Ass Clown Brewing’s Matt Glidden did more than sell Josh Carl and Jacob Reynolds a kegerator. He, along with his Cornelius neighbors from D9 Brewing, inspired the two to open a nanobrewery. They will open Barking Duck Brewing at 8037-C Fairview Road in Mint Hill this Tuesday, Sept. 2 from 4-10 p.m.
“Matt helped us out a lot in the early stages. And the guys at D9 Brewing have kind of been our big brothers, so to speak,” said Carl.
Though they have been busy these last few months in preparation of the grand opening, the guys at D9 Brewing have given Carl and Reynolds lots of advice on going the nano route. The Brewers Association does not have a definition for nanobreweries, but most consider them to be breweries that brew no more than three barrels of beer at a time (a barrel is the equivalent of 31 gallons).
The system at Barking Duck is even smaller, as they are brewing double batches on a half-barrel system and then fermenting in four one-barrel fermenters. Their 1,000-square-foot space is located behind a Food Lion in a strip of connected brick buildings, each looking much the same as the ones beside it.
When you open the roll-up door at Barking Duck Brewing, however, it reveals a small taproom divided by a half-wall with a bar top. Walls alternate between green, orange and gray, and on this latter shade is a chalkboard to display information about the beers. There are a few tables and chairs, past which sits the four-tap kegerator.
It poured many a pint at Ass Clown Brewing before Matt Glidden upgraded to a whopping 32 taps. At Barking Duck, Carl and Reynolds plan to open with just three core beers before later experimenting with other styles. Their flagship Banamber was actually a happy accident. Instead of picking up an American ale yeast before brewing an amber, Reynolds accidentally bought a Belgian yeast, which imbued the beer with the banana and clove notes more typical of some Belgian styles. They liked it, and others did too; it was their most popular beer at the All Ale to the Queen beer festival last March.
The other two core beers will be a milk stout called Big Belly Stout and Halfsies DIPA, which straddles the line between a single and double IPA. Soon they hope to brew a Jasmine Saison and give their Banamber a peanut butter treatment.
Carl and Reynolds have been brewing together for quite a while, picking up the hobby after they moved back from Western Carolina University, where they were roommates. Opening a nanobrewery was appealing to them because it didn’t require the financial investment that a much larger brewery and taproom would require.
“We came straight out of our pockets for it,” said Reynolds. “We haven’t got investors, we haven’t got big bank loans or anything. We’ve just done what we can to make it work.”
Going small does come with a price. It limits the amount of beer they can produce, and thus serve and sell in a taproom with a maximum occupancy of twenty people. As a result, the two won’t be quitting their full-time jobs at American Airlines anytime soon. Instead, they will open up the taproom from 4-10 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and then from 12-10 p.m. on Saturdays. They’re brewing small batches in a small town, but they have big plans for Barking Duck.