Mecklenburg home to new microbrewery
Craft beer micro breweries are popping up everywhere these days, and although there has been talk about one opening in our area from time to time, it took a while to finally happen. On April 7, Buggs Island Brewing Company opened in Clarksville.
The story of Buggs Island Brewing, like the stories of a lot of craft brewers, started with a couple of friends who enjoyed beer and began experimenting with home brewing. Rich Castle and Michael Elliott quickly found out that they enjoyed brewing and learned that they could make a good brew, something a little different from the store-bought beer most people are used to.
“We’ve been brewing for over three years,” said Castle. “We came onto this idea a little over a year ago. We were fortunate that we had this location. It used to be the Pink Giraffe, so we already had a commercial kitchen and a nice layout just sitting here. We had an opportunity to make something of the space and cut down on the red tape.”
Castle admitted that going through the government red tape, state and federal, for setting up a brewery was the most complicated part of starting the business.
“It took about a year,” he laughed. “The state was actually easier on the red tape.”
Although it might have been work getting the red tape cut down to size, finalizing the recipes for the various brews and setting up the brewery, etc., it was pretty obvious that Castle and Elliott enjoyed the work.
Castle, who works as a counselor, and Elliott, a forester for Morgan Lumber, have been getting plenty of help from their wives and support from friends anxious to see the pub open.
For those making their first venture into the world of craft beer, Castle recommends BIB Kolsch. Kolsch, he explained, is a clear, golden beer similar to other Pilsner malt beers and is somewhat similar to American beers.
“It’s sort of a great way to get into craft beer,” he said.
Buggs Island Brewing will also be offering seasonal beers such as Gingerbread Brown Ale, and right now, they have five year-round brews.
Of course, one of the brew vats at one of the big boys could be larger than the entire Buggs Island Brewing building.
“We have a one barrel system,” said Castle with a laugh. “We had to go small. One barrel is 31 gallons. We’re working to keep up with the volume, see how things will sell to see when have time to add new things.”
Buggs Island Brewing, according to Castle, is not sold through distributors but is considered a brew-pub. The products are only available at the pub. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t get a take out order.
“Folks can come in an enjoy our beer,” said Castle, “or they can come in and we’ll fill a growler to go.”
A “growler” he explained, is a common term in craft brewing. Growlers are containers equivalent to four pints, and brew houses, he said, generally sell their own branded growlers.
“If you want to take it out you just bring in a growler and we fill it,” said Castle. “We serve in the tap room and fill growlers to go.”
Both Castle and Elliott point out that Buggs Island Brewing is not a bar. It’s a tap room, a place where friends can get together, watch a game on TV, enjoy each others’ company and enjoy a good beer unlike anything they’ll find on the shelves of the local supermarket.
“We’ve been really happy with the support the community has shown,” said Castle. “We want for people to come in and enjoy being here. We hope to expand and grow.”
Located at 110 College Street, Buggs Island Brewing is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 10 p.m. and from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sundays.