“Beer does not make itself properly by itself. It takes an element of mystery and of things that no one can understand.” – Fritz Maytag
After opening on February 29, 2012, Mystery Brewing Company in Hillsborough, NC has accomplished an awful lot in a very short amount of time. Mystery was the first brewery to be successfully funded by a Kickstarter campaign and then became the only strictly seasonal brewery. Marching to the beat of its own drum, the brewery has masterfully created seasonal lines that celebrate the flavors of the ever-changing seasons and won’t consider creating flagship beers that run year round. By brewing to compliment the seasons, Mystery has found an amazing way to stand out in a market that has seen such enormous and competitive growth.
It’s no mystery (thank you) why Mystery Brewing is steadily growing and expanding into one of the most talked about breweries in NC. It has won a host of medals–more than 20 since its inception–some of the most impressive being a gold medal at the North Carolina Brewers Cup and a silver medal in the 2014 Great American Beer Festival in the Belgian Style Other category for their interpretation of a traditional style (seefbier), La Querelle, placing second only to the veteran Stone Brewery out of San Diego, California.
Travel Well stopped in for a tour and tasting at Mystery with bartender Sarah Jarvis and packaging technician Devin Singley on what was an awesome spring day. Among the offerings sampled, these four stood out:
- Locksley: This ordinary bitter is an easy drinking English ale. Sweet malt, biscuit, and fresh hop citrus make a perfect session beer to accompany the warm spring weather here in NC.
- Queen Anne’s Revenge: This Carolinian dark ale is a rich, roasty beer bold enough to accompany smoked meats or BBQ.
- Beatrix: This Spring saison is hoppy and crisp with a dry bite and flavors of citrus fruit to make it a perfect beer to pair with cheese.
- Jack Thorne: This London style porter was my personal favorite. Robust flavors of coffee, dark chocolate, and sweetness reminiscent of toffee make it a great beer to end the night with.
It’s important to stress the amount of artistry that truly goes into brewing. Sure, anyone can make beer, but not just anyone can create a great beer or even a good one. Knowing the ingredients and how they will combine to get a particular flavor and style are the same skills required by any great painter or photographer to get their finished piece. That’s why at Mystery Brewing Company the Reinheitsgebot (the German Purity Law of 1516) is sort of a dirty word, because why would any artist limit the possibilities of their expression? Erik Lars Myers, CEO and Founder, clearly possesses those beer artistry skills. Mystery’s success, his cicerone certification, his blog topfermented.com and his published book North Carolina Craft Beer & Breweries demonstrate Erik’s a strong presence and expertise in the NC beer industry, and the lovers of craft beer reap the rewards of that success.
“The most powerful warriors are patience and time.” – Leo Tolstoy
You can go straight to Mystery’s brewhouse in Hillsborough, or, if you are like me and have already done your fair share of brewery tours (which I never get sick of,) you can take a short walk down the road and check out Public House where the Mystery’s beer is on tap with other great local beer. Public House is expanding to add a kitchen, but until that is done you can get a little Hillsborough BBQ next door. If you were like me and unfamiliar with the town of Hillsborough check it out and find out for yourself what we have been missing.
To find out where you can get Mystery’s beer in your area of NC, go to mysterybrewing.com or stop in at these Triangle-area beer events to support Mystery and many other great NC breweries: