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Celtic Crossing in Cooper-Young to host its annual Irish Beer Dinner on March 14

March 08, 2013 By: mike Category: Events, Memphis

March 14 is turning out to be a busy night for beer events in Memphis.

The 4th annual Brew Movement Against Multiple Sclerosis, featuring craft beer, homebrew, food, live music and a silent auction, is March 14 at the Pink Palace Museum.

And at Napa Cafe in East Memphis, there’s the 4th installment of The Chocistry Experience by award-winning chocolatier, Phillip Ashley Rix, which will pair chocolate with beers from Ghost River Brewing.

Finally, for those looking to fill up on beer and hearty Irish fare, there’s the annual Irish Beer Dinner at Celtic Crossing benefiting the Cooper-Young Community Association and its beautification efforts. Here’s more information from the Facebook event page:

It’s that time of year again! Kick off the St. Patrick’s Day celebration with our annual Sam Adams Beer dinner. This year, proceeds will be going towards the Cooper Young Community Associations beautification efforts. Tickets are $50 per person or $90 per couple and get you a delicious 4 course meal paired with Sam Adams beer. We’ll also have great entertainment and fun gifts from Sam Adams.”

Celtic Crossing Irish Beer Dinner

Brewing local: a Q&A with Memphis Made’s Drew Barton

December 26, 2012 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Memphis

In 2013, Drew Barton will be bringing more locally brewed craft beer to the Bluff City when he opens the doors to Memphis Made Brewing Company. Barton will serve as president and head brewer at Memphis Made, which is leasing space at 768 S. Cooper, just south of Central. When Memphis Made opens mid-year with a 10-barrel brewing system, it will initially only be a production brewery, but the Cooper-Young area business will ultimately feature brewery tours and a small tasting room. Barton, former head brewer at French Broad Brewing Company, talked to FuzzyBrew about the process of starting a brewery and his plans for Memphis Made.

You’ve been working on starting your own brewery for awhile now. Can you give us some insights into the process and what it took to get you to this point?

I don’t know if there was a singular starting point. It definitely began while brewing at French Broad Brewery in Asheville, NC. Melodie and I loved it out there but it never felt like home to either one of us. We found ourselves coming back to Memphis any chance we got. We felt a strong pull coming from Memphis. Once we got engaged, we decided to pack up and re-root ourselves in Memphis.

We got back to town and started working on a business plan. We worked on the business plan for what seemed like forever. It was a good year-and-a-half process. We met with advisers at SCORE, SBA, and any business person that would listen to us. We constantly worked on the plan, going over different scenarios on paper. This was one of the best pieces of advice we got during the whole process: make as many mistakes as you can on paper, it’s cheaper that way. Then, as soon as we felt like we had a viable plan, we started meeting with potential investors. Every meeting brought more questions and helped improve the plan.

Then one day we saw a “for lease” sign on the Cooper building we will eventually move into. We toured the building and really liked it. We then met with the owner and talked about necessary renovations to get a brewery in the building. We got fairly grandiose with our plans and our budget was feeling some pain. So, we stepped back and kept looking around town at other spaces in hopes of finding a more budget-friendly space. During our search, we developed more budget slimming plans and returned to the Cooper building with a plan to fit our budget.

So, here we are with financing, equipment on order, and getting ready to begin construction.

Memphis Made

A view inside the future home of Memphis Made Brewing Company

How did you pick your space at 768 S. Cooper, and how do you see the brewery fitting into the Cooper-Young scene?

Since I live in Cooper-Young, the first goal was to find something in the neighborhood. We couldn’t find anything at first due to distance rules regarding alcohol related businesses. Then that “for lease” sign popped up. 768 Cooper met the existing distance requirements and is zoned correctly for a brewery. So after working out budget and design issues, it was a no-brainer. Since then, some changes to the city ordinances have opened up more possible locations, but with the building sitting directly on Cooper it won out as our best possible location.

When we open the doors there won’t actually be doors to open to the public just yet. So, at first there won’t be much fitting in to the Cooper-Young scene. But as production ramps up and the next phase of build-out is complete, the tasting room will open. I think the tasting room will be a natural fit for the neighborhood. The tasting room will have very limited hours, basically enough time to stop in for a beer after work and head on home for dinner or out somewhere else in the neighborhood. There will be growlers available to take home. Hopefully, we’ll get a lot of neighbors walking up to get a growler.

What are the first beers Memphis Made will brew, and how did you decide on the styles to start with?

The first beers to come out will be one-time inaugural beers, and I’m keeping those under wraps for now. Beyond that, a Kolsch and an I.P.A. will be our regular offerings. Kolsch has been one of my favorite styles for years now. While brewing at French Broad, it was the first professional recipe I developed. It’s such an easy-drinking beer and I think it will fit in well with the climate of Memphis. An I.P.A., or Pale Ale, is just a given. The decision to go with the I.P.A. was based on the principle of “go big or go home.” If it’s gonna be a hoppy beer, it’s gonna be full of hops. But it’s not going to be a race to run up the IBUs. The I.P.A. will be flavor and aroma forward with a moderate bitterness to balance it out.

How did you decide on Memphis Made for the name of your brewery?

Memphis Made Brewing CompanyThere was a laundry list of names considered. We wanted it to be something definitively Memphis without being hokey like Blue Suede Brewery. So while trying on different names, the idea of using Memphis Made as a branding tool was introduced. Originally it was envisioned as an image to be used on packaging, like a stamp of approval. Then it hit me, Memphis Made isn’t a branding tool, it’s a brand. It’s unapologetically Memphis and that’s how we feel about this city. We love this city and we’re not afraid to say “I am Memphis Made.” Memphis made us who we are, and we can return the favor and make Memphis a better place.

Just how much demand do you think there is in Memphis for more craft beer, and more specifically, locally-brewed craft beer?

Let’s look at the latter first. I believe there is a lot of room for growth in locally-brewed craft beer in Memphis. The success of Boscos and Ghost River is all you really need to see that.

When we and other breweries open in Memphis, it should help bring better awareness to craft beer in the area. People learn a lot about beer when they tour breweries or meet local brewers, so I think having more people brewing locally will help drive demand. Meeting and talking with people about beer is part of our mission. We want to educate them about fresh beer made in their neighborhood.

In general, more craft beer in the Memphis market is somewhat dependent on state-level decisions. Currently, Tennessee has some of the highest excise taxes on beer. This has actively driven breweries out of the state and at times kept them from even entering the market. The newly formed Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild is currently addressing this issue and hopefully can help level the playing field. Once that happens, I think the craft beer market in Tennessee will open up. So, everyone reading this, go check out http://www.tncraftbrewers.org/ and support their efforts.

Memphis Made Brewing Company announces plans to open brewery in Cooper-Young in 2013

December 19, 2012 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Memphis

Memphis Made Brewing CompanyMemphian Drew Barton and his wife Melodie moved to Asheville, N.C., in 2005 so he could pursue a career in craft brewing.

Barton got hired at French Broad Brewing Company and worked his way up to head brewer.

Barton moved back to Memphis in 2010 and has been working to establish a craft brewery in his hometown and his neighborhood, Cooper-Young.

Today he made it official, announcing plans to open the doors of Memphis Made Brewing Company by mid-2013, bringing more local craft beer to
the Bluff City.

“Our philosophy is simple: local is fresh, and fresh is better. Our mission is to expand the boundaries of beer for and from our community,” said Barton, Memphis Made president and head brewer.

Memphis Made will be leasing space at 768 S. Cooper, just south of Central, and will produce beer for sale at bars and restaurants throughout Shelby County.

Memphis Made will brew on a 10-barrel system and it will initially only be a production brewery. But Memphis Made has plans to ultimately open its doors for brewery tours and a small tasting room.

“We’re in the process of ordering equipment and working with contractors to get things moving along,” Barton said. “There’s a lot to be done, but we’re taking our time with it to make sure we get it right.”

Barton is one of the founders of the Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest and is a member of the Bluff City Brewers & Connoisseurs homebrew club.

Memphis Made will join a growing craft beer scene that includes Ghost River Brewing and Boscos and new addition High Cotton Brewing Co., which is under construction at 598 Monroe.

Yazoo Brewing to host neighborhood events leading up to Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest

October 01, 2012 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Events, Memphis

Yazoo Brewing CompanyLeading up to the Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest, Nashville’s Yazoo Brewing Company is going to be having some fun in the Cooper-Young neighborhood.

On Wednesday, Oct. 10, at Alchemy, there will be a vertical tasting of three different batches of Hop Project. Then on Thursday, the 11th, there will be a beer dinner at Sweetgrass. (Check out the menu below.) Finally, on Friday, the 12th, the Young Avenue Deli will host a cask ale and custom pint glass night.

Of course Yazoo will be at the Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest on Saturday, Oct. 13. Tickets are $35 in advance and are available online.

Here’s the menu for the Yazoo dinner at Sweetgrass. Tickets are $35 per person. For more information, call 901-278-0278.

1st Course
Pickled Shrimp BLT
Allen Benton’s Smoked Bacon, arugula, confit tomatoes, lemon aioli
Served with Gerst.

2nd Course
Roasted Quail
Stuffed with broccoli barley risotto, butternut squash puree, cranberry gastrique
Served with Pale Ale.

Entrée
Grilled Beef Heart
Smoked sage hominy, pumpkin seed mole, sweet onions
Served with Sue.

Dessert
Dark Chocolate Stout Cake
Salted caramel ice cream, chocolate covered bacon
Served with Stout.

For more information, call 901-278-0278.