In the words of Master Yoda, “A treat this tour was, yes.” After drinking Mystery beer for a few months and visiting the taproom a handful of times we decided it was time to go behind the scenes for a closer look. Just a short walk up the road from the tap house, Mystery’s Brewing facility is located near the Hall River in the quaint little town of Hillsborough, NC.
In typical fashion, we popped in around five minutes late. Luckily, the tour had not gotten started so we were able to weasel our way in. We had the treat of having the owner and head brewer, Erik Myers, as our tour guide. It was the first he had done in months so fate strikes again. At only $5, it’s a steal!
The tour was a decent length and we learned a lot about the process. Erik discussed starting the brewery through crowd funding. Go Local! Mystery would not be open without the funding and support of the townspeople. Next, Erik discussed the types of barley and malt they use for their various beers. We even got to try some barley. Surprisingly, it was quite tasty. New bar snack idea? Could barley be the new peanut? We think so, particularly that roasted variety.
Our tour took place during Fall, right before Mystery started production of their Dromgoole beer. Now, we know what happens when October approaches. Pumpkin, pumpkin everywhere and that includes beer. It’s a bit of an overkill (apologies to the pumpkin lovers out there). But, with that being said, Mystery is bringing a twist to the pumpkin party. Instead of flavoring or extract, they throw actual entire pies in the mix. Using an employee recipe the whole brewery gets in on this beer with each employee assigned to bake pies. It’s all in the family, right?
It was a small tour and the head of merchandising tagged along while the bartender brought pitchers of beer back and forth as we walked through the facility. We were given half pints of 5 beers so we felt pretty good at the end and decided to walk down the road to the tap house to enjoy another pint.
In this craft beer era we are living in, craft breweries are popping up everyday (especially in our state, NC). If you want to stay alive you gotta stand out from the rest. Keep innovating. Mystery does this by forgoing the typical “flagship” beers that are characteristic of most breweries. Instead, they come out with the same seasonal ones every year: 1 dark, 1 session, 1 saison, and 1 hoppy. They also always have some amazing experimental beers out which typically include lots of local ingredients. Their taproom always keeps the seasonals, experimentals, and guest taps available so there is something for everyone. This also gives regulars a new one to try every time they visit.
Erik ended the tour by mentioning some of Mystery’s future projects. We had noticed the empty spot beside the taproom before, but Erik confirmed that this space was being renovated into a restaurant. The mention of vegetarian options along with mainstays for meat eaters had us intrigued. Good food to pair with good beer? We’ll be there. The taproom is also home to weekly game nights, trivia and live music along with special events throughout the year. What’s not to love?