By Alicia Stemper/Vitamin O
Mystery Brewing Company founder Erik Lars Myers has an academic background in theatre. “The thing that always appealed to me about directing is that it often felt like you get to play every part, because in a lot of ways you have to think about each little part of the entire whole and make sure that you have at least awareness or knowledge of them even if you are not actually doing them yourself.” About the 26 person company he founded in 2012, Myers says, “My job is to keep everything on the rails.”
Myers named the company after the original meaning of the word “mystery,” which is “the art or craft of a trade.” Certainly brewing involves science, engineering, and microbiology. But as Myers points out, “At the end of the day, to craft a recipe you have to take a really abstract view of a really wide set of ingredients with a lot of variables and be able to put these things together to create the beverage that you are looking for. And then you have to be able to do it consistently over and over again to create a product.”
The brewery names its beers with literary, historical, or cultural references. Labels for the cans start out as oil or watercolor paintings. Says Myers, “We really like working with local artists to tell the story of what our beer names are….all the cans that we’ve had are original pieces of artwork.”
Myers, who is “…not much of a favorites guy,” finds his personal beer tastes change based on any number of variables, including the weather, what he is eating, and his mood. “The beers that I like most are the ones that are the most simple in characteristic. I like them when they’re well-made, really clean, simple beers because it shows a lot in terms of process and how good you are at what you’re doing.”
In addition to brewing an average of 1,000 barrels of beer per year (31,000 gallons), Mystery runs a public house featuring both beer and seasonal food prepared with local ingredients. Additionally, Mystery is working to open a black box theatre in part of their space; they have already hosted plays, concerts and private events. Tours of the brewery are offered every Saturday at 3 pm at the Dimmocks Mill Road facility in Hillsborough.