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Kelsey drinks beer: Alibi
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Jail House Brewing's Alibi - photo by Austin Steele

A beer brewed with grits? It’s honestly not as odd as it sounds.

Hear me out. Grits are made out of cornmeal and Mexican lagers typically contain corn. I see no issue in supporting the marriage of grits and beer.

JailHouse Brewing officiated this wedding and produced a golden ale, Alibi.

Alibi

Brewery: JailHouse Brewing Co.

Alcohol by volume: 4.5%

Style: Golden ale with grits

Bottom line: An easy drinking brew that plays a delightful homage to the South

The beer made its first appearance around five years ago when the brewery participated in Taco Mac’s Beer of the Month with Reformation Brewery and Cherry Street Brewing. The three were in charge of releasing a beer each week.

Glenn Golden, owner and brewer at JailHouse Brewing, said he wanted to incorporate an interesting ingredient that had ties to his “neck of the woods.”

He teamed up with Logan Turnpike Mill in Blairsville, who provided the grits.

Golden said when he brewed the first batch of Alibi he used 100 pounds of grits for 15 barrels of beer. Tweaking the recipe over the years, the brew now contains only a third of its original grits.

“The grits were a way more significant ingredient at first,” Golden said. “Overtime, we sort of realized that the impact of the grits wasn’t huge on the flavor profile and it got reduced to be more manageable.”

The effect of the grits is a subtle one. Golden said the grits impart a textural mouthfeel and a hint of sweetness.

“I love the beer,” he said. “It’s easy to drink, but it’s not a totally light-style beer. It has some complexities to it and nice malt characteristics, and it’s still on the lower end of the (alcohol by volume) spectrum.”

At one point, Golden said he considered downplaying the grits because of the reaction he received from customers.

“I have found that people are weird about grits in the South,” he said. “We’ve learned that people say they don’t do grits. That was an interesting ‘aha!’ moment. We thought everyone would love it.”

All in all, JailHouse Brewery created a fantastic brew. For all the grits haters out there, even if you don’t like the ingredient, I’m confident you’ll enjoy the beer.

Caramel and malty notes take the center stage for a smooth, inoffensive brew. Although the flavor from the hops still comes to the surface, it doesn’t bite and you end up with an easy-drinking beer.

This is the type of drink that pairs well with everything. Even those who haven’t quite submerged themselves into the craft beer scene, will probably find this brew comforting.

Unfortunately, this is a seasonal brew, and only makes an appearance toward the summer’s end. Golden said I was lucky for nabbing a pack of Alibi this time of year.

I’m sorry folks, you’ll have to wait until August to try this one.

JailHouse Brewing is located at 8 Cherry St. in Hampton. For more information about the brewery visit jailhousebrewing.com.


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