by Eric Ginsburg
The Pulled Piggy food truck hadn’t swung open its window by the time Nancy Hoffmann stood at the corner of the bar inside, waiting to pay.
Hoffmann, the oldest and shortest member of the Greensboro City Council, had already finished her Pigmosa beer less than an hour after local brewery Pig Pounder began pouring last Friday, July 17. The Russian-style Kvass beer, a 4.1 percent ABV brew pre-mixed with fresh-squeezed orange juice, reminded Hoffmann of beers she’s had in Europe, she said. And that’s a good thing.
But more than anything the newest release from the Greensboro brewery was designed to taste like a mimosa, a mark it easily hit. The beer might’ve tasted a little more interesting if it included the addition of some gentle hops, but to do so would be to deviate from the classic champagne cocktail.
A moment after Hoffmann walked out the front door of the brewery’s taproom around 5 p.m., owner and developer Marty Kotis walked in. Back came Hoffmann, having seen him enter, and the two walked back towards the production room chatting.
At almost the exact same time, Natty Greene’s Brewing unveiled its own mimosa-style beer at the Bunker, its taproom across from the Greensboro Coliseum.
But before the Friday event was fully underway, the Natty’s team had already renamed its latest sour beer, and rightfully so.
The Jackfruit Sour didn’t exactly taste like a mimosa — it just looked like one. That’s how the bright, tart beer was christened, and also quickly altered. Jackfruit, a bumpy-looking melon sort of thing that’s orange on the inside, can be found at Super G Mart in Greensboro, and it’s even what Juicyfruit gum draws its flavor from, Natty’s owner Kayne Fisher said.
Fisher’s team brought six sour beers, including the Jackfruit Sour (pictured above), to Wicked Weed’s Funk Asheville event over the weekend, a chance to show off some of its lesser-known brews. But even at the Bunker, several other uncommon beers were hooked up to the taps. Take, for example, the Cerveza del Sur, which uses Natty Greene’s well-known Southern Pale as a base but adds cilantro, lime, jalapeño and taco seasoning. They also ran the Azacca IPA through a Randall — a piece of equipment that lets someone infuse flavors after a beer is brewed — adding orange peel, coconut, ginger and mango flavors.
The combination is unlike anything I’ve ever tried before.
If anything the Jackfruit Sour tasted almost like a shandy with a bite to it, but that description doesn’t do it justice. The Pigmosa is a quality stand-in for a mimosa, while the Jackfruit accomplishes something else entirely. And extra points go to Natty Greene’s for incorporating a fruit that is obscure around here.
Fisher said that the Natty’s folks just want to have some fun in addition to focusing on the core brand. And the three experimental beers also contradict the mistaken impression some locals have that Greensboro’s oldest brewery isn’t inventive.
Despite both initially being called mimosa beers and a matching birth date, the two orange-colored beverages from Pig Pounder and Natty Greene’s hold little in common, save for the welcomed creativity each exhibits.