Peace, Love and Beer! When these are Mother Earth’s main tenets, you can’t go wrong, or can you?
Developed by Stephen Hill and his son-in-law, Trent Mooring, Mother Earth Brewing serves as a cornerstone of the re-development of Kinston, NC. As Kinston natives, both Stephen and Trent wanted to combine their love of business and art, in all of its forms, to their hometown. Everything about Mother Earth is meant to remind you of the goodness that comes from the land – and they take this being “green” thing very seriously.
Take, for example, the building that houses Mother Earth. The insulation in the walls is made from recycled jeans, they use LED lighting, and they were able to reuse 95% of the bricks from the old building. Solar panels provide 100% of the electricity needed for the tap room and the beer garden. Instead of throwing out old hops after the brewing process, these are put into barrels out back and local farmers are encouraged to use it as feed for their animals. Even 80% of the brewery’s employees walk or bike to work. That is dedication to mother earth!
But let’s talk about what everyone wants to know about, the important stuff.
We ordered our usual flight of beers. Guests can choose between a four or five beer flight. We tried:
Festbier – A traditional fall festbier with a 4.9% ABV. Overtones of pepper and black tea. I found it a little too hoppy for my taste, although very traditional in style.
Park Day – Known as a Bohemian Pilsner, this 5.1% ABV beer is another enjoyable light beer. This was my favorite beer in our flight.
Snow Flurry – Prepared for winter, this juniper-rye IPA with a 6.5% ABV was not my favorite — probably due to the IPA factor, and nothing to do with the beer itself.
Oatmeal IPA – Although I’m not a fan of IPAs, I find that an oatmeal IPA is smoother and less hoppy – and that was true with this beer. With an ABV of 6.5%, this seasonal beer is perfect for a fall day.
Fig & Raisin – Featured in their Windowpane Series (using non-traditional beer ingredients grown locally), this is a strong Belgian Dubbel with a 9% ABV. Aged in apple brandy barrels, this was not my favorite, probably due to the fig flavor, which was odd.
Earlier in the day we had tried some of their mainstay beers:
Weeping Willow Wit – I’ve enjoyed this Belgian wit many times before. With an ABV of 5%, I find the orange and coriander flavor light and perfectly in line with my taste preferences.
Endless River – A light Kolsch style beer with a 5% ABV. Something to enjoy on a hot summer day.
Dark Cloud – This Munich Dunkel surprised me. I don’t usually enjoy dark beers but with an ABV of only 5.1%, their brewmaster accurately describes this as “a mild lager than just happens to be dark.” Enjoyable!
The only mainstay beer that I did not try was their Sisters of the Moon, which is an IPA and therefore not a style I enjoy. I learned that Homegrown, a blend of beer and locally grown tomato juice started the entire project and so I would like to give that a try when it is available in the Spring (depending on when the tomatoes are ready to be picked!).
Four wines from Yadkin Valley were available for non-beer drinkers: Cabernet, Franc, Red Blend and Chardonnay. I do like it when a craft brewery also offers a few wine options for those that may prefer it.
No food is served at Mother Earth Brewing. I didn’t see anyone eating here. I don’t recall seeing any food items, including snacks, listed on their menu. On the other hand, there was a pizza place next door and the Boiler Room Oyster Bar was across the street. Vivian Howard’s famous The Chef and The Farmer is a block away.
I don’t even know where to start with the atrocious decor. Considering how earthy and organic the entire production facility and ideals the beer espouse, the tap room is disconcerting. White sheers covered the beautiful brick of the walls of this re-purposed building. The stainless steer bar surrounded in blue neon lights looked out of place. While one sitting area featured black 60’s modern couches, another contained two sitting pods that instantly reminded me of the movie Men In Black. It looked like the owners were going for a chic, big city feel. But I think most craft beer drinkers prefer a more homey feeling (at least I do!). It seemed particularly out of touch with the Mother Earth concept. The bartender mentioned the decor as a frequent topic of discussion by new patrons.
I saw neither dogs nor children at Mother Earth. They may be welcomed in the beer garden area, but it was too cold for us to explore. I saw no games, and no areas that would be appropriate for a child, so I don’t think this is the place to bring them.
We did have access to WiFi while here. They do not use the Untappd menu or other features but had their own swanky looking electronic menu.
Enjoy a free brewery tour offered at the top of most hours. Our tour guide taught us interesting facts about their green efforts and the owners.
Mother Earth expanded its offerings to now include distilled spirits – offering gin, rum and a single malt scotch. Five years into developing a mastery of the spirits, they have just begun selling the alcohols during their tours. We’ll have to stay tuned to see how that segment grows.
I like the idea of conserving our environment and supporting green technology. I just wished that they had carried this organic feel into their tap room. An easy fix would involve taking down the sheers, exposing the beautiful brick, and eliminating the blue neon lights.
If you’re looking to make a special outing in Kinston, consider staying at the O’Neil Hotel. If you like great food, enjoy a meal at the world renowned The Chef & The Farmer or the Boiler Room Oyster Bar. And while you’re in town, give Mother Earth a try.
Annick, The Common Traveler