(1) THE BREWERY & OUR EXPERIENCE
Our first Arkansas brewery visit back in May (2014) was to Vino’s Brewpub in Little Rock. We met with Josiah Moody who was the head brewer at that point in time, but he has since moved on to his own project as a gypsy brewer under the tag Moody Brews. Josiah informed us about all kinds of cool things Vino’s has done, like hosting live music multiple times a week from local bands as well as bigger acts like Queens of the Stone Age. A cream ale, pale ale, IPA, and stout are the four year-round beers they offer for you to enjoy with their excellent pizza, but they also have specialty releases such as the blood orange saison we tried. The environment at Vino’s is top notch and we highly recommend a trip there next time you’re in Little Rock!
(2) VITAL INFORMATION
Date of our visit: Thursday, 05/01/2014
Open since: 1991 (began brewing in 1993)
Approx. Barrel (bbl) Output 2013: 530 bbl
Projected bbl Output 2014: 530 bbl
Brewhouse size: 3 1/2 bbl
Owner(s): Henry Lee
Head Brewer: Josiah Moody
Distribution: On site with an occasional outside tapping.
Other things we learned:
* The brewery and restaurant building previously housed a drug store and later a homebrew supply shop.
* Vino’s was the first brewpub in the state of Arkansas. They opened up the restaurant but began homebrewing upstairs and decided to take it to the next level.
* They still feature live music about 4 nights a week on a stage in the back room but used to be a more popular live music venue in the area hosting touring bands the likes of Queens of the Stone Age.
* Working with 6 fermenters: four 3 1/2 bbl and two 7 bbl
* The AR capitol building is just down the road and the brewery is a popular destination for the lunch crowd.
* In the Spring, the 3rd Tuesday of every month they will host a beer float night with a local creamery, Loblolly. A few months prior to our arrival they began showing movies at the brewery once a week.
* The Saturday following our stop, Josiah worked with the local homebrewers for the third straight year for the national Big Brew Day. Homebrewers set up in the parking lot and are provided with wort from the brewery to pitch their own hops and yeasts.
* Since our visit, Josiah has moved on to his own project as a gypsy brewer under the tag Moody Brews
(3) BEERS WE SAMPLED DURING OUR VISIT
* Pulaski Pilsner @
* 6 Bridges Cream Ale #
* Slaughterhouse Blood Orange Saison @
* Lazy Boy Stout #
* Firehouse Pale Ale #
* Pinnacle #
* Dunbar Pluot @
* Mango Habenero Saison @
* Complete listing of beers
(@ = Specialty Release; # = Year Round)
What we learned about their beer during our visit:
* Four year-round beers: 6 Bridges Cream Ale, Firehouse Pale Ale, Pinnacle IPA, and Lazyboy Stout
* Outside of keeping the year-round beers available, the brewer has wide freedom to experiment and create new beers. That said, some recipes have become popular and will make frequent or seasonal appearances. Very much a focus on being unique and individual. For example, Oktoberfest, Hefeweizen, Blood Orange Hibiscus Saison.
* Like to create a lot of casks in order to try new treatments with beers. Have plenty of bung kegs with the Sankey tap and try to keep a cask on at all times. For example, on St. Patrick’s day they took the base stout and treated it with cocoa nibs or locally roasted coffee beans.
* Also experimenting quite a bit with the saison style. Josiah feels the complex flavors and yeast lends itself to experimentation.
* In order to celebrate the achievement of 2nd level Cicerone certification by a previous assistant brewer, nicknamed Slaughter, they brewed a beer with French Saison yeast and drew it into 5 casks with different treatments. The Slaughterhouse Five saison series featured Pluot, Mango Habenero, Scobe Kombucha from Loblolly aged on oak and dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin.
* The brewery is trying to work further towards locally sourced ingredients. The pluots and habeneros from the saison series were sourced from the local Dunbar Community Garden – which is an educational garden in combination with a Middle and Elementary School. In addition, the garden grows hops and Vino’s will produce a beer dry hopped with the locally grown hops.
* Other beers include experimental IPAs, Scorpion Pepper Milk Stout, Lavender Bock
* The blood orange hibiscus is quite the mess to brew and stains everything. Beer is poured into pans and placed in the oven with hibiscus flowers to make a tea which is added back into the fermenter.
(4) BACKGROUND OF PEOPLE WE SPOKE TO
Name: Josiah Moody
Title: Head Brewer
Been with company since: 2010 – 2014
Previous Brewing Experience: Homebrewing, then worked way up at Vino’s from asst brewer
Previous Occupation(s): Medical School
Favorite Superhero: Batman
(5) MORE LINKS ABOUT BREWERY
(6) You can find the rest of our PHOTOS here
Author: Michael Roberts & Brandon Wurtz