We were travelling to the southern Outer Banks in North Carolina on a recent vacation and wanted to stop at a brewery during the trip. A quick check of the North Carolina Brewers Guild reveals that, while the center and western part of the state are loaded with breweries, the coast is rather empty. The I-95 cooridor features two breweries, Mother Earth Brewing Company and Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery. We were driving right through Kinston, center of an old tobacco-growing region, and decided to stop at Mother Earth.
Mother Earth Brewing is the dream-child of Stephen Hill and Trent Mooring, two guys from Kinston. Both developed a love of hand-crafted beer and when Trent married Stephen's daughter, their shared passion led to the idea of forming a brewery. The goal was to create world-class beers, but keep the process as local as possible. Both men grew up and went to school in Kinston, a little city of under 25,000, and owned small businesses there. By keeping the brewery local, Mother Earth could help the local economy and satisfy the local thirst for beer at the same time.
One of the facets of Mother Earth Brewing, which is named after an old Nitty Gritty Dirt Band song, that interested me is their commitment to environmental sustainability. The owners renovated an old downtown Kinston building to provide a home for the brewery, making substantial investments in energy efficiency technologies and green building materials. Mother Earth also has a 6 kilowatt solar array installed on the roof that helps offset electrical demand (the energy generated from the array even appears as a counter on the tap room's television set).
While there, we were able to try the following Mother Earth beers:
- Second Wind Pale Ale
- Dark Cloud Munich-Style Dunkel Lager
- Sisters of the Moon IPA
- Endless River Kolsch
- Weeping Willow Wit