It’s no secret that us beer drinkers in South Carolina look to our brothers to the north with a little bit of envy. North Carolina is home to more than 50 breweries and brewpubs throughout the state, including recent additions such as New Belgium and Sierra Nevada. And if that wasn’t enough, Asheville has won the symbolic honor of being dubbed Beer City U.S.A. four years in a row.
Fortunately, they share their wares. We get plenty of Highland, Duck-Rabbit, Foothills and more to keep us satisfied, and I had the chance to try even more great beer at the source during my recent trip to Asheville. But that’s just a drop in the bucket, and there are plenty more great NC breweries I hear people rave about that I’m dying to try.
One of those is Mother Earth Brewing in Kinston, NC. The 4-year-old brewery founded by Stephen Hill and Trent Mooring. When they started the brewery in 2008, they decided to keep it local in many ways, building the brewery in the town of about 25,000 people. They’re available throughout the state and have recently started expanding into other parts of the South, namely Georgia.
We’re not lucky enough to get them around here yet, but after a chance encounter on Twitter and a few emails, I ended up with a box of nearly every regularly released beer Mother Earth puts out. So what other way to say thanks than go through each one of those beers?
Join me, won’t you?
Disclaimer: These beers were provided to me as a kindness. They were not given for the purpose of reviewing and I was given no other compensation. I’m just a lucky bastard. Beer people are good people.
Up first is Sisters of the Moon, their 7% IPA that’s brewed using a hopback to inject a bit more hoppiness to it. The color was more or less that of a standard IPA with a light bubbly head and mild lacing and alcohol legs.
The nose is a mix between wet pine, grapefruit and orange. Definitely a bit of a bite on the nose with hints of some melon and pineapple as well.
There’s a mild bitterness on the front of the tongue, medium body mouthfeel and fairly strong carbonation. That big w,et pine pops on the back at first and settles into this really nice lingering astringent grapefruit tartness. There’s some mild pineapple and melon notes mixed in as well. A really solid IPA.
Next is Dark Cloud, the 5% Munich-style dunkel lager that just won a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Fest. I was really excited to try this one, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
It poured a translucent rust brown color with a slight a raisin or tobacco tint. Barely a finger of head that’s gone pretty quickly. Really weak lacing and slight alcohol legs.
There’s a big, thick sweet nose that’s absolutely delicious. Raisins, toffee and plum, dark roasted grains, bread dough all shine through. A slight hint of cocoa as well, almost like a dusting.
A slight bite of carbonation pops on the front of the tongue and across the palate. In the middle of the mouth is a bit of coffee, chocolate and plums. But the back is incredible. It starts with a doughy sweetness, almost like a cinnamon raisin bread. That dusting of cocoa pops up again on the finish and lingers on the back of the throat. Slight hints of plums and raisins linger as well, and certainly worthy of something higher than bronze.
Endless Riveris their Kolsch-style ale. Coming in at just under 5% ABV, it really embodies everything you’d expect out of the style, starting with the crystal-clear straw yellow color, along with a finger of a really bubbly head that doesn’t last long, weak lacing and alcohol legs.
The nose is big, sweet and effervescent. It’s very floral and very doughy with a bit of a melon note to it. A very slight grassy hop note as well.
As far as the taste, it starts with a mild carbonation and a full mouthfeel and ends like a classic Kolsch. A big, biscuity malt note with a sweeter finish develops first with almost a cream quality to the end of it. It’s very smooth and drinkable but with a chewy malt presence as well.
Come back later this week for the second part of my look at Mother Earth’s beers.