Heist debuts new beers, brewers

Heist Brewery recently introduced four new flagship beers


Earlier this year, Heist Brewery debuted a new menu. Now, the NoDa establishment is focusing on the beer.

Over the weekend, Heist officially introduced its new flagship ales, joining a small batch program that has been going on for the last few couple. The festivities also provided a chance for the public to meet Heist’s new brewers, Eric Mitchell and Josh Johnson.

Mitchell came to Heist this past summer, when owner Kurt Hogan wanted to change up the brewery’s recipes and styles. Almost immediately, the idea of “Not So Small Batch” was born. These releases occur every Monday, and give the public an opportunity to try different and innovative styles weekly.

It wasn’t long before Mitchell (now the head brewer) called Josh Johnson, who at the time was working at Monday Night Brewing in Atlanta. The two have been best friends since their collegiate days at Auburn, and both have a passion for brewing.

“He called and said, ‘I think I may have a job for you here, where you’ll be able to make all your own recipes,’” Johnson says. “I had been in Atlanta for a while, so it was time for a change of pace. And the idea of working with one of my best friends made it pretty appealing to me as well.”

So Johnson packed up and headed north to Charlotte, where he and Mitchell have been working fast and furious to get everything ready the way they wanted at the brewery.

“I’ve only been here a month, but it’s turned out even better than I imagined,” Johnson says. “I don’t even have a couch in my living room yet, but I’ve got brewing equipment and I’ve got beer, so it’s OK.”

What the two have come up with are a little different from what Heist offered in the past, which is partly the point. Heist’s flagship ales now consist of San Fran Disco, an American pale ale; Muscles from Brussels, a Belgian pale ale; DZL Double IPA (which graduated from the Not So Small Batch) and The Duke of Ted ESB (my favorite out of all the ones I tried).

And, of course, Heist will continue its Not So Small Batch releases on Mondays. (I had a chance to try the Peanut Butter Porter Mitchell and Johnson brewed, and it was absolutely fantastic.)

“I’m my biggest critic and I tell Eric, with all of the small batches we do, I can’t say it’s good until he tells me it’s good,” Johnson says. “Eric and I brainstorm on every recipe, and I want them to be cutting edge. We’re working on a small scale compared to other breweries … and I can go and do things completely out of the box. We are all about the idea of making beers that no one else has tried before.”

And much like DZL, if Heist’s guests are receptive to certain small batches, Hogan says you could see them brewed on the big system and offered daily.

“It’s all about the audience and what they want,” Hogan says. 

Categories: Beer