Having a pint with Eric Knight of Steel String | Having A Pint With | Indy Week
Pin It

Having a pint with Eric Knight of Steel String 

It's good to be the czar ... Eric Knight, Steel String Brewery's "Hoopla Czar"

Photo by Justin Cook

It's good to be the czar ... Eric Knight, Steel String Brewery's "Hoopla Czar"

Craft beer years are like dog years. one year can feel much longer than in some other businesses. This month, Carrboro's Steel String brewing celebrates its second anniversary. But, 27-year-old soft-spoken and bespectacled Eric Knight explains that for him and his partners, it really feels like four years because it took an additional two years to set up business operations for the brewery.

His partners are Will Isley (Brew Czar) and Andrew Scharfenberg (Logistics Czar). The title for Knight, a self-described his jack-of-all-trades, is Hoopla Czar. He's the one booking events, handling marketing and sometimes even bottling beer.

Almost two years into it, Knight is still shocked about the brewery's success. "Our first year anniversary made it feel real," he says as he sips, saison, a style traditionally made for farm workers. With peppery notes, this beer is usually brewed in the winter for mass consumption in the summer.

"Now we are adjusting to growth and looking to service more accounts," says Knight. He pauses, then adds, "Which means making more beer."

As Steel String ramps up to make more beer, they have begun focusing on bottling.

The bottles' label art, by Charles Sheppa, says Knight, is a reflection of the brewery's quirky, free-spirited disposition, says Knight, with the beers inspired by the music they find inspiring. That's one reason you'll find a bounty of local music on the brewery's events calendar.

Big Mon, Steel String Craft Brewery's offering in IPA category, is the company's flagship beer but it is also known for its saison (Little Sadie Farmhouse Ale which has appeared in this column before), as well as an array of collaborations with folks such as Raleigh's Trophy Brewing and Carrboro's Starpoint Brewing.

"I don't know of a more collaborative-friendly environment," Knight says about the area brewing scene and its young brewers. "First and foremost, we all care about making really good beer." It is a camaraderie he believes is born from the homebrew culture so many of them came from. He is still hoping to make a coffee pecan porter that was a favorite from his homebrewing days. "But pecans are expensive," he says.

This past weekend's Cardinal Directions Beerfest was inspired by the Homebrew for Hunger event held by their neighbors at Fifth Season Gardening Co. last year.

"We've been going to similar events as brewers and wanted to throw a brewer-centric event," Knight says. "But we wanted it to be accessible with a low-entry cost."

The event was themed around saisons with breweries from around the state attending: Twin Leaf (Asheville), Burial (Asheville), Pisgah (Black Mountain), Fonta Flora (Morganton), Haw River Farmhouse Ales (Saxapahaw), Mystery (Hillsborough), Ponysaurus (Durham), Crank Arm (Raleigh), Starpoint (Carrboro), Double Barley (Smithfield), TOPO (Chapel Hill).

What does the future hold for Steel String?

Knight sees the brewery expanding in the next five years. He also predicts the bottling line will grow and that there will be a constant stable of six-to-eight beers on tap in a more weather-friendly taproom. A few years back, Knight couldn't have predicted where they'd be today—but he can dream.

Greg Barbera is a freelance writer living in Chapel Hill. He contributed to the second edition pressing of 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die.

  • This month, Carrboro's Steel String brewing celebrates its second anniversary.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Having A Pint With



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

I wonder if you are the same Brad Wynn I knew in south central PA in 70s. If so, you …

by CHGhost on After 20 years, Brad Wynn of Big Boss still looks ahead (Having A Pint With)

Awesome! Good to hear things are going well for ya. ❤ Kerrie

by kberrie on Talking bar music and brews with the seemingly ubiquitous Ben Fletcher (Having A Pint With)

I love Big Boss and Brad Wynn is one of the most fun guys I've ever had the pleasure of …

by Phill Hunt on After 20 years, Brad Wynn of Big Boss still looks ahead (Having A Pint With)

I love Big Boss, including the tasting room. There's only one thing I don't like, which interestingly is captured in …

by WowNoWay on After 20 years, Brad Wynn of Big Boss still looks ahead (Having A Pint With)

"Every guy secretly listens to The Smiths."

Love it!

Always happy to see Ben behind the bar. …

by BullCityBrian on Talking bar music and brews with the seemingly ubiquitous Ben Fletcher (Having A Pint With)

Comments

Everything very unprofessional. They just want to charge you an "revolutionary fee" with all the service making pressure on you. …

by feullies on Blue Note Grill (Durham County)

Simply the best caribbean food in town!

by prince on Golden Krust Caribbean Grill & Bakery (Durham County)

Most Read

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation