Hillsborough, N.C. — For Mystery Brewing's Erik Lars Myers, creating great beer is a left and right brain process.
"Beer is the perfect synthesis of art and science," Myers said. "In order to make good beer, you have to be a great scientist. In order to make great beer, you have to be a great artist."
In Hillsborough, Myers, a former theater director and computer programmer, reconciles both in a seven barrel brewhouse that has been open for just over a year.
This brewery creates seasonal beers like our latest obsession Queen Anne's Revenge, a 5.8 percent ABV Carolinian Dark that got our attention in the spring, and the Papa Bois, a 7.3 percent ABV Citrus Foreign Extra Stout that is available this summer.
"We won't put out anything that we don't like," Myers said, while standing in the brewery's grain room.
The staff tastes every bag of grain to determine if the product is up to their standards. They also taste the beer at various points along the way, so they are aware if something isn't tasting right. Myers is a Cicerone, or a certified beer server, so he knows exactly how the product should taste.
While this microbrewery isn't open to the public, four months ago Mystery opened a taproom nearby for beer enthusiasts to sit down and enjoy some of their seasonal offerings - including a few special mixes like the Hemingway - a combination of the Papa Bois and their Lockwood's Retreat IPA.
The taproom is a relaxed and comfortable place to talk about beer with other guests and the bartenders, or you can grab a book off the shelves – they have everything from Wuthering Heights to Harry Potter – or play a board game with friends. It's a fun, relaxed atmosphere, and they host events like quiz night and food truck stops.
And in case you were curious about the brewery's name - it is a throwback to the original meaning of the word 'mystery' - the "art and craft of a trade."