft in the Hattiesburg area. The Hub City’s craft beer scene is ahead of the rest of the state. Hattiesburg boasts some awesome craft beer bars like The Keg and Barrel and The Mahogany Bar. Draft Magazine just rated The Mahogany Bar one of America’s 100 Best Beer Bars. This is a prestigious award amongst bars in the U.S.

Down on the Gulf Coast, Crooked Letter Brewing in Ocean Springs opened in late 2012. They have started to bottle their four flagship beers: Gipsy IPA (7.5%), Crooked Heffy (7%), Stabello Italian Lager (7%) and Mystery Romp (6.5%). Crooked Letter Brewing was the first brewery to open in Ocean Springs, a small coastal town known for art festivals and a lively downtown. Crooked Letter Brewmaster and CEO, Wanda Blacksmith, created the recipe for Mystery Romp. This beer is a well-crafted coffee and chocolate porter. It is brewed with roasted coffee beans from Coast Roast out of Long Beach, MS. Coast Roast uses a 108-year-old coffee roaster that takes the idea of craft beer and craft coffee and combines them into a sublime artisanal craft. Expect to find their six pack bottles in stores by the end of January or early February. 

Not only are there many new breweries in Mississippi, but there is also a new brewpub that opened in Gulfport, MS in 2013. Cousins, Samson and Alex Vasquez, began home brewing and realized by their second batch that they had something special. The two decided to open Mississippi Brewing Company on Gulfport Lake next to The Dock restaurant. Because Mississippi Brewing is a nano-brewery brewpub and not a production brewery, the only way to try their beer is at the brewpub itself. “We’ve made 80 batches of beer in 2013 by ourselves,” said Samson. They have a huge lineup with 7 beers on tap and a couple of other selections that pop up from time to time. They serve very tasty bar food and you can find home brewing supplies for sale, too.

Some of the latest breweries to open up have come out of north Mississippi. Oxford Brewing hails from the Ole Miss nation, Oxford, MS. Oxford Brewing stays true to their surroundings with the Sorority Blonde Ale. It’s their entry-level craft beer and it definitely embodies the Ole Miss spirit. Their motto holds truthful ground, “Sorority Blonde is like a southern woman, easy on the eyes and sweet on the lips.” The south is definitely known for growing some beautiful women.

Yalobusha Brewing is from the small town of Water Valley, MS, in Yalobusha County. It is North Mississippi’s first production brewery. Yalobusha hired Tony Balzola from Portland, Oregon, who has 13 years of brewing experience at McMenamins Brewing Co., and they are now working on assembling a bottling line for full bottle production. By the end of January 2014, Yalobusha Brewing will be available all over the state of Mississippi.

This will be a big year for Mississippi craft beer. Grab a pint, relax and remember to drink Mississippi.

Link to full article: http://ms-modern.com/beer/mississippi-craft-beer-on-the-rise/