Southern Tier Brewing Co. is from New York, but lately the brewery has been in a Southern State of Mind.
Earlier this year, Southern Tier and Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing Co. announced they would unite under a new company called Artisanal Brewing Ventures. And not only that, but that the two would build a production brewery in Charlotte, too.
While we’re still waiting to hear exactly where that will be, Charlotte will get a taste of things to come next month when Sugar Creek Brewing taps Southern State of Mind, a beer brewed in collaboration with Southern Tier.
Before the merger was announced, Southern Tier employees had visited Sugar Creek several times and enjoyed the beers. Talk turned to the possibility of a collaboration between the two breweries, and just last week Sugar Creek brewmaster Todd Franklin traveled to Southern Tier’s brewery in New York to help them brew it.
The two breweries wanted a beer that would be fitting to release in the fall, but that could also showcase local ingredients.
“We knew we wanted to brew with ingredients that were local to either us or to Southern Tier,” said Franklin. “Southern Tier is kind of known for their flavored beers, like Pumking and Choklat or Crème Brûlée, as well as their IPAs. We ended up deciding to use some local New York maple syrup.”
At a farm just down the road from the brewery, they sourced 100 gallons of maple syrup (totaling 1,100 pounds) to use in the beer, which has been fermenting for just over a week now. A portion of the beer will be pulled and aged on oak chips, and then blended back into the beer to taste. Franklin anticipates the maple syrup will add an amber color to the beer and come through subtly in the aroma and flavor.
They brewed on the brewery’s 110-barrel system, which is much larger than Sugar Creek’s 15-barrel system. Charlotte will see both 16-ounce cans and kegs of the beer, which will be released at a party at Sugar Creek Brewing on Saturday, Oct. 15. Details of that party are still being finalized, but both breweries will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the beer to the Second Harvest Food Bank.
Until then, Franklin will be busy typing up the copious notes he took during his time at Southern Tier.
“They have a beautiful facility,” he said. “It’s something like 80 acres and just a dream brewhouse. I was just kind of drooling the whole time. I took lots of pictures and lots of notes, things we can change with the process and the ways we do things here. They’ve been doing this a lot longer than we have, and they just kind of opened the doors to me while I was there.”
Photos: Todd Franklin, Sugar Creek Brewing