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Cabarrus Magazine

Episode 30: Prost! 'Up Front' Helps You Celebrate Oktoberfest in Cabarrus

Oct 07, 2019 04:23PM ● By Jason Huddle

Episode 30: Prost! It's Oktoberfest!

Huddle: (00:00)
Welcome to Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine sponsored by Atlantic Bay Mortgage, Cabarrus Arena and Events Center, CERTEC Automotive, Code Ninjas, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Family Wealth Partners, Merle Norman Cosmetics and Edie's Salon, and Your CBD store of Concord. I'm your host Jason Huddle.

Huddle: (00:25)
Welcome to episode 30 of Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine. Can you believe that we are 30 episodes in and we have had a blast doing each and every installment of Up Front and this week is absolutely no exception. We are celebrating October Fest. I know it hasn't felt like it outside, but October is upon us. And with that comes a festival of beer and community and we have been blessed with so many different craft breweries. I wish I could have interviewed all of them because each one of them play a significant role in our community. They have opened up an entire new segment of our community that has benefited us in so many ways, not only with the variety of beers and beverages that they provide, but also, uh, it has become an attraction for tourism. It has become something that has attracted attention from other barriers in the state and the country. So we are excited to celebrate Oktoberfest this week. We have with us today on the program, Steve Steinbacher. He is the owner of Cabarrus Brewing Company and also Ford Craven, who is also one of the owners of Southern Strain Brewing that just opened up in Concord last month. We are excited to have them on the program. Today we're going to talk, not only about beer, but the history of what Oktoberfest means. We're also going to get into a little bit about what different beers mean. Um, I'm kind of a beer novice to be honest with you. I'm not a huge beer drinker, never have been, but I know that there are some people that are very enthusiastic about it and there are also some people that you know, they don't know the difference between one kind of beer and another. It's just kind of all beer to them. And so we're going to help you out with that a little bit as well. So we are going to get into all that. But first it is time for shameless plug time.

Huddle: (02:16)
A new edition of Cabarrus Magazine is online and in stands, and it's all about Fall in Cabarrus County. We went out and found different events and things to do in the community this fall. Uh, whether it be through the arts programs that are in the County, like old courthouse theater and the Davis theater, the galleries, all the way through different fall festivals. And we even took a ghost tour out at Whisky Prison. So make sure you check out this month's edition of Cabarrus magazine. And while I'm at it, I should also mention that voting is now open for the Cabarrus Magazine Readers awards. Once again, we are giving away awards to the best businesses voted by you in four different categories, casual dining, fine dining, best retail experience, and best overall business. So if you have a favorite and any or all of those categories, please go to find the article that has the link to the voting. Click on that go nominate your favorites. And on October 21st we'll begin the second round of voting where you can begin to vote on those businesses that were nominated in the nomination round. So if you have a favorite that you want to see on that voting list, go there now and vote. And that's today's shameless plug time.

Huddle: (03:36)
Okay. When we get back, we're going to be out at Cabarrus Brewing Company with Steve Steinbacher to talk all about beer and Oktoberfest. Stay tuned.

Commercials: (03:44)

Huddle: (05:25)
Welcome back to this episode of Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine. I am on location at Cabarrus Brewing Company. I'm sitting here with Steve Steinbacher. He is the grand Poobah and chief beersman of, I don't even know if that's a word, but I just made it up.

Steinbacher: (05:40)
I just like to tell people I'm the person the bank would call first.

Huddle: (05:44)
(Laughs) That's true.

Steinbacher: (05:45)
And the guy that has to sign the checks and the, and who's on the list of the, the banks called lists. So.

Huddle: (05:51)
Perfect. So Steve, as I called you on the phone and told you we are celebrating Oktoberfest, uh, which is kind of big around here.

Steinbacher: (05:59)

Huddle: (05:59)
I would imagine. And so let's talk about a little bit about what Cabarrus Brewing is doing to, uh, to bring in the new season.

Steinbacher: (06:06)
Sure, sure. Well, Jason, I appreciate it. And again, for us, Oktoberfest, both as a company for me personally is really the epitome of a lot of things related to not just the history of the festival itself, which again started and way back in 1810, in Munich, Germany. But really what I personally really appreciate and love about the craft beer business or the environment, if you will, the community that it represents, you know, Oktoberfest. Having been to Oktoberfest and Munich a couple times as well as um, some, uh, time spent at Spring Fest, which is kind of Oktoberfest light in the spring.

Huddle: (06:41)
It's really just an excuse to drink a lot of beer.

Steinbacher: (06:44)
Well, it's an excuse to drink a lot of beer, but it's also to be with a lot of friends.

Huddle: (06:47)

Steinbacher: (06:47)
And to me that's, that's what drives so much of this, you know, I think for me, you know, the, the, the beer world consists of four different people. People that drink to get drunk and again, not, you know, that might've been us in college way back when. But end of the day there are people that just drink beer because they want to catch a buzz. There are those that like the taste of beer, there are those that love beer, not just for the beverage itself but also for the community and the comradery and the friendship that typically goes along with sitting around with some of the, some of the great friends and community that you are part of. And then there are those that I think, you know, put beer maybe just a notch below politics and religion and a get a little to a crazy about it itself and obsess on it. For us, Oktoberfest to me really represents that third group. People who love beer, not necessarily just for the beverage but for the community it represents in the history of Oktoberfest and what you see happening in Munich every year is the an epitome of that. I mean we've, I've been there and you sit around with people at these long tables in these beer halls from there all around the world and within minutes you really feel like you've known them for years and become good friends with them. And for us, that's what drives this. Ever since we opened our doors. Our goal has always been, not necessarily to be the best beer producer, but really to be the best community gathering spot. Um, to really foster that. And to us, Oktoberfest is kind of the epitome of that whole effort. Um, it's always our biggest event. It's always our biggest crowd. It's our biggest weekend from a business perspective. It's what we all within the brewery and what we see more and more of our customers throwing themselves into it, you know, whether it be in costume or you know, wearing the appropriate and leader hose and uh, just doing those things to really get into the whole process. And so we're very excited about it. And not only, yes, do we release German specific beers and you know, in the form of a Marzen and this year a Fest beer, which really sometimes or are the only lagers that we really brew, but to the food, to the decor to everything, we're really trying to, every year kind of ramp it up in terms of its authenticity. Uh, you drinking beer out of those lieders steins and just doing those things that really drive home community in what Oktoberfest. And it's not just about the beer, it should be, and that's, you know, do things with friends.

Huddle: (09:07)
So how long have you guys been open now? It seems like just yesterday I was in here doing a, an Up Front when we used to do the video segments for Up Front, which, by the way, is still on our YouTube channel. You can go to Cabarrus Magazine's YouTube channel and look it up. Um, and you can probably find it on our website. Uh, how long have you guys been open? Since - it was March? Correct?

Steinbacher: (09:26)
We celebrated our third anniversary, uh, this past March. And again, just one of those, whether you call it dumb luck or planning, I'll call it dumb luck. We opened on Saint Patty's day in 2016. So again, a good day to open a brewery. But, um, so, uh, the, this past March was our, our third anniversary. Um, we're, we're coming up now on our fourth October Fest. You know, we did one every year and every year it's kinda grown and gotten bigger and better. Um, so it's one of those things that, you know, I think we're, we're, we're really proud of. And like I said, it's, it just seems to be our signature event and one that we want to make a regional event. Um, you know, you see often a lot of these lists of, you know, the top 10 Oktoberfest in the United States and you see cities like Cincinnati and others. I'd love for Concord and Cabarrus Brewing Company to be one of those Oktoberfest destinations sometime in the not too distant future.

Huddle: (10:17)
I don't think that's out of the realm of possibility. I mean we've become destinations for just about everything else, including Mustang owners worldwide. So why not beer too?

Steinbacher: (10:25)
Well, I think a shout out, you know, the, the, the Cabarrus CVB, convention and visitors Bureau, does a great job promoting tourism here in Cabarrus County. Uh, the craft beer scene, uh, the craft beverage scene, you know, to include uh, Southern grace, uh, distilleries I think really drives us as a tourist destination. You know, a lot of people compare us with Asheville, you know, not really apples to apples, but I do think, you know, there's a lot of growth here in terms of what we can do and events like Oktoberfest for us really is going to be a, a driving force and hopefully a motivator to continue to do those types of larger scale regional events.

Huddle: (10:59)
For our beer novices, can you, real quick, explain the difference between say a lager an ale, uh, an IPA. You hear these terms and those people that are not experienced with beer, it's all beer to them. So can you kind of explain real quick the difference?

Steinbacher: (11:17)
Yep, yep. Well it is all beer. So you are correct in that assumption. Um, but really the, the two main kinds of beer are an ale and a lager and those are all related to the yeast that is used to ferment the beer itself. An ale typically ferments at a warmer temperature. It ferments faster. Uh, which is why typically you'll see most craft breweries lean towards ales. You know, you can turn an ale out at in two weeks, whereas a lager is gonna ferment at a colder temperature and actually take longer. Um, that's really where you see a lot of the historical German beers were evolved because lagering meant sitting in a cave for a long time and staying col., You'll take maybe anywhere from two to three times the amount of fermentation time with a lager that you do an ale. Um, you know, you can have all sorts of different IPA's, which is an Indian Pale Ale or an IPL, an Indian pale lager. Really the, the difference between ale and lager just really relates to the yeast itself. The flavor profiles can vary widely within each one. You know, there's no limit to the, to the variation within each one of those beer types as it relates to style. The sky is the limit, so to speak. Um, India pale ale or an India pale lager, you know, that's a classic throwback to the old British pale ale. Um, which was their standard, uh, of beer. And um, as you know, they had a big presence in India for many years. And uh, it was realized that as the pale ales were being shipped to India on ships prior to refrigeration, they would arrive in India, somewhat spoiled. The British brewers realized that if you added more hops to the beer and the pale ale itself, it actually would act as a preservative. So it was kind of deemed the India pale ale, which is what was being sent to India, um, to support the, the citizens of England over there. When they moved back to England, they had often said, I liked the beer that you sent over to India, better than the beer we're getting here. Thus India pale ale. IPA was kind of deemed a style, if you will. And obviously now has become a very popular style here in the United States. And the variety just within the India pale ale segment is exploding.

Huddle: (13:23)
A little history lesson from -

Steinbacher: (13:24)
There you go.

Huddle: (13:25)
Steve Steinbacher.

Steinbacher: (13:25)
The amount of history involved with the beer is spectacular, you know, and, and very rich. You know, having spent some time in Germany, in Belgium, you really learn how much beer is such a part of civilization and culture overall. Uh, you know, back in the day beer was the safest thing to drink. You know, there's a saying that I've seen on a number of different plaques and shirts. In wine, there is wisdom beer, there is strength, water, bacteria. Um, so, uh, you know, you really see the history and how important beer and wine, you know, wine from the, the, the Roman empire and beer, you know, really from the, the German nomadic empire evolved to be such a cornerstone of civilization. Uh, even more so from the religious component and that the church itself was one of the ones that religious organizations back in the medieval times were really the ones that perfected the brewing process as they were the only ones that could really read and write. And so they would document everything they did as it related to the brewing process, which is why some of those beers, both the Belgian and the German beers are some of the best in the world.

Huddle: (14:26)
So real quick, before I let you go, um, what's, what's new for Cabarrus Brewing Company? What should we expect to see from you guys in the next, in the next three years?

Steinbacher: (14:35)
Sure, sure. Well, we're, we're thrilled with all the developments going on here in Cabarrus County. Um, there's just so much happening, you know, not only here at Gibson mill, which we are very much a part of, but also everything going on at Kannapolis and Harrisburg and Mount pleasant. Uh, you know, you can expect Cabarrus Brewing to have a very heavy hand in a lot of the development related to all of these areas in the County. Uh, you know, we are very much focused on our backyard and we'll play an active role in all of those efforts.

Huddle: (15:02)
Awesome. Steve Steinbacher, Cabarrus Brewing Company. Thank you so much for sitting down with us today.

Steinbacher: (15:05)
Jason. Thank you. We appreciate everything you do.

Huddle: (15:08)
Thank you so much. We're gonna turn it over to our sponsors and we'll be back in just a few minutes. Stay tuned.

Commercials: (15:14)

Huddle: (16:57)
Welcome back to Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine. I'm sitting here with Ford Craven from Southern Strain Brewing Company and they're a brand new brewing company. Just opened up last month. Uh, first of all, Ford, thanks for coming into the studio today.

Craven: (17:11)
Absolutely. Thank you for having me, Jason.

Huddle: (17:12)
So we're celebrating Oktoberfest this episode, uh, which is kind of a big thing in your industry.

Craven: (17:18)
Yeah, man, it's a great thing to celebrate.

Huddle: (17:19)
And uh, so first of all, before we get into that, I would just want to let you talk about Southern Strain. You guys just opened up, uh, tell us where you came from and, and uh, how it's going so far.

Craven: (17:30)
Uh, sure. Thanks for the opportunity. Yeah, like you said, we um, we opened last month. Um, this is a - we had a big grand opening uh, weekend and think this is a week four. We're here at the end of beginning of October now. So things are going good, man. Crowds are still up and we're or stacking our calendar full of events. So everything's going well in that regard. A little background on Southern strain. Real quick, we've been working on it for quite some time. Um, it took us a full year to get the building leased and build out and get everything done. And we're extremely happy with how it came out. Um, everyone that's come in there so far just thinks the vibe is great. I like to say we took out more than we actually put in. Uh, were in an old mill that - old 18, uh, 1880's, uh, cotton mill and uh, we basically just took it back to what it used to be cleaned up the floors, um, blasted the walls and the ceiling, um, and just exposed everything that used to be. And there's so much character in it, uh, that we didn't have to do much in the way of decoration, uh, which was really, really cool and really eye opening, um, for us. So we're stoked how it came out. Our beers have come out famously as well. Um, I own this brewery along with my two partners, Bart Roberts and Jake Allen. Jake is our CFO. And then Bart is our head brewer. Uh, we're all actively there daily. I'm getting everything done. Bart makes some outstanding beers. He's, he is, uh, he is, he's not a rookie at this. He's been a professional brewer for six years. And, um, finally got his own chance to own a brewery and, and uh, make his own beers under his own guidelines and everything he puts out his, uh, is fantastic. We opened with eight beers. We have nine beers now. We're not really a niche brewery where we were an American craft brewery. We don't want to give up any, uh, creative license, um, so to speak. Um, but if you did have to niche this out, you'd probably be a lager house. Um, overall it's a style that we really like making. It's a harder style to make, but Bart can make them really well. And um, we have, uh, with three of them on draft right now and since this is an Oktoberfest episode, that's, that's what Oktoberfest is all about. And it's like a celebration of lager beer.

Huddle: (19:29)

Craven: (19:29)
For the most part. So.

Huddle: (19:30)
Sure. So I was - that actually leads into my next question because I was going to ask you, you know, a few years ago there were no, uh, small brewing houses or craft beer houses in Cabarrus County and now we seem to have a wealth of them. Is the lager - is that what sets you guys apart from other, like companies?

Craven: (19:51)
We uh, I think there's a few differentials there. Yeah. The lager is for sure, um, that we're kinda heavy on that side. Our space we're in, we're in a neighborhood. Um, basically we're in Downtown Concord, you know, where we are. We're four blocks from the center of historic downtown Concord, which puts us right in a neighborhood. I mean, we have literally have neighbors that pause a movie and walk over to get a, to get a beer to go and come back and sit back over the couch and watch the movie. Um, so that's the differential. Uh, we're, we're, we're in, we're in the downtown neighborhood and just our space, we got lucky with the place that we got. Like I said, it's an old mill. We have 15,000 square feet. So it's not just a real small, you know, tap house that you go into. It's a full blown operation brewery, um, with 5,000 square feet of tap room and patio space and another about 2000 square feet in the back that's accessible for the public to use as well. So yeah, we have, we have a couple of things going for us.

Huddle: (20:44)
So with all that meeting space, and you guys have an Oktoberfest event coming up this weekend, correct?

Craven: (20:49)
Absolutely. Yeah. October 6, um, we're having our first annual, um, Southern strain. Oktoberfest. We're very traditional in our ways. Um, a lot of the beers we make are very traditionally styled. We don't use a ton of adjuncts. And, uh, we decided that we wanted to have Oktoberfest this year and, and have it within the traditional Oktoberfest October 6th is actually the last day of the Munich Oktoberfest. So we're just going to squeeze it in right there, right there at the last. So we've got a full blown October Fest celebration. It's going from a 12:00 PM noon to 7:00 PM. Uh, we have, I'm gonna get their name wrong. I keep getting it wrong all week. It's like Route 161 Happy Wanderers Polka Band. Uh, they're coming in and playing from, I think, 1 to 3:30. Um, we've got Hotbox, which is our kitchen partner. Um, we're, we're in construction with a kitchen. That's another differential, um, that we're going to have over. Um, the other local breweries especially, uh, we're gonna have an in-house kitchen that's a hotbox next level kitchen. They're already permitted and everything. So they're serving food in our tap room. Periodically. You have like a Sunday jazz brunch. So for Oktoberfest, they're gonna be, they're gonna have a Brat bar, uh, that you can get. They're gonna have house-made pretzels and a Apple strudel, um, that you can just buy a plate of and they'll be available for most of the day. We have, uh, our Fest beer, um, which is the, uh, traditional, um, Oktoberfest beer. Um, you think about (Inaudible), you think of the Oktoberfest style of beer. Um, fest beer is like a lighter version of that, more palatable and easy drinking. Um, you can, you can slam a, a DAS boot of a festival beer, uh, easier. You can, one of Oktoberfest and sure, and that's kind of a, a theme throughout all of our beers is there'll be, we want them to be very easy drinking and if you don't want two pints of it, then it's probably not a beer that we're gonna make, um, or put out there. Uh, we also have this exciting for me because I drink with this guy on a pretty regular basis. Uh, Jerry Goodman, um, he's a bit of a local legend here in Concord that I don't think anyone really knows too much about him, but he's at little Robert's place all the time. Jerry's history, he was in Fred Astaire's band back in the wow. And he's an accordion player and he had at one point, he had a huge, I don't know if it was like a 10 or like 20 piece band they traveled around with for most of his career. He started all the Oktoberfest, um, activities in Charlotte. Um, he was the head of, uh, like the music, getting all the, you know, traditional music for Oktoberfest and um, and he's a local here. He lives right in downtown, so he's going to be there. Um, I booked him to come from 4 to 7 and he's going to walk around tables to table with his accordion and just play.

Huddle: (23:21)
Serenade people with the accordion!

Craven: (23:24)
Yeah, yeah, just gonna serenade, man. It's going to be a cool thing. Uh, I think we're gonna have some Stein holding competitions too. Oh, you familiar with those?

Huddle: (23:30)
I am not.

Craven: (23:30)
So Stein holding competitions is pretty simple. Um, you have a full Stein of beer, there'll be different times when you can participate or compete and a, you have to hold it straight arm out over the bar. And the last one holding that, that Stein of beer is the winter. So it's, it's just a interactive kind of fun, traditional, uh, Oktoberfest activity.

Huddle: (23:49)
Sounds like a lot of fun this weekend coming up at Southern Strain Brewing Company. Uh, before I let you go, give us your address and uh, where can people can find you on the interwebs.

Craven: (23:59)
Uh, sure. So we're at a one 65 Brumley Avenue, um, right at Brumley and Reed street. Uh, that's four blocks from the middle of downtown Concord. Um, let's see, we're on, uh, we're on Facebook, Southern Strain Brewing. Also on Instagram, Southern Strain Brewing and then uh, Twitter I believe were us Southern underscore Strain and then

Huddle: (24:18)
Awesome. Ford Craven, Southern Strain Brewing Company. Thanks for coming in today, man.

Craven: (24:21)
Absolutely. Thanks for having us. Happy Oktoberfest everybody!

Huddle: (24:23)
And to you!

Craven: (24:24)

Huddle: (24:24)
Stay tuned. We'll be right back after these messages from our sponsors.

Commercials: (24:28)

Huddle: (25:47)
I want to thank my guest today, Steve Steinbacher and Ford Craven. They are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to beer and Oktoberfest and I appreciate them spending some time with us today. Hey, don't forget that we are still giving away Renaissance festival tickets. All you have to do is join our Up Front with Cabarrus magazine Facebook page and interact. You can comment, share, do whatever, but interact with the page and we will automatically enter you into a drawing for two tickets to the Carolina Renaissance festival happening now through November 24th I know some of you might've thought, well, this episode really wasn't for me. I'm not into beer, I'm not into craft beer. But I think Steve hit the nail on the head when he said, this isn't just about beer, it's about community. And that's kind of what this program is all about. It's about bringing this community together in every way that we do and this community really does it so well. I have grown up in this area. I have seen this community come together time and time again and fight through adversity and create new ways to have streams of revenue coming in when other communities might have given up. So that's why I wanted to do this episode. I hope you have enjoyed it and I would be remissed if I didn't mention our sponsors. Of course, we always thank Atlantic Bay Mortgage, Cabarrus Arena and Events Center, CERTEC Automotive, Code Ninjas, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Family Wealth Partners, Merle Norman Cosmetics and Edie's Salon, and Your CBD store of Concord. I've been your host Jason Huddle, and until next week, as Ford said, Prost!

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