Last Bite: 13 Stripes Brewery
If ever there was a day for drinking a good beer, Election Day 2016 was that day. We met up with Aaron Robinson, one of the seven partners of 13 Stripes Brewery, before polls were closed and returns were in to talk community, cooking, and most importantly: brewing. Located in the center of revitalization at Taylor’s Mill, the brewery’s rough hewn walls, sprawling deck and wide, curved bars create a place made to gather. Their scheduled opening in February beckons with the promise of exquisite, handcrafted ales, deep leather couches and good conversation.
Tell your beer making story. How did you get into this line of work?
Well, my brother Mike and our childhood friend Jeremy like to cook and we like to drink beer. Jeremy has been homebrewing for quite some time now, and when my brother and I graduated graphic design school, we quickly realized that wasn’t what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives. We’re super close, and just wondered “what’s something we can do to provide for our families that we enjoy?”
What style of beer do you think you are or will be known for?
Our standard beers are European-style, real balanced. We’ll open with an Englishstyle porter, an English-style pale ale, and then we’ll rotate seasonal beers and specialty brews. That gives someone like my brother a place to make something little bit more creative.
What made the Taylors Mill location a good fit for you?
Greenville is a budding scene for the beer industry, and being in a mill like this is awesome. I mean it really fits perfectly. There’s not many places you can find that you can put equipment this size. The floor has to be thick enough, the roof has to be tall enough. And we want to distribute, so we really had to have enough space. And it’s exciting to be a part of a revitalization like this, to be here sort of at the beginning.
Where’s the name come from?
We’re all super into American history and the Revolutionary War, and that along with a family history of military involvement (Aaron’s brother, father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all in the service), we wanted to keep a real patriotic, historical theme. So all of our beers will be named after historical figures from the American Revolution.
And we really want this to feel like a village pub, a place like where the founding fathers would gather to discuss politics and other events of the day.
What collaborations and projects do you have coming up that most excite you?
We’ve done collaborations with literally every local brewery, and they’ll be coming out December of 2016 through January 2017. The first one up will be with Upstate Craft Beer Company; we did a peppermint chocolate stout. It’ll be on nitro, so will be real creamy, and then they’re serving it over ice cream. A beer float might be new to some people; I love ‘em.
Every weekend over the next few months, we’re releasing a new collaboration beer. We’re doing an Imperial Red with Birds Fly South, an IPA with RJ Rockers, a Belgium Tripel with Brewery 85, to name a few. It’s been a lot of planning with all those guys, but everyone in the brewing community up here has just been super awesome. They answer questions about equipment, recipes, anything—they don’t hold anything back, no competition at all. It’s just a really friendly scene.
What’s the most impossible, nuttiest, most creative beer idea you’ve had lately?
We’re pretty traditional, so I wouldn’t say anything is really crazy. I know a brewer that put a smoked baseball bat in a brew once! So compared to that, we’re standard. Recently, we brewed a Cuban Lager for a local cigar club; we used citrusy Cascade hops, then soured 20% of it, so it’s kind of like that Mojo marinade. It came out so well. I’d put that one on the list.
What presidential candidate would you sit down and have a beer with?
(He grimaces.) Well, I mean, I think I’d sit down and have a beer with any of them. I think it’d be interesting...or really uncomfortable (laughs). As political as I am, I can sit down with someone with opposing views and it’s no big deal. But maybe if they could’ve had a beer with more people, maybe we would feel differently about them now.
13 Stripes Brewery
250 Mill Street
While we eagerly await the official opening of 13 Stripes Brewery at Taylor’s Mill, you can find their collaboration beers on tap throughout the Upstate.
BETH BROWN ABLES IS A WRITER, A MOTHER AND A CREATIVE-TYPE. SHE EXCELS AT IGNORING LAUNDRY, AND LOVES NOTHING MORE THAN COOKING A BIG MEAL FOR HER FRIENDS AND FAMILY.