by Eric Ginsburg
There may already be eight breweries in the Triad’s three cities, with two others nearby and several more on the way, but only one of them has a beer menu broken down into two main categories: “IPAs,” and “not IPAs.”
Even local beer fans who haven’t been out to Foothills’ tasting room, in a warehouse so far towards Winston-Salem’s city limits that it’s hardly recognizable as part of the city, could guess that the juggernaut would be the one to split its beers into the two camps.
These are the folks who brought us the Jade IPA — the most popular local beer among the Triad breweries’ lead brewers, a brew that will soon be released in six packs for the first time. This is where you can find an IPA of the Month beer, or coming in 2016, a Hop of the Month brew, home of Hoppyum, HopJob, Seeing Double IPA and the wintery Frostbite Black IPA.
Or if a hop bite isn’t really your thing, there’s page two of the draft menu, with the classic Torch Pilsner, seasonal Oktoberfest or —better yet — the Gruffmeister Maibock. Page three right now is shorter, naming three beers in Foothills’ limited Foot Men Series: a witbier, an American wheat, and a wee heavy Scotch ale.
If you happened to show up at the tasting room in the southwestern corner of the city on Friday, Nov. 6 like I did, you might’ve had the opportunity to snag a pint of any of them for free.
We never really figured out why one of the bar’s patrons decided to pay for a few hundred dollars worth of beer for the couple dozen people hanging out on the evening’s early side. Don’t ask questions, a woman standing next to me at the bar advised when I wondered aloud at the source of our good fortune. Just take the free beer.
Later, as our patron saint played Iron Maiden from his phone and sang along as best he could, my friends obliged his mood and joined in, complete with wild air guitar.
It was the least we could do, really.
In some ways the Foothills tasting room — not to be confused with the downtown pub — feels like a really cool basement, but it’s actually a mid-sized bar with a decent patio area tacked on to a production facility. The tasting room opened earlier this year, and though it’s an outlier, it’s worth checking out even just to ogle the brew tanks.
When I showed up with three friends, we had intended to stay for one drink and head somewhere else with food, but aided by the King-Queen Haitian Cuisine food truck, which is based in Greensboro but happened to be there that night, we ended up hanging around for three rounds. Thanks to mystery man for the third.
This is the kind of place where you might see a minivan full of middle-aged people pull up and pile out around 9 p.m. We did. And though we weren’t alone in ranging from 26-32, most of the boozers were closer to retirement than college.
Not that we cared. Foothills is, as the youngest among us said right before ordering the November IPA of the Month, one of the top five reasons he lives in Winston-Salem. When you’re drinking, and when it’s Foothills, that kind of hyperbole is permissible.
Visit Foothills Tasting Room at 3800 Kimwell Drive (W-S) or at foothillsbrewing.com.