Beer from Here – February 12

“Peace. Love & Beer.” An easy-going, enjoyable motto to live and work by.

Born in the summer of 2008, Mother Earth Brewing is the dream-child of Stephen Hill and Trent Mooring, two guys from Kinston, North Carolina, a southern town in the heart of the old tobacco belt. What started with beer-drinking conversations and taste testing, soon turned to brewery tours and beer festivals. Their vision soon evolved into brewing a world-class product, but they wanted to keep the process local. Stephen and Trent hired Brewmaster Josh D. Brewer (awesome name, right?) and within months, an old downtown building was repurposed into a brewery and the team began to bottle and keg their beer in October of 2009.

Mother Earth Brewing's Sisters of the Moon.

Mother Earth Brewing’s Sisters of the Moon.

As the name may suggest, Mother Earth has a cool green story to tell as well, and one not many people know about. The brewery is the first Gold LEED certified production brewery in the United States. According to their website, “a six-kilowatt solar array stands on the roof as a tribute to the authority of that great star we orbit, known as the sun. Blue jean insulation, a 100 percent recyclable product, was used to insulate the walls. In addition to being a recyclable product, it also has outstanding sound barrier qualities. Soy-based spray foam insulation protects the second story ceiling. Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint covers the walls. The flooring wasn’t ignored, either. Mother Earth Brewing’s corporate offices sport eco carpet partially made from renewable resources. Eco flush valves on toilets know just the right amount of water needed for ‘the job’ and reduce water needed for flushing by 30 percent. Eco faucets in both bathrooms offer an unimaginable savings in water compared to conventional faucets. A state-of the-art tankless water heater heats water on demand, instead of using needless energy to keep hundreds of gallons of water heated at all times.” What a feat.

This week’s review focuses on Sisters of the Moon, a 6.9% ABV India Pale Ale. According to Mother Earth, the brew is “made with hops grown in the good ‘ol USA… you’ll proudly support American farmers when you drink this beer! Light copper in color, it has an intense hop aroma and strong hop bitterness. Our hopback process uses fresh hop cones to take this IPA to unexpected places. Prepare for a mouthful of flavor.”

If you’re curious about the hopback process, here’s how it works: hot wort (beer before it’s beer because it has no yeast fermenting the liquid) is passed through a chamber filled with hops to help clear debris in the liquid. The wort also absorbs aroma character of the hops while not imparting bitterness that would otherwise be detectable if used normally in the boiling process. Make sense? Good.

Now onto the fun part. An unfiltered, hazy, copper/golden orange ale emerged from the bottle as I poured into my Spiegelau IPA glass. A thick, inch of frothy head developed after the pour and was slow to dissolve as I consumed the beer. Up front notes of floral and citrus were noticeable right away. Grapefruit and pine came to mind. I also recognized traces of breaded malt and mild earthy tones.

This IPA was “a mouthful of flavor.” My first taste was that of orange and grapefruit, but it was not overly bitter. However, the hops did leave a lasting impression on the back of my tongue and the bitterness was more present as consumption continued. Mild malt flavor shined through adding some sweetness to help counter the bitterness. A thick lace coated the glass until the last drop.

Sisters of the Moon is a solid representation of the IPA style and I won’t hesitate to crack open this beer again or pair it with a spicy meal. This IPA and other Mother Earth Brewing libations can be found in bars, restaurants, supermarkets and specialty stores across North Carolina, Georgia, Northern Va. and Washington, D.C.

Have you tried Sisters of the Moon or other Mother Earth Brewing’s offerings? Have you visited their LEED certified brewery? What NC beer should I write about next?