Taproom Opening Soon!

Featuring 32 Skull Coast & North Carolina taps. 

The Pirate King Is Coming!

10% ABV - 110 IBUs

Typhoon Will Blow You Away!

Typhoon Windswept Wheat IPA

Skull Coast Brewing Company, Inc.

North Carolina

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Post-Halloween Pumpkin Ideas

Written by Alexa Long.Though costome parties may be coming to an end this Halloween, the fun doesn't have to stop. Here are some ways to use your leftovers and keep the excitement high.

Pumpkin Beer: Okay, so maybe there is not leftover pumpkin beer. But if you can't bear to drink any more, cooking with beer can be just as fun as drinking it. I've seen recipes involving pumpkin ales for everything from chili to cupcakes. One particular recipe that I plan to use for Thanksgiving is a "Pumpkin Ale Brined Turkey." Simply place the turkey in a large pot, pour 48 oz. of your favorite pumpkin ale over the turkey, and desired herbs and spices, and refrigerate for 24 hours. The next day, drain the turkey and reserve 16 oz. of beer marinade to later baste with periodically during the three hour roast. Once the bird has soaked in the delicious flavors of the beer, viola! Carve, serve, and enjoy alongside the same beer that you cooked with. 

Pumpkin Guts: Whether you made your own pumpkin keg seen from Sales Siren Wendy's previous blog, or made a Jack-o-Lantern, don't just toss those guts in the garbage. Instead, make an easy puree by baking the flesh with a cup of water for 90 minutes until tender and pulverizing them in a food processor. Puree is great for homemade pumpkin pie, or better yet, homemade beer!

Carved Pumpkin: Smash them! Not on your neighbors doorstep or enemy's car, but in an open area that won't bother others. The pumpkin will break into smaller pieces and naturally compost, creating an eco-friendly fertilizer. Delaware actually hosts an event every year called "Punkin Chuckin," where participants compete to hurl their pumpkin the furthest. The event also features various entertainment for spectators, including live music and cooking contests. Though we don't have anything this awesome in Charlotte, create your own "Punkin Chunkin." An evening of bonding with friends while smashing pumpkins and drinking pumpkin beer sounds pretty ideal to me.



Chicago Brewery & Craft Beer Crawl

For those of you who follow our Facebook page (and if you haven't hit the "Like Us" button, you should!), you'll know that last week I asked our devoted fans what breweries and craft beer bars I should visit in Chicago. While it's great to see what breweries are doing in the South Atlantic region of the country, it's good to get other perspectives (like a recent trip back to Southern California breweries). Thankfully, we received a large number of suggestions.

With only Saturday afternoon and evening (and one liver) to sample the local beers, I think I did really well! I hit three local breweries and one renown craft brew bar, and sampled 12 beers in the process. (Please note: Most were 6oz. flight sample glasses. I could have never finished 12 16oz. beers!)

Now, again, I need to remind people: I landed at 12 Noon, took the CTA to downtown (1-hour trip), checked in to the hotel, and quickly ran over to Al's Beef to get an authentic italian beef sandwich with cheese, sweet peppers and dunked wet before starting this epic craft beer run around 4pm. So without further adieu, here we go:

Haymarket Pub & Brewery - ChicagoIn doing my preliminary research, I found out I had to hit Haymarket Pub & Brewery in Chicago first. They were having a private party that night, and were closing down to the public that evening. So, I hailed a cab from my hotel and off I went!

The Haymarket Pub & Brewery has a 15bbl system in-house, a long dark wood bar, and restaurant seating. They feature 11 of their own beers on tap, plus another 12 guest taps. 

I chose to only stick with the Haymarket beers during my visit. I started with the Angry Birds American-Belgo IPA (8.2%). I know what you're thinking: Beer Festival rookie. But, in my defense, I wanted to try the beer they won 2011 GABF Gold Medal for first with a clean palate. After, I downshifted into their Golden Triangle Saison (5.3%) and the Two Hoppy Hearts American Red Ale (4.5%). Having adequately recovered, I dipped into the Defender American Stout weighing in at 8%, and finished my trip to Haymarket with their Bavarian Dunkleweiss (5.2%).

The Map Room - ChicagoOriginally, I was thinking about hitting the Map Room later that evening. Upon hearing that I was on a brewery and craft beer hop through Chicago, however, the Haymarket waitress advised me to do the Map Room next. She told me at night, it's standing room only. Since I was worried about my upright abilities later in the evening with so many places on my list, I took her advice.

Without a doubt, the Map Room is a must-stop for any craft beer lover! Within minutes of ordering a Three Floyds Alpha King, I was involved in a some serious craft beer conversations with some of the patrons sitting at the bar. These people know their craft beer!

Within about 15 minutes, the bartenders started to migrate over. Then, things really began to pick up. I found out just about everything concerning a number of local brewers and well-known national craft brewers that have visited the Map Room over the years. Not all the stories were complimentary of some of the larger breweries, but awesome! It soon became apparent that this was ground zero for breweries trying to gain Midwest acceptance, but not all were accepted. In fact, some were downright banned. 

When I asked about a local brew that one of our Facebook friends recommended (again, if you haven't 'Liked Us' yet, you should!), the two bartenders decided it was time to sample Half Acre's Daisy Cutter Pale Ale. This fantastic, shared hopped-up Pale Ale, some would call it an IPA (including me!), sent the bar conversation into all kinds of directions. If there is beer as a conversation starter review site, this would score 100! I soon became BFFs with about half of the bar and the bartenders. Everything was on the table: beer, politics, sports, dreams, disappointments, and life in general. Everything beer should faciliate, great beer and great company!

(Editor's Note: Being a complete and utter stranger, the craft beer lovers at the Map Room invited me to their tailgate party for the Bears - Panthers game! This should tell you everything you need to know about this place. In a word, Awesome!)

Realizing my responsibility to both craft beer and those making recommendations, I poured myself into another taxicab and tried not to vocally beer slur, "Revolution Brewing, please."

Revolution Brewing - Chicago Revolution Brewing was busting at the seams when I arrived. Everything was filled; bar counter seats and all the tables. This place was hopping! 

I'm going to confess something here I probably shouldn't, but after seven beers I was so thankful that Revolution Brewing won the GABF Gold Medal for Cross of Gold. Just what the doctor ordered, a 5% ABV golden ale. 

After watching the end of a couple of college football games (the USC Trojans lost, damn!) and picking up conversations with a couple of locals (Chicago is a very friendly town), I was encouraged to try Three Floyds Robert the Bruce, and Two Brothers Cain & Abel.  

You would think I was done. But I wasn't. C'mon Bro. I'm Irish! I had a brief, but important respite. I was one cab fare away from completing a majority of the Facebook suggestions.

Goose Island Brewery Clybourn, ChicagoWhile Goose Island Clybourn was rocking, it was probably not my favorite place out of all the places I visited in Chicago. Different vibe here from the previous places I visited. 

When I asked about a certain beer, I was diverted to a more expensive beer that I had no interest in and didn't ask about. I was being upsold. I felt like I was in a used-car lot. 

Before people get all agitated, I get it. I'm a capitalist. But, at least describe the beer I asked about. While my server wasn't particularly pleased that I ordered a half of Goose Island Aw Shucks, I did anyway. I wanted to taste their Oyster Stout. I seemed to recover slightly with my server's bottomline when I ordered the Goose Island IPA, which recently won the 2012 Gold Medal at the GABF.

2012 Carolina Panthers vs. Chicago Bears at Soldier FieldBefore I bow out of this post I just want to say one thing: the Carolina Panthers football players are monsters! 

I had the unbelievable good fortune to be able to witness the team on the sidelines prior to the Carolina Panthers vs. Chicago Bears game this last Sunday. 

I'm far-from 6-foot nothing in height. The picture to the left will show you that these men are every bit and far more of 6-foot+ and 3-bills. In short, these boys are big! We may have lost to the Bears, but it wasn't for a lack of protection from these guys.   


Skull Coast Brewery Construction Updates

Skull Coast Brewery Plumbing & Electrical Design

While I am never quite sure how much folks want to read and see "how the sausage is made," so to speak, one of the reasons we decided to create a blog during the construction process was so that people can witness all the incredible work being done to rehabilitate the Hollar Hosiery Mill from its former derelict state into a state-of-the-art brewing facility and retail development. The shear scope of the work being undertaken and accomplished by the developers, engineers and construction crew needs to be documented and, in my mind, celebrated! So, I hope you appreciate the following as much as Skull Coast does.

Skull Coast Electrical GridWhile it might be a little difficult to make out the intertwining rivers of plumbing and electrical lines from the above image, the developers and engineers determined recently that they needed to beef up both the plumbing and electrical due to special considerations of both our space location (under a restaurant) and future expansion plans.

Specifically, since the Skull Coast Brewery will be located underneath a restaurant, with only wood floors separating the two entities, we need to condition the entire brewing space.

Most microbreweries are not thoroughly temperature controlled. In fact, during the summer, they can get downright Hot! But, since heat rises and we reside directly underneath a restaurant, the brewery can't become, what would in effect be, a "hot-plate" for their customers.

The "hot-plate" analogy becomes quite literal when you take into consideration that unlike most breweries the kettle boil heat cannot escape through the ceiling (or through the restaurant upstairs). Therefore, Bavarian Brewing Technologies is actually designing a custom condenser unit that will convert the boil vapor down into the brewery drains. With boil temps above 200+ degrees, even with the cold water spray from the custom condenser unit, heat factors inside the brewery would become too intense. Without the additional conditioning units to offset, the humidity would also erode our wood ceiling or the restaurant's flooring. And, no one wants that. So, the engineers and developers determined that the only option was to create a state-of-the-art temperature controlled brewery. The additional electrical seen in both images (above and right) was therefore necessary.  

Skull Coast Taproom Plumbing & Electrical DesignThe Taproom also created additional plumbing and electrical considerations.

As many have seen, the Skull Coast Taproom design is rather intricate and complex. We actually have the skeletal hull of a ship arching over the Taproom bar with lighting fixtures attached to the ends and hanging down.

We also wanted to light the bar from underneath to create a eerie look and highlight the reclaimed wood bar.

The two combined obviously creates a number of electrical issues to deal with, so the engineers had to redesign. In the image to the left, you can see how they beefed up their electrical package to deal with both the lighting and other electrical needs we will have for the Taproom bar.

Plumbing for the Taproom bar was an entirely different animal.

Apparently, according to code a certain number of sinks, a dishwasher, and the appropriate drainage needed to be updated that were not accounted for in the previous Taproom bar design.

Thankfully, the development and construction team caught these requirements before they poured the cement floor. Otherwise, they would have had to pull up a reclaimed wood floor and jack-hammered into a freshly laid cement floor to install the piping for the new plumbing. It would have been a nightmare!

Okay, I sincerely hope that I didn't get too far into the weeds about the construction process with the Brewery. I just find everything that the development, engineers and construction crew going through so fascinating.

Just know, no corner has been cut. The folks behind and working everyday on this project are interested in only one thing: Building a state-of-the-art brewing facility and development that the entire Hickory community can enjoy and be proud of. While the people behind this project have never sought any sort of attention for their efforts, I, and the entire Skull Coast crew, will forever be grateful for the preservation of this historic landmark and for what they have done for our company.



Beer Pilgrimage

Written by Mark Olson

I’m convinced the Skull Coast Sales Sirens are out to get me... with two of the three sirens recently visiting New England during a time of the year when I’m the most homesick. They’re rubbing it in I’m telling you!

Autumn in New England is just magic, there are no other words to describe it. Sure, some people love the foliage and all of the scenic eye candy but I’m talking about the electricity in the air as Halloween approaches. I was fortunate to grow up in the small coastal city of Lynn. I also had one of the country’s largest cemeteries within my neighborhood of Pine Hill which served as a primary backdrop to my childhood. This cemetery is saturated with history, landmarks, towering ancient oak trees and a beautiful eeriness. A perfect place to spend the evenings with friends while planning Halloween mischief and costumes.

But since this blog is about beer... let me get back on track. While Halloween will always bring back fond memories of my childhood I’m also really fond of Thanksgiving. When you grow up in Massachusetts history comes alive, you don’t just read about the landing of the Mayflower in a history book... you go to the physical location. It’s pretty cool to have all of that culture and history at your fingertips. The one thing they don’t teach you about in the history books is that Plymouth was not the intended destination but it was in fact the first colonial “beer run”. That’s right they pulled the ship over in Plymouth because they had run out of beer. Just a pit stop to collect ingredients to make more beer before they continued their journey. Well all I can say is that the ingredients they found must have been pretty damn impressive because they decided to stay.

Even before I embarked on this craft beer journey I’ve always enjoyed beer related anecdotes. This may be old news to most of you but I wanted to share a documentary that is littered with beer anecdotes. “How Beer Saved the World”. After watching this I was convinced our civilization would have died off a long time ago... thank you beer, for saving all of us.

You can grab this documentary on Netflix or you can watch it online during your (cough, cough) lunch break here:


If you have a macabre personality like me you can find more information about an amazing cemetery here:





How To Make a Pumpkin Keg

Written by Wendy Underwood.Throwing a Halloween party this year? Tired of going through the hassle of renting the tap and purchasing the kegs? Why not impress your guests with a super easy to make PUMPKIN KEG! I was so excited when I stumbled across pictures of these glorious beer-filled gourds; I couldn’t wait to make one myself! I figured I shouldn’t keep this great idea all to myself, so here it is. The How To’s for an incredibly easy PUMPKIN KEG!

What You’ll Need:

  • One large pumpkin

  • Carving kit

  • Plastic faucet (or tap)

  • A lot of your favorite Seasonal beer

Step 1: Begin by carving the lid of your pumpkin. You want to try and keep the lid close to the top. This will allow more room for the beer!

Step 2: After you’ve carved the lid, it’s time to clean out your pumpkin. This is my favorite part!! Sure, it’s messy and slimy, but you’ll want to remove as much as the pulp and pumpkin seeds as possible. Don’t worry if some of it is left behind; it’ll add a little more flavor to your beer!

Step 3: Now, it’s time to install your “tap.” Don’t be afraid to dig in to your pumpkin. You want to make sure it fits tightly.

Step 4: Next, test your tap for leaks by filling your pumpkin with water.

Step 5: Admire all your hard work and celebrate by pouring yourself a cold one from your new pumpkin keg!!

My pumpkin was filled with KBC (Kennebunkport Brewing Company) Pumpkin Ale. KBC is a brewery out of Maine and only found at Trader Joe’s. It pours a hazy, golden straw with a frothy white head. You get an aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg with a hint of pumpkin. The taste is biscuity, cinnamon and very light pumpkin. A biscuity, subtle pumpkin and clove finish makes this beer an easy one to drink all night long. If you’re not a huge fan of the sweeter pumpkin ales this season has offered, I highly recommend checking this one out before it’s gone!