Exclusive Interview: A Taste of Grayton Beer Co.
Grayton Beer Company is a blessing for beer enthusiasts in South Walton. We sat down with Jeremy Claeys, Grayton Beer Company’s cellarman, to learn a bit more about the history and hops that make this local beer company so special.
Behind each beer… is a story. In 2006, Jamey Price and his wife Candace moved to South Walton from Nashville. They decided to start their family here and settled in Rosemary Beach. In 2011, Jamey joined forces with a local brewer named Shank to pursue a dream he’d had for the past 15 years — crafting his own beer. For the first few years, the Prices had to outsource their production as they saved and searched for the perfect place to call their own; and on January 1, 2014, they were able to open their very own brewery right here in South Walton.
The brewery… is a place where math, biology, art, and a bit of fun all come together. Full of stainless steel brewing equipment and adorned with local art, you can see that this is a place fueled by passionate staff — who not only celebrate their product, but also celebrate their community. Grayton Beer Company’s 30-barrel brewery is at full capacity; Jeremy says that the company’s main goal over the past year was to simply keep up with the high demand for their craft beers. Right now, Grayton Beer Company distributes all the way from Apalachicola to Pensacola and is expanding into Alabama, Atlanta, and central Tennessee.
The ingredients… are Grayton Beer Company’s secret to success. Typically, the staff will test out a recipe in 10-gallon quantities until deciding whether or not to produce it at a large scale. They source all of their ingredients from around the country — and, in some instances, from around the world — to produce the highest quality beers possible. Using local water, US and German malts, hops from the Pacific Northwest, and US yeast, Grayton Beer Company is able to produce five year-round beers and a handful of seasonal beers that each have a distinct taste. Read more about each beer below!
The Original… is bright, crisp, and refreshing — with a touch of sulfur and fruit. It’s an ale and lager hybrid with a bitter side (thanks to the use of American hops). This is a go-to brew that will please most beer drinkers.
The 1890s Founder’s… is a balanced but full-bodied brew with hints of spice, roasted coffee, and sweet caramel. Named after the year Grayton Beach was founded, this beer has a taste almost as deep and rich as South Walton’s history.
The Pale Ale… is hoppy and bright with fruity undertones and a dry finish. Its citrusy bitter flavor is a result of its traditional pale ale recipe, which includes American Cascade hops.
The White Dunes… is light and mild with a hint of coriander and orange. This beer follows a traditional Belgian recipe and is one of Jeremy’s personal favorites. It’s named after South Walton’s rare coastal dune lakes.
The 30A Beach Blonde… “is a great beer for people new to drinking craft beers,” says Jeremy. “Anyone can try this beer and enjoy it.” Which seems to be true, given that this beer is the company’s bestseller. Light-bodied with plenty of flavor, the Beach Blonde has hints of sweet malt and tangy citrus.
A vision… shared by the staff at Grayton Beer Company: to support South Walton and be a responsible, passionate company. “We want to create business around our company and provide jobs for local people,” says Jeremy. “And we want to become a name in the Southeast for craft beer.”
Stop by the Grayton Beer Company taproom, Thursday-Saturday from 4-7 p.m., to have a taste yourself.