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Bless our hearts: We fought a civil war to end the Confederacy once and for all, and here we are... We fought a war to...

Pitt Street Brewing Company creating a buzz

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Pitt Street Brewing Company's popular Flight Boards consist of four 5-ounce pours.

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Christina Ruotolo

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A few years ago, Dickinson Avenue looked like a ramshackle line of dilapidated buildings that once were shining stars of Greenville’s past. One of those beacons was the old Coca-Cola plant.

Earlier this year, a group of 18 investors received a $45,000 grant through North Carolina’s Rural Economic Development Division Building Reuse Grant program. This organization provides grants to local governments to help business owners renovate vacant buildings or expand an existing business. Investors had plans to turn the old Coca-Cola plant into a full-service brewery.

Within the last six months, the group has transformed the building at 630 S. Pitt St. into the new Pitt Street Brewing Company. Pitt Street has only been open a few weeks, but there is already a buzz in the community and a growing beer-enthusiast following.

Walking into the open-air, industrial space, you are greeted by large silver gleaming fermenters that are housed right next to bar. It’s quite an impressive sight.

The three managing partners are Bill Bridges, Lenny Jordan and Mike McCarty, and head brewmaster is Nate McLaughlin. Pitt Street brews seven types of beers that vary in style from light to dark to flavored, with multiple choices for customers to taste and enjoy. It offers two ciders on tap — a Noble Cider standard and Noble chai, both from Asheville — as well as red and white wine choices. Beer prices range from $3.50-$9, and wine and cider cost $6 per glass. Pitt Street plans to expand to offer 14-16 total rotating beers.

McLaughlin, a West Coast native, moved to Greenville eight months ago to be part of the up-and-coming brew movement in Pitt County.

“I was excited to be part of a city that is on the verge of an explosion of artisanal projects including the expansion of its brew movement,” he said. McLaughlin has a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and graduated with a brewer certificate from University of California, Davis.

Before I sat down to taste a few signature brews, I was given the royal brew tour and taught about the brewing process from husk to tap.

“The smell of mash in the morning is better than a cup of coffee,” McLaughlin said. He enjoys watching customers take their first sip and watching people converse over beer because “beer is a communal and social event.”

Brewing is done in-house several times a week, with 30 barrels of beer brewed. This breaks down to about 60 kegs, or nearly 1,000 gallons of beer per week.

Most craft beers are rated for preference by flavor enthusiasts by their Alcohol By Volume (ABV) and International Bitterness Units (IBU) scale. Beer’s bitterness is based primarily on the acidity of its hops, a key ingredient.

The popular and house favorite Flight Boards consist of four 5-ounce pours for $9. I started with the Haymaker Kolsch with a 5 percent ABV and IBU of 15. This is a traditional brew from Cologne, Germany, and is considered a light, table beer. It’s smooth and bubbly and has mild hops so it’s less bitter. You can also taste some light, fruity notes. This beer is best paired with barbecue and is a great drink for novice beer drinkers.

The Dapple Dog Dry Stout with a 5.4 percent ABV and IBU of 36 is a darker, more traditional Irish beer with aromas and initial flavors of roasted coffee and chocolate. This beer is made with Marris Otter malt paired with Carafa malt, which gives the beer a bready taste, while the East Kent Golding hops give it a bit of a honey and herbal flavor. I really enjoyed its rich dark flavor and consider this a perfect winter beer choice.

The signature brew, Ruinenlust IPA (Indian pale ale), is popular because of its 6.8 percent ABV and IBU of 50. Pitt Street’s version is a bit cloudy, but it’s because the IPA is unfiltered so all the flavors come through. The IPA is more bitter and has a good malt backbone with a front flavor of biscuits. The hops are the showcase of this beer. There is also a mosaic of tropical hops so you taste grapefruit, citrus and some passion fruit with the bitter part at the end. It was still crisp and clean and pairs well with pizza or wings.

The last stop was the Red Sea Raspberry with its 4.5 percent ABV and IBU at 10. This beer is made with Simpson’s Golden Promise malt, which gives it a sweet flavor, along with the Marris Otter malt, an old breed of malt from the United Kingdom that gives this beer more body. This hazy, red beer has huge fruit notes. McLaughlin uses 420 pounds of fresh raspberries per 30 kegs, so you can really taste the raspberry flavor. I loved this one and highly recommend it. A lot of customers like to mix the Red Sea Raspberry with the Dapple Dog Stout for a unique chocolate raspberry combination.

Pitt Street has live music throughout the year and offers “home brew day” once a month. 

It is open from 2-10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 2 p.m-midnight Thursday-Friday, noon-midnight Saturday and 1-8 p.m. Sunday. Follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PittStreetBrewing/ or call 221-4151 for more information.

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