SHALLOTTE—Hailing from Marietta, Georgia, 34° North Experiment Station is Red Hare Brewing Company’s second brewery and Brunswick County’s third.
The crew has taken over one of the oldest buildings in Shallotte to serve and create “approachable beers.”
Head brewer Bobby Thomas might serve you a three-quarter pour, but he’ll quickly make up for the missing ounces.
“I’m so used to drinking three quarter-beers,” Thomas said.
Marietta to Shallotte
In Georgia, breweries weren’t allowed to directly sell their product to consumers until September of last year. Customers could pick up a six-pack fresh off the canning line, or could receive up to 32 ounces of complementary, sampled beer after an educational tour.
This setback allowed Red Hare Brewing Company to invest in its distribution model, at one point producing up to 600 cans a minute.
Brewers have since reprogrammed the line, originally bought from The Coca-Cola Company, to slow its roll.
“It’s probably one of the biggest in the southeast,” Thomas said.
Still, Red Hare Brewing Company’s cans are sold throughout the southeast – stopping west of North Carolina.
“We make beers that are very approachable beers,” Thomas said. “Beers that people want to drink all the time, beers that are really good by the pool or by the beach.”
Back home, brewers have a mix of go-to India Pale Ales and lagers. They even have a few lines where they’ve mixed the two together into a line of 50/50s.
Now, 34° North Experiment Station will give its brewers the chance to freely play around with sours.
“Our idea is that both breweries become a mix of both brews,” Thomas said. “We can ship beer back and forth between the two.”
Thomas said he plans to catch the ocean breeze in his brews.
“We can open up the windows, get that breeze from the ocean and the marsh right here, and hopefully pick up brett from the air from around here.”
Brett, or brettanomyces, are a strain of yeast that ferments beer.
“We have this breeze coming in, and normally, that would be not what you would do because you want it to be sanitary and sterile,” Thomas said. “But no, we want to pick up wild yeast.”
34° North Experiment Station doesn’t have any new North Carolina batches ready, but will bring its Georgian flavor starting April 21 during its grand opening in Shallotte.
“So we’re hoping to be able to pick up yeast and isolate a strain that’s indigenous to Shallotte or the North Carolina coast right here,” Thomas said.
The brewery will be open Tuesday through Saturday from noon until 10 p.m., Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. and closed Monday at 4802 Main Street in Shallotte.
Johanna Ferebee can be reached at email@example.com or @j__ferebee on Twitter