Best Brewery: Double Barley Brewing
By Corey Davis
Friday, December 8, 2017
After years of homebrewing in the family garage, Larry Lane convinced his wife, Cheryl, to join the cause.
What happened after that was the formation in 2013 of a craft brewery called Double Barley Brewing in Smithfield, featuring a taproom, a beer garden and weekly tours at a renovated facility at 3174 US-70 in Johnston County.
“We wrote the business plan, raised money, and found our ideal location,” Cheryl Lane said. “We have an 11,000-square-foot facility with a 20-barrel brewhouse.”
The brewery’s sustained success over the past five years has resulted in Double Barley Brewing being named winner of Carolina Brew Scene’s Best Brewery category, as selected by readers of the magazine.
“We are a family- and friend-owned and operated brewery with deep roots in Eastern North Carolina,” Cheryl Lane said. “Both of us are born, bred and brewed in Eastern North Carolina. That’s why it means so much to us to receive this distinction. We pride ourselves with our Southern hospitality.”
After receiving a home brew kit for his 40th birthday, Cheryl Lane said, her husband of 24 years began brewing as what she described as a “mad scientist.”
“He created all kinds of recipes,” she said. “That was the beginning, and our garage was the brewery and bar, the dining room was the fermentation area and the office was our cellar. It truly took over our life.”
Double Barley Brewing prides itself in the consistency and quality of its beers. The brewery uses quality ingredients as found in Double Barley’s variety of craft beers, including the whole Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla beans, pumpkin puree from Burch Farms in Faison, cold brewed coffee concentrate from Full Bloom Roasters and even aging in beers like Trey Herring’s Carolina Bourbon barrels and Biltmore Wine barrels.
While Double Barley focuses on four or five core beers, the craft brewery isn’t afraid of experimenting. Double Barley recently brewed its first collection of beer with Southern Pines Brewing called 95 South, which is a 9.5 percent alcohol by volume New England style IPA that was heavily hopped during late stages of fermentation and dry hopped.
Cheryl Lane estimated Double Barley will finish this year with around 3,000 barrels, and targeting 4,500 barrels for 2018. The craft brewery recently moved its core beers and fall seasonal, Gourd Rocker, into 12 ounce bottles and plans on moving most of its other seasonal and special releases into the same format.
The craft brewery has confidence that Eastern North Carolina has a great untapped market of craft beer drinkers waiting to be converted with the right beer.
“The key is keeping quality high, while providing an amazing variety of styles, flavors and ingredients,” Lane said. “We were fortunate to have our third beer dinner with The Chef & The Farmer in Kinston recently and the positive reception to craft beer and the pairing with amazing food is always a good sign.”