craft beer,  Mississippi

A pint at Lucky Town Brewing in Jackson, Miss.

At the end of June, my wife and I made a road trip from our home in Alabama to visit her parents in Tulsa, Okla.  Driving straight through would take about nine hours excluding stops, so we decided to extend the trip with a few stops along the way.  My wife suggested we stop for a Mississippi Braves game so we could pick up a Dansby Swanson bobblehead (see it here).  Additionally, it meant we got to explore our first Mississippi brewery together: Lucky Town Brewing Company.

On the day we arrived, we were limited in what we could do at the brewery because Mississippi law prevented people from directly buying a beer at a brewery.  Instead people had to purchase a tour of the brewery, and could receive up to six complimentary six-ounce pours of beer.  So instead of bellying up to the bar and ordering a flight or getting a pint, we each purchased a tour.

Although we each purchased a tour, the day we arrived at the brewery wasn’t any June day.  It was June 30, which meant the staff at the brewery were preparing for a “grand opening” event at midnight July 1 to celebrate the change in state law that would allow breweries in the state to sell beer directly to customers.  It wasn’t easy to find the brewery because it occupies a nondescript building across from the railroad tracks.

Exterior of Lucky Town Brewing at the intersection of North Mill and Livingston streets.

While nothing on the building denotes that it is home to a brewery there is some amazing street art on the side.

A closeup of the street art on the side of the building housing Lucky Town Brewing.

There is a small parking lot immediately behind the brewery that can hold approximately a dozen vehicles.  Like any brewery, you see kettles, mash tanks, fermentation tanks, canning line, and more.  Most notably the sense of humor present on the outside of the building continues inside.

By the entrance is a large stage for performances, which hosted a variety of bands to celebrate Mississippi’s new law that went into effect on July 1.  Additionally, the brewery installed a new bar with 30 taps to take advantage of the state’s newly revised beer laws.  According to brewmaster Lucas Simmons the goal is to have a variety of small batch beers and ciders available on draft at the brewery in addition to their year-round staples like Ballistic Blonde, Flare Incident, Gose Gamblin’, and Hop Fiasco IPA.

Speaking of beers, I tried each of the six the brewery had on draft for people who purchased tours that day.  If you visit the brewery now your options will be different because they are no longer restricted to offering samples and you can simply choose to order whatever beers you want.  However, I sampled Hop Fiasco IPA (a West Coast IPA), Upper End of Social (a East Coast IPA), Gose Gamblin’ (a sour German beer), Ballistic Blonde (a Belgian blonde), Pub Ale (an English mild ale), and Flare Incident (an oatmeal stout).  I’m not a beer drinker who enjoys hoppy IPAs, but Hop Fiasco is a very solid representation of the style.  My favorite beer was Gose Gamblin’ partially because I enjoy crisp, sour beers during the summer, and it was especially humid that day.  It is a bit heavier on the salt compared to some other goses I have drank, but it is a great choice.  Per Randy that day, the Pub Ale is their biggest seller (referencing sales throughout the state and elsewhere), which surprised me because English milds are not popular style in the U.S.  For people wanting to explore craft beer, but are used to drinking the big-brand macrobrews, the best choice is the Ballistic Blonde.  It is light, refreshing and not overly bitter.

But back to the space at the brewery.

By far the coolest (and perhaps most important) feature at the brewery is a chalk-wall thank you note to all the people who donated to the company’s Kickstarter campaign (see the page here).

A wall thanking all the people who donated to the brewery’s Kickstarter campaign.

Speaking of community, there is no doubt that the craft beer drinking community in Jackson supports Lucky Town.  My wife and I did not get to visit at midnight when the brewery kicked off its celebration of the law change, but I was fortunate enough to get a photo from the brewery showing how many people came out for the event.

Crowd gathered for the midnight grand opening of the brewery on July 1 to celebrate direct sales in Mississippi. (Photo courtesy of Lucky Town Brewing Company).

As someone who lives in Alabama, I know that the South is not known as a craft beer hot spot.  However, things are changing across the region.  Despite being the last state to legalize home brewing, Mississippi was not the last state to allow breweries to sell direct to consumers (that distinction belongs to Georgia, whose law goes into effect on September 1, 2017).  So next time you visit Jackson be sure to visit Lucky Town Brewing where you’ll find some very approachable craft beer.  Or if you’re a craft beer aficionado, you can check out their verified menu on Untappd to see what they are pouring and perhaps expand your horizons with a well-made Mississippi craft beer.