Brewing on the micro scale with Leveneleven

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Leveneleven Brewing marks the halfway point between small-batch brewing and a backyard brew shed. (photo by Kat Bodrie)

Greensboro’s newest brewery, Leveneleven Brewing, recently hit its one-month mark. Run by Dan Morgan and Derrick Flippin, Leveneleven is sister to neighboring homebrew supply store Big Dan’s Brew Shed. We caught up with Flippin to find out how the brewery and supply shop are doing and what beer styles we can expect next.

What has the turnout at Leveneleven been like? Was it what you expected?

Turnout has been soft, but seems to be picking up a little each week. In the first couple weeks, most people checking out the brewery were also customers of the store. But now I’m starting to notice more unfamiliar faces, and some of the questions we’re getting about the beers are obviously not from a homebrewing audience. In some ways, starting off slow has been good because we’ve never run a taproom, and it’s easier to figure things out with 15-20 customers versus a packed house. I did expect people would really like our beer, and while we might not be shoulder-to-shoulder deep every night, that happily seems to be the case.

What’s been challenging this first month?

We had some issues with parking since the Coliseum is across the street. There was some miscommunication during those first couple of big events, but we’ve worked with the landlord on things like signage so people won’t have any trouble in the future. Thankfully, there’ve been few challenges in the brewery. That’s the one place where things have been fairly easy, largely because of our homebrew experience and because we’ve worked extremely hard to make things easy on ourselves. In hindsight, maybe we shouldn’t have spent so much time trying to figure out how a glycol system works or how to scale up our recipes so they come out right. I guess we should have been on social media hyping ourselves every few hours!

What’s your favorite beer on tap right now?

I’m partial to the golden ale. It has most everything I like: interesting flavors with good balance, and a crisp, dry finish that makes it highly drinkable. I also really like the porter because we missed our temperatures while mashing and ended up with something that wasn’t exactly a porter. We “saved” it by adding pounds of various types of sugar, something we wouldn’t have been able to easily do if we didn’t have a homebrew shop next door. So that beer highlights a couple of aspects that make us unique: we can use different ingredients because we have them in stock, and we know how to fix a beer because we’re always helping homebrewers get into or out of trouble.

What types of beers are you in the process of making?

The next beer on tap will be an IPA called Arnge Ale. Dan came up with the recipe and keeps it in the store. Some of our customers ended up making it themselves and doing well with it in competitions. As the name suggests, the beer is a lovely shade of orange and has a nice citrus flavor from Amarillo hops, as well as some ripe passionfruit notes. It’s a tasty beer, and one I’d venture to say you’d enjoy even if IPA isn’t your thing. We recently brewed a Vienna Lager, one of my favorite styles. I’m looking forward to when we brew a Kolsch because it’s a style Dan enjoys and is very good at. I would love to see us always try to keep something Belgian going. I very much enjoy brewing Belgian beers because the yeast can be challenging to work with.

Visit Leveneleven Brewing at 1111 Coliseum Drive (GSO) or 1111taps.com.

How has Big Dan’s Brew Shed been? Have y’all gotten more customers as a result of the brewery?

The shop has been doing fairly well. We’ve suffered some since moving from the old location, and homebrewing as a hobby, in general, is in decline. We also recently modified our hours to a call-in/pick-up system Tuesday through Thursday so we can brew, and regular hours Friday and Saturday since those are the busiest days for the store. I’ve seen several new faces, but I’m not sure it’s because of the brewery. But I have noticed about two-thirds of our homebrew customers who come in while the brewery’s open wander over and get a beer or two. I’m just waiting for the day when we have that argumentative customer who doesn’t like the advice we give or doesn’t think we know what we’re talking about. I’m going to send them over to the brewery, buy them a beer and say the proof is in the pudding!

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