PINEHURST, N.C. — The Village of Pinehurst probably won’t ever become known as a brewing town that has a nice little golf resort in it, but Eric Mitchell can dream.
As Tom Pashley, president of Pinehurst Resort, tells it, when Mitchell was looking at taking the job as head brewer at the Pinehurst Brewing Company, he wanted an assurance that the new operation—built inside an old steam plant and opened last October—wasn’t just being looked at as a novelty before he was going to move from his job at Heist Brewery in Charlotte.
Mind you, Mitchell, 31, has an 8.6 handicap index, so swaying him to come to the golf haven wasn’t going to be that hard a sell. But he did have an objective in mind.
“For me personally, it means a lot for this place to be taken seriously as a brewery,” Mitchell said. “My goal is that you could pick this [brewery] up and place it anywhere and it would be successful.”
Nearly a year into operation, PBC has been considered a winner by most any standard. On a typical week, Mitchell and his team brew beer three times, making about 1,000 gallons of assorted offerings. They have tap space for 10 beers and make an assortment of microbrews (IPAs, not surprisingly being them most popular) for locals and resort guests.
With the U.S. Amateur coming to Pinehurst, the idea arose to create a special brew for the championship. After getting the blessing of his bosses as well as the USGA, Mitchell went to work on creating the “Hefemeyer,” a play off the Havemeyer Trophy given to the U.S. Amateur champion.
“Havemeyer, the way it’s pronounced, sounds an awful lot like hefewizen, which is a traditional German beer that has not really been altered much from the way it was brewed 150 years ago,” Mitchell said. “It seemed like a natural fit.”
The “Hefemeyer” sticks true to the standard hefewizen recipe. It’s a 50-50 split of two-row and wheat malt. Mitchell made a 10-barrel batch, or roughly 330 gallons. It took eight hours to brew and then went through a 15-day fermentation process.
The yeast gives the “Hefemeyer” a hazy look and provides it a banana and clove taste. “It’s an easy drinking beer,” Mitchell said. “It’s one of the beers that appeals to a broad palette.”
The “Hefemeyer” made its debut on Monday, coinciding with the first day of the championship, selling for $6 a pint at PBC. “When you explain the story behind it, with the Havemeyer Trophy and all, people quickly are like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve got to try that,’ ” said Christian Draughn, the brewery’s operations manager.
Draughn says a fair number of U.S. Amateur competitors have come through and while there have tried the beer. “It’s mostly those that have already fallen out of the tournament,” he joked.
Just five of the eight players still in the field entering quarterfinals are of legal drinking age, but should the champion on Sunday night be 21 or older, he’s welcome to come on over to the brewery and enjoy a glass of “Hefemeyer” in his honor.