I enjoy the diversity in the North Carolina breweries: some breweries focus on English style ales or Belgiums; many like to keep a lot of different beer styles on tap. Some labels brew a few flagship beers in large quantities, while others prefer to brew a large number of beers in small batches.
When your brewery is called Small Batch Beer Company, there is no mystery as to your brewing philosophy. Don’t worry – Small Batch will have plenty of surprises, with creative beers that are well made.
If you automatically assume that small batch brewing is done by breweries that simply didn’t have the financial capital to pay for the expensive large tank brewing equipment, let me set the record straight. Small batch brewing is a strategy used by breweries like Mystery Brewing and here at Small Batch Beer Company to create an adventure for their patrons. By brewing in small batches, beers on tap are constantly rotating, giving patrons new choices with each visit. It also encourages the brewers to take chances, experiment and color outside the lines.
Located in downtown Winston-Salem, Small Batch Beer Company is the type of brewery any craft beer lover would welcome to their community. The taproom is a comfortable space with adequate table and bar seating, big TV’s (showing college football game at the time of my visit), and comfortable seating including a siting lounge in the back of the taproom. A few tables in front of the taproom passes for this breweries limited outdoor space. The brewery serves quality pub food including both traditional choices and creative selections. I enjoyed an order of Meatloaf burger sliders and I was pleased. However, the biggest hit (food wise) at our table was the giant pretzel with a really tasty beer cheese dipping sauce.
This is also a brewery that you can take a non-beer drinker to (but why are you hanging out with people who don’t enjoy a good brew?). They also had a small wine selection, some mixed drinks with interesting combinations, and at the time of my visit a frozen blackberry margarita that the wife was eyeing.
Just because they serve good food and have other drink selections, doesn’t make this a restaurant that brews its own beer. Here at Small Batch Beer the brew comes first; the fact that they also provide good food is an extension of their desire to give their customers a great experience.
This breweries website is worth checking out, with a beer list that is constantly changing. The Small Batch is giving real time information on not only what is on tap but also what percent is left in the keg. You also might want to check out the event list to see what is going on during your visit.
The reason you should visit this brewery isn’t its interesting website or tasty food. It’s the beer, good creative beer. I, of course, can only speak to the beers that were available at the time of my visit. They had a dozen choices with styles ranging from light crisp Hefes to dark rich Stouts. While they might not have the beers I list on tap when you visit, these beers speak to the creative types this brewery offers:
Mr. Lemon Man IPA– Lemon grass and citrus dominate the tongue and it finishes with a bit of hoppyness. A really good beer on a warm summer day. Perfect for cookouts.
Percolator– I’m not afraid of the dark and neither are the brewers at Small Batch. As someone who loves coffee I like this one a lot, this is smooth and polished. Full of flavor and character.
The Beet Gose On– The favorite at our table, the whole way home we regretted not filling a growler with this bright pink beer. What a fun beer to taste. I enjoy sampling sours; this one is not overly tart in part because the beets help to balance the flavors. I think it is interesting to see how many root vegetables are being used to make beer in North Carolina. I’ve had carrot beer from Trophy, sweet potato beer from Full Steam, potato beer from Sycamore and now beet beer from Small Batch, a lot of creativity in our State. (Note: This was the wife’s favorite.)
Oktoberfest– A collaboration between Natty Greene’s Brew Pub and Small Batch Beer, this is a good, very drinkable example of a traditional Marzen style beer. It has a nice amber color and that smooth drinkability you would expect in a festive beer.
Purple Drank – This is a blackberry Saison that has the name of a Frat Cocktail. Typically, a saison is not my favorite style, too often they are void of flavor or seem to be watered-down versions of better beers. Not the case here, I really enjoyed this beer. The blackberry favor was noticeable but not dominant. Much more complex than anticipated. I would recommend this to anyone.
This is the kind of brewery we would all like to have in our town. Those lucky residents of Winston-Salem who haven’t gone downtown to check this brewery out should. If you find yourself in Winston Salem, this is a must visit. I am already trying to think up an excuse for my next visit.
So stop in and check it out. Then, let us know what’s on tap when you visit.
Michael Cole lives in Sanford, NC, and loves great food and beer. His taste tends to favor malts over hops so he’s an avid fan of ambers and dark beers. Follow him on twitter @barbqguy44