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We have a storied beer history in Winston-Salem, NC. In fact, it was once the site of a Schlitz brewery for 30 years – the largest brewery of its time! And current headlining brewery, Foothills Brewing, established in 2004, is quickly gaining national popularity. But recently, the city has seen a real boom in the beer scene. You could even call 2013 “The Year of Beer” in Winston-Salem. Excellent brewers, bars and specialty bottle shops opened over the past year and they have received a warm welcome. My Winston-Salem.com was privileged to be invited to tour and taste at most of these joints and our thirst for quality was not disappointed.
Small Batch Beer Co.
Small Batch Beer Co. opened its doors in November, 2013 in downtown Winston-Salem at the former Kopper Kitchen location at Fifth and Cherry Streets. It is a nano brewery serving unique craft beers brewed one barrel at a time on the premises. They also offer carefully selected wines, bottled beers and handcrafted cocktails. Owners Tim Walker, Ryan Blain and Cliff Etchason concoct flavorful beers in small batches.
- Limonhead IPA – hoppy and brewed with fresh lemons
- Sweater Melons – a fresh melon saison
- “Kranked” – a mocha cappuccino stout made with locally brewed Krankies Coffee
While these brews are popular now, remember that one of the primary ideas behind this brewery is that it will make beers with local and seasonal ingredients when they are available. So, the beers on tap are likely to change from week to week. We can’t think of a better reason to go back time and again to taste what’s new.
Guest taps feature favorite imports. Tim also makes a great cocktail. He won me over with his fresh-squeezed blood orange margarita made with jalapeño infused tequila.
Also a sustainable bonus is that the leftover hops and grains from making their beers are donated to a local ostrich farmer to feed his flocks. I suppose there might be some well-fed tipsy ostriches stumbling around out there.
The atmosphere at Small Batch Beer Co. is full of character as well, with hand-written beer names on the white subway tile backsplash housing the custom-made taps. The decor also features wood-slatted walls made from pallets, fresh flowers in blue Ball jars on the tables and the newly revealed Kickstarter supporter board with names of all those who contributed to making this dream come true. (See if you can find “MyWinstonSalem” on the wall!)
For now, Tim, Ryan and Cliff plan to keep the old Kopper Kitchen sign (the public gives up a sigh of relief). Future plans (expected in the coming weeks actually) include offering tapas and an expansion next door that will include artisan sandwiches.
241 W. 5th St.
Winston-Salem, NC 27101