The Brewlog: Regulator Brewing Company Blog

News, etc. from Regulator Brewing Company. Updated sporadically.

Posts marked ‘Author: Dustin Williams

What’s Making Us Happy to Brew in NC, Part 3: Kegs and Hops and Yeast! Oh My!

In our previous post, we talked about how lucky NC breweries are to get great raw ingredients from local agribusinesses (shout out to Farm Boy Farms in Pittsboro for fresh hops).  Did you know that NC breweries can also source just about everything else they need from local companies? One of our main goals as a small business is “keeping our beer dollars in North Carolina” (thanks, Glenn and Dave!). We do that by working with local suppliers as often as possible–and this week, we want to spotlight two more NC businesses that are pivotal in closing our supply chain loop:

Deutsche Beverage Company

Deutsche Beverage is a boozeness in Charlotte, NC. Since 2007 they’ve helped breweries, wineries, and distilleries across the country quench your thirst. While their brew systems are too big for our operation, their INK Kegs are perfect; they’re made out of high-quality 304 stainless steel to help fight off flavors, and they’re stackable (great for a brewery that’s tight on space!). Not only is the product great, the customer service is even better–they’re always ready to fill an order and they usually have it to us the very next day. Next time you’re touring the breweries in South Charlotte, take a second to duck into their showroom and drool over all the beautiful stainless (surely that isn’t just a brewer thing, right?)

Bull City Homebrew

What do you do when you need supplies, but you’re too small for most suppliers’ minimums? You turn to the homebrew shop that’s been there for you from the beginning! We’ve been visiting Kyle and his Bull City Homebrew team from our very first homebrew sessions and we’re thrilled to keep working with them now that we’re a brewery. They’re always doing their best to keep us in hops and yeast, along with all the other tiny parts we need on a given brewday. This is a great relationship for us–we get to keep supporting one of our favorite local businesses, and get access to hops we wouldn’t be able to order on our own. If you’re a homebrewer or thinking about homebrewing, make the trip over to Bull City. You won’t be disappointed.

These are just a couple of the local suppliers we couldn’t bring you delicious Regulator brews without; we also lean on the homebrew shop at  Fifth Season Gardening in Carrboro and get our CO2 from the fine people at ARC3 Gases in Durham.

Beer for the People: Kickstarter Rye Pale Ale

pollIt’s one of the challenges of launching a Kickstarter campaign in support of a new brewery: federal guidelines prohibit offering beer as a reward for donation. So, we thought: if we can’t give our backers beer brewed with local ingredients–the thing they’re supporting us to make–how about letting them design a beer?

We put together a poll (right) that would collect data on the characteristics of our backers’ favorite beer–color, hops, flavor, and finish. Then we waited for the results, hoping that the favorites would suggest an awesome beer.

Without further ado, here are the (highly scientific!) results:*



Bravo, backers! We’ll admit we were a little surprised; we were pretty sure we’d be brewing an IPA. Instead, you wanted an easy-drinking pale ale, with a little extra bite–which is awesome, because that’s our favorite, too.

When it came time to flesh out the recipe, we decided this was an opportunity to make our most local beer yet:  NC rye malted by Farm Boy Farms in Pittsboro would help give us the requested kick, along with Farm Boy barley for clean body. We’re really proud to say that 100% of the grains used in this beer were grown and malted here in North Carolina.

In a serendipitous twist, the folks at Weaver Street asked if we had any interest in picking some hops off of a vine on their property. The vine–we’re pretty sure it’s Cascade–went bonkers this year.


We picked all we could, and threw most of them into the boil with some non-NC Warrior hops. The rest we saved for dry-hopping (along with a couple of handfuls from a friend’s Hillsborough garden). We’re really proud of the end result, and hope our backers are too: ”Kickstarter Rye Pale Ale”–a really solid pale ale with just a hint of rye spice and a nice, smooth hop finish–will be on tap at the Wooden Nickel Pub and Mystery Brewing Company’s Public House in the next couple of weeks. Get some while you can!

*We could sit here all day weighing the advantages and disadvantages of various measures of central tendency–no really, we could. We did. Suffice it to say, we went with “mode.”

It’s Electric!

One of the first questions we asked when dreaming up Regulator was, “Is there any equipment that will allow us to produce beer of the highest quality in a small package?”

After hours of research we finally found a setup we were happy with, The Electric Brewery. The Electric Brewery is designed by a mad genius named Kal and is perfect for us. Not only is the system meant for small brewhouses, but it also allows brewers the same amount of control as the nicest large brewery setup.

The Brains

The heart of the The Electric Brewery is a custom control panel that operates a series of pumps and the electric heating element, allowing brewers precision temperature control throughout all steps of the process. This precise control will allow us to effectively and consistently manage our brew sessions to ensure quality product each and every time.  Replicating recipes will be easier, so each bottle of Regulator beer will be as great as the previous one.

After selecting the system, we decided to see this beast in the wild. So we piled in the car and headed on a brewsness trip to Crooked Run Brewing and Bad Wolf Brewing in the suburbs of DC. After checking out the system in action, talking with the brewers about their experience with it and tasting the delicious results (going pro isn’t all hard work), we were sold. We just needed to figure out how to outfit the rest of the brewhouse.

The Boil

We opted to use Blichmann kettles for our Hot Liquor Tank, Mash Tun, and Boil Kettle. These are exceptional kettles that we have drooled over for years as homebrewers. Like The Electric Brewery these kettles mimic the gear found in the large-scale, craft breweries.


After the boil, we’ll pump our wort into 42-gallon Blichmann Fermenators for fermentation. What really sets the Blichmann tanks apart is their weldless interior. The absence of welds makes it easier to ensure the fermentor is 100 percent clean – there’s no place for bacteria to hide.  Cleaner fermentors lead to better quality beer.

Sabco SankeyCarbonation

We’ll finally transfer the newly minted beer to Sabco Sankey Select Kegs (right) for their last stop before your fridge.  Those just arrived yesterday!

From start-to-finish, we have first-class equipment and no excuse not to make excellent beer. We feel really fortunate to be implementing a high quality system that fits our needs as a business.  Thank you to everyone who made it possible – we can’t wait to share the results.


The folks behind Regulator Brewing, L to R: Stephanie, Dustin, Ryan, and Anna.

The folks behind Regulator Brewing, L to R: Stephanie, Dustin, Ryan, and Anna.

After months of planning and working we’re finally a real business — an honest-to-goodness, official North Carolina LLC as of last Thursday. Now that things are more legit, we’re going to start a semi-regular blog to keep everyone up-to-date on all things Regulator as we move towards opening in 2015.

To start things off, we thought we’d introduce ourselves Q&A-style:

Where ya from?

Anna: Bull City!

Stephanie: Greenville, South Carolina

Ryan: Bahama, North Carolina

Dustin: Born and raised all over South Carolina, but, I think I speak for all of us, I’m now from Hillsborough, NC.

One thing you love about Hboro.

A: The sense of community – from Last Fridays and Ladies Night, to the brand new Riverwalk and people hanging out at Weaver Street or Cup-a-Joe.  Most salient for us at the moment is how supportive folks are of new businesses in town – we want to do Hillsborough proud!

D: I can’t put my finger on one thing, it’s just a special community. I haven’t met anyone who has come out to Hillsborough and not had a great time. There is just so much to do  (tried to list them all and there are too many for a blog post) and so many great people to meet.

S: Haha–we joke that our families don’t come visit to see us, they come to hang out in Hillsborough. That’s a tough question–I love that I recognize people everywhere I go. I love that there’s always something new happening but the community stays the same.

R: I love Hillsborough’s unique history – it is awesome to live in a community with such a connection to the Occaneechi Native American tribe and the American Revolution.

How did you meet?

D: The March 2012 Nash Street Homebrew Club meeting at Mystery Brewing. Ryan, Steph, myself, and Brian James (our old brew partner who sadly moved away) ended up talking throughout the meeting and really hitting it off. Anna joined us at the April meeting; we scheduled our first brew day (a double IPA and Hefeweizen) and we’ve been brewing together ever since.

How did you get into brewing beer?

A: Ryan needed somebody to stir the pot.  That was way back when we brewed on the stove-top in the kitchen, so preventing boil overs was high priority.

D: I had been thinking about homebrewing for a while–good beer wasn’t really in my grad school budget–and my friend Andrew asked if I would like to brew with him. We made one of those little Mr. Beer kits together. The results were surprisingly drinkable and things escalated from there.

S: My first brew job was “siphon-sitter.” A rogue siphon tube fills a small apartment with beer shockingly fast.

D: We’re terrible at siphoning (3 cheers for the auto-siphon). If we ever run out of gas, we’re in trouble.

R: My cousin introduced me to homebrewing as he had attempted several batches while we attended college together at Virginia Tech.  After college, when I started to truly discover craft beer, I asked him to come visit and show me the ropes.  Like Dustin, a primary motivation was to satisfy my constant thirst for craft beer without breaking the bank.

What style was your first batch of homebrew?

A&R: Winter ale made with orange peel and spices like clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  It definitely had its fair share of off flavors, but was certainly drinkable.

D: First real brew after the Mr. Beer kit was a ridiculously strong stout type thing (12%). It tasted awful and would not carbonate unless you let it warm up to ~55 F. It was not a good beer.

S: …it was possibly a bit hallucinogenic. I’d like to point out that we drank it anyway. All of it.

Favorite beer style(s)?

A: Wheat beers, Saison, Kolsch

D: It really depends on the day for me. Today it was 77, overcast, breezy, and I’m exhausted. I’ll go with a not too bitter Red IPA, hopped with a nice fruity hop like Mosaic (Ryan’s Mosiac IPA would definitely do the trick) or Amarillo.

S: Low gravity British-style brews with lots of roasty, toasty, caramel flavors. Dustin made a peat-smoked English brown ale that I have dreams about. I also couldn’t get enough of Abita’s Grapefruit IPA this summer.

R: Originally, my favorite style was brown ale.  I still love a good brown ale, but I absolutely cannot get enough of American IPAs (just ask Anna).  Hop-bursted IPAs that utilize tropical varieties are some of my favorites right now.

A: It’s true.  IPAs all the time.

Favorite beer/food pairing?

A: Enchiladas/beer (Wine doesn’t pair well with Mexican food)

D: Right now, Gose and Watermelon. Perfect summer combo.

S: Heading into Fall, stout and ice cream–the folks at La Place let us do that with Olde Hickory’s Event Horizon a couple of weeks ago, and it was amazing. Also, a big fan of Regulator Pepper Ale and Pizza. Mmm.

R: Wooden Nickel hot wings and a dry, west-coast style IPA.

A: Dude. People went all specific.

Hobbies unrelated to beer (haha)?

A: Sewing, wine (drinking it), keeping the puppy dogs happy, reading, piano

D: Basketball, running, dog walking, reading, and whiskey drinking.

S: Painting/drawing, reading, baked goods (eating them), single-malt scotch.

R: Tennis, college football, cooking for friends & family, video games


That’s all for the first installment of the Brewlog!  We’d love to know more about you–introduce yourself to us on social media (@regulatorbeer and, or look for us around Hillsborough. We’re always up for a beer.

Stay tuned for post #2–a little more about Regulator Brewing Company.

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