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First taste of Memphis’ High Cotton Brewing

November 12, 2012 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Events, Memphis

High Cotton-boothMike Lee, Jenifer Alvarez and Brice Timmons served samples at the High Cotton Brewing Co. booth Saturday at MemFIX.

Memphis’s next craft brewery, High Cotton Brewing Co., has been brewing up test batches and serving samples of its beers at events around town. The MemFIX Cleveland Street event in Midtown on Saturday was the latest showing for High Cotton, and about 250 people enjoyed free samples.

It was my first chance to try High Cotton’s beers, and I was really impressed.

On tap were the John Barleycorn Scottish Ale, Ginner’s Pride ESB and Sawmill Stout.

The Scottish Ale and ESB are both really solid and should be popular beers when they hit the Memphis market early next year.

But the Sawmill Stout was easily my favorite. Brewed with black pepper, white pepper and fennel, the Sawmill is a milk stout that’s a collaboration among High Cotton’s four founders — Ross Avery, Mike Lee, Ryan Staggs and Brice Timmons.

The spices in the Sawmill provide just enough of a kick to be noticeable in the taste and aroma, but it’s still a very smooth, drinkable beer. Can’t wait to have some more.

High Cotton-pouringHigh Cotton’s other beer that’s been served at local events is the Lemon Pepper Saison. It wasn’t available Saturday but I’ve heard good things about it.

High Cotton - signThe owners of High Cotton hope to start making beer in their new microbrewery at 598 Monroe, across from Kudzu’s Bar & Grill, by year’s end.

Brew Line returns to Memphis radio on Saturdays

November 02, 2012 By: mike Category: Craft beer, Memphis

Brew Line

Starting tomorrow morning, Brew Line returns to the Memphis airwaves on WMC AM 790.

The beer-centric radio program, hosted by Greg Haltom, Curly Birkholtz and Mike Lee, will air Saturday mornings from 9 to 10 a.m.

According to the show’s Facebook page, the program will cover the latest in the craft beer industry, “the Big 3” and beers from around the world,  and will feature guest interviews, product tastings, beer and food pairings, Michael’s Recipe of the Week, Curly’s Big Six and Greg’s Cooler Door Prize Game.

The program previously aired from 1998 to 2004, and is making a comeback. Lee is the owner of homebrew shop Midsouth Malts and vice president and CFO of startup High Cotton Brewing Company.

To call in to the show Saturdays at 9 a.m., dial 901-274-7979.

High Cotton Brewing plans to open microbrewery near Downtown Memphis

April 25, 2012 By: mike Category: Beer in the news, Breweries, Craft beer, Memphis

Mike Lee

Mike Lee, owner of Mid-South Malts, is among the investors in High Cotton Brewing Company.

A team of investors has an option on a building in the Edge District near Downtown and plans to open a microbrewery in the space by year’s end.

High Cotton Brewing Company LLC has a contract to buy an 8,778-square-foot building at 598 Monroe, across from Kudzu’s Bar & Grill, and plans to start a craft brewing operation, according to several media reports. The building is a former auto parts distributorship.

High Cotton would be only the third brewery in Memphis after Midtown brewpub Boscos and Boscos’ sister brewery, Ghost River Brewing, a microbrewery in Downtown.

High Cotton’s partners include longtime brewer Mike Lee, owner of homebrew supply shop Mid-South Malts; Brice Timmons, a lawyer with Black McLaren Jones Ryland & Griffee, P.C.; Ryan Staggs, an engineer with Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division; and Ross Avery, a pilot with United Airlines. There is also a fifth silent partner in the venture.

High Cotton’s primary business would be selling kegs to local bars and restaurants, but it also plans to open a taproom with limited hours. That aspect of the business would require an amendment to the city’s alcoholic beverage ordinance and city and county zoning codes, according to The Commercial Appeal. Current rules don’t allow beer consumption in establishments that don’t serve food.

High Cotton will brew with a seven-barrel system, producing 14 kegs of beer at a time, the Memphis Business Journal reports, and plans to open with two regular beers.

We’re trying to formulate recipes that are very well-crafted and flavorful, and more geared towards the craft drinker – that’s our goal,” Lee told the Memphis Daily News. “We anticipate being very customer-friendly. We want to craft beers that people really want to drink.”

Stay tuned for more on High Cotton from FuzzyBrew. Meanwhile, what would you like to see from Memphis’ newest brewery? Leave a comment below.

Mid-South Malts to host ‘Tasting Tuesday’ tonight

January 10, 2012 By: mike Category: Craft beer, Events, Homebrew, Memphis

Mid-South Malts Memphis homebrew shop Mid-South Malts will host the latest installment of “Tasting Tuesday” tonight.

Stop in at owner Mike Lee’s shop and bring your favorite homebrew or commercial beer to share with your fellow beer lovers.

Tasting Tuesdays are held on the second Tuesday of each month from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mid-South Malts, 741 N. White Station.