April is NC Beer Month, an annual celebration of the more than 300 breweries and brewpubs across the state. Collectively they have a $2 billion economic impact and create over 12,000 jobs.

Moore County is home to three and soon-to-be four microbreweries where local flavors intertwine with time-honored traditions.

For the local beer scene, springtime arrives in the guise of fruit-infused brews. From the tart flavors of cherries and blueberries to the citrus tang of grapefruit and pineapple, there is a flavorful awakening happening in the area’s craft brewing tanks.

Railhouse Brewery's Nicole Meyer with a glass of Madame Cerise, a cherry pastry sour limited release.
Railhouse Brewery’s Nicole Meyer with a glass of Madame Cerise, a cherry pastry sour limited release.

Railhouse Brewery

“This year we are doing something new. We have always distributed seasonal beers, but this year we’ll also be doing some limited release beers,” said Nicole Meyer, manager at Railhouse Brewery.

Founded in December 2010 by military veterans Brian Evitts and Mike Ratkowski, Railhouse was the area’s first microbrewery. Joined now by co-owners Scott Birdsell, Mark Perry and Jeremy Reynolds, they produce around 250 barrels a month.

Their first limited release is a cherry pastry sour called Madame Cerise.

Meyer describes it as a “big fruity beer with a touch of tartness.”

It is not so dissimilar from Community Blues, she said, which was a collaborative effort between Railhouse, Southern Pines Brewing Co. and Pinehurst Brewery — and inspired by Granny’s Donuts. That beer had the characteristics of a blueberry doughnut, Meyer explained, while the Madame Cerise has a cherry pie flavor profile.

Jason Ginos (l) and Micah Niebauer of Southern Pines Brewing with Angel Martinez.
Jason Ginos (l) and Micah Niebauer of Southern Pines Brewing with Angel Martinez.

Southern Pines Brewing

A few miles up U.S. 1 at Southern Pines Brewing, the spring seasonal Hefeweizen has proved so popular it’ll soon be a year-round offering.

“We ferment it with grapefruit puree and it has all the wonderful citrus characteristics in a German-style beer,” said co-founder and CEO Micah Niebauer.

Together with fellow veterans Jason Ginos and John Brumer, who had served with him in the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, the trio opened doors at Southern Pines Brewing in August 2014.

Last summer they partnered with Tryon Distributing for statewide distribution and have ramped up their production to 500 barrels a month.

“Things are going well and we are definitely busy,” he added. “We have our distribution, our products and our timing all working out.”

In particular, Niebauer said it’s been surprising to see how different beers have trended in the different markets they’re now reaching.

“The Hefeweizen is already selling more than Duck Hook and Malty by Nature combined across the rest of the state,” he said. “It’s doing so well we decided to keep it as a core beer.”

Coming later this month Southern Pines Brewing will issue a new limited release — a not-yet named rum barrel-aged imperial pineapple thief.

“It tastes like a pina colada. You close your eyes and you’re on the beach,” Niebauer said. “It is incredible how it turned out.”

The outdoor patio at Pinehurst Brewing Co., equipped with its own facilities, can serve as a private events space.
The outdoor patio at Pinehurst Brewing Co., equipped with its own facilities, can serve as a private events space.

Pinehurst Brewing

The newest kid on the beer block is Pinehurst Brewing, which opened last fall. Pinehurst Resort had long eyed the former power plant building near the village center as an ideal location for a brewpub. Following a massive restoration effort, the new brewpub has been a smashing success.

Brewmaster Eric Mitchell said he hasn’t seen a slow day yet.

“We’re a little busier than anticipated. I’ve been trying to play catch up since Day One,” he said. “It’s not just beer-wise but staffing up and trying to add kitchen space, cooler space. Everything was smaller than we needed.”

Unlike Railhouse and Southern Pines Brewing which both distribute their beer by bottle, can or keg to bars, restaurants and grocery stores, Pinehurst Brewing is almost entirely consumed on-site by the pint.

The Pivot, a hazy New England style IPA is Pinehurst’s most popular brew. But Mitchell said he’s always looking for new ideas from his customers.

“We have added roughly 60 percent more fermentation capacity since we opened,” Mitchell said. “We had anticipated we would add a few new tanks but we didn’t know it would be so soon.”

“We’re close to maxing out,” he said.

Written by Laura Douglass, Staff Writer, The Pilot
Photography by Ted Fitzgerald, The Pilot
This article was reprinted with permission by The Pilot.

Field will include 55 exempt players; Sectional Qualifying begins April 17

The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced that 11 U.S. Women’s Open champions, including defending U.S. Senior Women’s Open Champion Laura Davies, are among the 55 players who are fully exempt into the 2nd U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship, scheduled for May 16-19, 2019 at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C.

For a list of the 55 golfers who are fully exempt into the 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open (as of April 10) please visit www.usga.org.

“After a historic introduction of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open last year at Chicago Golf Club we are thrilled to continue to build the tradition of the championship at Pine Needles,” said John Bodenhamer, senior managing director of championships. “We’re excited to see the faces of those who participated in the 1996, 2001 and 2007 U.S. Women’s Open Championships return to compete for another title at such a famed golf course, as well as those who will tee it up there for the first time.”

The U.S. Senior Women’s Open is open to professional and amateur golfers who are 50 years of age on or before May 16 and whose Handicap Index® does not exceed 7.4. Sectional qualifying will be played over 18 holes at 17 sites across the United States between April 17-30. There are qualifying sites in 16 states, including two in New Jersey.

Online entries were accepted for the championship, beginning Feb. 20. The first overall entrant was Jane Noble, of Fountain Hills, Ariz. Her application was received at 9:07 a.m. EDT and she will play in the sectional qualifier at Briarwood Country Club, in Sun West City, Ariz. Lorie Kane, who has won four times on the LPGA Tour, was the first exempt player to apply to play. She also participated in the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship.

Launa Crites, of San Antonio, Texas, submitted her entry less than 14 minutes before the deadline of 5 p.m. EDT on April 10 and was the championship’s last entrant.

Three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy (1977, 1978 and 1984) and 10 other champions are fully exempt from having to qualify for the championship. They are: Amy Alcott (1980), Jerilyn Britz (1979), JoAnne Gunderson Carner (1971, 1976), Laura Davies (1987), Jane Geddes (1986), Juli Inkster (1999, 2002), Betsy King (1989, 1990), Liselotte Neumann (1988), Alison Nicholas (1997) and Jan Stephenson (1983). Of those who are exempt, 53 played in last year’s inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship at Chicago Golf Club.

The 2nd U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship will be the sixth USGA championship conducted at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club. Pine Needles is the first golf resort to be awarded four U.S. Women’s Open Championships. Its first U.S. Women’s Open Championship was held in 1996, when Annika Sorenstam took home the trophy. Karrie Webb won the 2001 championship at Pine Needles, and Cristie Kerr claimed the 2007 title at the resort. In addition to hosting the 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship, Pine Needles will also be the home of the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open Championship.

Four exempt players participated in the 1996, 2001 and 2007 U.S. Women’s Open Championships at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club: Laura Davies, Wendy Doolan, Liselotte Neumann and Michele Redman.

The 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be the 30th USGA championship contested in North Carolina and the state’s first USGA championship since the 2014 Women’s Open, which was won by Michelle Wie at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2.

The USGA announced the establishment of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open on Feb. 6, 2015. During the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship at historic Chicago Golf Club, World Golf Hall of Famer Dame Laura Davies, of England, rolled to a 10-stroke victory over Juli Inkster. For more information about the U.S. Senior Women’s Open visit usseniorwomensopen.com.

U.S. Amateur’s 36-Hole Final to be Contested on Two Courses for the First Time

History will be made this summer when Pinehurst Resort & Country Club hosts the 36-hole match-play final of the 119th U.S. Amateur Championship on two courses.

When the 2019 championship begins on Monday, Aug. 12, Pinehurst’s Course No. 2 and Course No. 4 will host the stroke-play rounds, which will be played over two days and 36 holes to trim the field from 312 players to 64 for match play. The first five rounds of match play – through the semifinals – will be played on Course No. 2 on Aug. 14-17.

The championship match, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 18, will open with the morning round on No. 4, which was recently redesigned by Gil Hanse. The afternoon round will be played on Course No. 2, a classic Donald Ross design that was restored by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw in 2011. It will be the first time the 36-hole U.S. Amateur Championship final is contested over two courses.

It will also mark the second groundbreaking collaboration between the USGA and Pinehurst in five years. In 2014, Pinehurst hosted the U.S. Open (won by Martin Kaymer) and U.S. Women’s Open (won by Michelle Wie) in consecutive weeks on Course No. 2 – the only time the same course hosted those two championships in back-to-back weeks. The 2019 U.S. Amateur will be the 10th USGA championship contested at the resort.

“We are so pleased that competitors will have the opportunity to play the 2019 U.S. Amateur on No. 2, one of the most revered tests in the game, and No. 4, which will present players with a new set of challenges,” says John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director, Championships. “Pinehurst is one of the world’s leading championship venues and we are very excited to watch the entire event unfold over these two wonderful courses.”

Pinehurst No. 2 first hosted the U.S. Amateur in 1962, when Labron Harris claimed the trophy over Downing Gray, 1 up. The resort’s Course No. 2 most recently hosted the championship in 2008, when Danny Lee of New Zealand earned the title with a 5-and-4 victory over Drew Kittleson. Many of the game’s greatest players have claimed the Havemeyer Trophy in the 118-year history of the championship, including Bob Jones, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

“The U.S. Amateur embodies the spirit and sportsmanship of the game, and we’re honored to host this prestigious championship for the third time,” says Tom Pashley, president of Pinehurst Resort, which will also host its fourth U.S. Open in 2024. “These two courses complement each other aesthetically and strategically, and it will be fun to see how the players react and approach both courses on the day they vie for a national championship.”

The Carolinas will serve as the epicenter of USGA championships in 2019, with four events scheduled between the Tar Heel and Palmetto states. The U.S. Senior Women’s Open kicks off the competition at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C. (May 16-19), followed by the U.S. Women’s Open at the Country Club of Charleston (S.C.) (May 30-June 2), the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst (Aug. 12-18) and the U.S. Senior Amateur at Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, N.C. (Aug. 24-29).

Tickets, including U.S. Senior Women’s Open/U.S. Amateur combination offers, are available at the USGA website.