Co-owners Matt Diiorio and Andy Crumpton provide Hattiesburg with an exceptional selection at The Golden Growler off of Hardy Street. Their logo is designed by Southern Miss students in Rise Creative of the department of art and design. The Golden Growler is a popular place for college students interested in craft beer. – Kelley Joe Brumfield
Walk into a local bar in Hattiesburg, and it is quite possible to see lines and lines of beer on tap, sporting names like Lazy Magnolia, Southern Prohibition and Chandeleur Brewing.
These beers are not the run-of-the-mill domestics; they have been specially crafted in smaller, family-run breweries across South Mississippi and the rest of the state.
According to the brewery’s website, Lazy Magnolia, the state’s oldest package brewery, opened in 2003, permanently changing the way that the South views beer.
Lazy Mag currently offers to over 14 states in the Southeast region and has a strong presence in the Pine Belt, dishing up local favorites like Indian Summer, Jefferson Stout and the Southern Miss-inspired Southern Gold Honey Ale.
“I’m a huge fan of their Timber Beast,” said Brian Goff, a senior psychology major. “I’m partial to rye pale ales and this one is definitely high quality.”
A local Hattiesburg brewery on the rise is Southern Prohibition, founded in April 2013 and growing in popularity.
Emily Curry, sales manager, said SoPro grew out of a local brewpub, The Keg and Barrel. Current SoPro owner Quinby Chunn and his wife moved from Blanco, Texas, in 2008 with the ambition of opening a brewery in Hattiesburg.
“Ben Green, our head brewer, had been working as the brewer for Keg when it was a brewpub,” Curry said. “I came along a few months before we opened to do sales and since then we have added some great folks to our team in achieving great beer in the South.”
SoPro offers four of what they call their “flagship” beer year-round: Suzy B, Jack the Sipper, Devil’s Harvest and Mississippi Fire Ant. There are also several popular seasonals such as Hipster Breakfast and Sinister Minister.
SoPro is currently available throughout the state of Mississippi and in New Orleans, the North Shore and Baton Rouge in Louisiana. The company has also recently expanded availability to the Memphis area.
The brewery, based on Mobile Street in Hattiesburg, has tours every Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. to showcase how the beers are made along with several other perks.
“We aren’t going to tell you our secrets unless you come down to the brewery for a tour,” Curry said. “(It is) $8 for a tour and a souvenir glass (plus) free samples to anyone (over the age of) 21.”
Hattiesburg has had a history of supporting local craft beers since the mid-2000s, fostering the grassroots lobbyist organization Raise Your Pints (RYP).
RYP fought for the passage of Senate Bill 2878, which raised the permissible alcohol content in beer from 5 percent by weight (6.25 percent ABV) to 8 percent by weight (10.1 percent ABV).
This allowed for greater freedom in brewing and encouraged new breweries to crop up across the state, such as Crooked Letter Brewing in Ocean Springs and Yalobusha Brewing in Oxford.
Hattiesburg also was nominated as a craft beer destination in the December 2014 Beer Advocate, a high honor in the craft beer community.
More and more bars and pubs are opening their selections for local craft beers, and The Keg and Barrel continues to host its annual Outlaw Homebrew Competition.
“It is an exciting craft beer community, “ Curry said. “But we have a long way to go to have the people of Hattiesburg and Mississippi to realize the magnitude of this culture growing all around (us).”
Whitney Miracle, brand manager from Southern Prohibition, encourages Mississippians to eat local food and drink local beer by promoting the new organization Drink Mississippi.
“Whether you work in the foodservice industry or just love grabbing a pint of awesome Mississippi made beer, Drink Mississippi is your way of connecting with like-minded folks that are enthused about all the great offerings Mississippi brings to the table in the craft beer market,” she said.
A $30 membership allows for free brewery tours at all of Mississippi’s seven breweries, with more to be added in the coming year.
Participants receive free glassware to bring-to-bottle shares, discounted tickets for Mississippi craft beer festivals, a free year’s subscription to DRAFT magazine and discounts at local bars and restaurants that are Drink Mississippi supporters.
Mississippi is continuing to grow as a craft beer community, and the addition of new breweries, promises to continue bringing the state new and varied beers to sample.
For more information on local craft beers and to support the Drink Mississippi movement, check out their website at www.drinkmississippi.com, which launches on March 6.