After the excitement of the World Beer Festival Saturday night, I woke up Sunday to more good times ahead: Swamp Rabbit Brewery & Taproom put out a call on Facebook volunteers and watchers to join them Monday morning as their tanks arrived and were installed.
I set out early Monday morning from Columbia, thankful for the work holiday, and arrived shortly after the trucks were unloaded and local news had packed up. These top o’ the line tanks traveled all the way from JV Northwest in Portland, OR. Although the third truck broke down in Idaho with the brewer’s platform, the team wasted no time setting up everything possible, bringing the brewery one step closer to opening day.
I spent about an hour on the sidewalk, learning about every nook and cranny of this future brewery. The interior boasts a warm, industrial style, with metalwork and a rich wood pattern drawing the eye to the bar. The large sidewalk has patio-seating potential. It was exciting to begin picturing the length of tanks that will be placed right out in the open behind the bar, to imagine the jovial conversations and brew-filled glasses clinking.
Teresa Pierson, General Manager and wife of Brew Master, Ben, was warm and enthusiastic. She answered all my questions and then some. I was beyond impressed with Ben’s brewing resume; there isn’t enough room in this blog to fit all of his accomplishments, from training in Germany to brewing at Asheville’s Green Man and LAB, to even winning a bronze GABF award. And now Traveler’s Rest has the privilege of him brewing in town.
Ben took a short break to chat, too. Dressed in his black “Godfather of Beer” shirt, he shared his plans for the brewery and talked about the beers he has in store. He’s a classical brewer, which shows in his opening day line-up: an IPA, an APA and a witbier. They also have plans for a marzen, and during my visit, a box of chocolate flavor arrived for a chocolate stout.
TR could not ask for a kinder and more experienced brewer to set up shop. This good-natured family proved keen to not only see the brewery succeed, but to make it a valuable asset of the TR community.
I look forward to sharing a beer with this passionate crew again soon, and I’ll be sure to share the official March opening date as soon as I hear.