Botanist & Barrel

Venture Out

In Eat, November 2019by Lauren Kruchten

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A Modern Approach

Hawthorne and Wood Chef-Owner Brandon Sharp
Hawthorne and Wood Chef-Owner Brandon Sharp, Gray Burton

At Hawthorne & Wood in Chapel Hill, chef-owner Brandon Sharp’s new American menu incorporates dishes touched by flavors from all over the world, with influences from Southeast Asia, Tuscany, Great Britain and the American Southwest. But the chef’s origins are humble: Sharp’s first stint in the kitchen came at age 18, at Chi-Chi’s Mexican Restaurant in Greensboro, where he grew up. Sharp was working as a busboy and was asked to fry chips in the kitchen one day; he hasn’t looked back since, he says. 

After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill and The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York—and following years of cooking in kitchens across the country—Sharp launched his exquisitely crafted menu at Hawthorne & Wood in April. The diverse dishes change often, sometimes daily; past dinner items included duck confit lettuce wraps with cucumber-radish chowchow, black garlic hoisin and peanuts; seared slow-cooked pork shoulder with Tuscan melon, Thai basil, serrano peppers and tamarind sauce; and wild-caught redfish with coconut-lemongrass broth, scallion oil, Chinese broccoli and jasmine rice—all of which are largely comprised of locally sourced ingredients. “We’re taking the best ingredients we can find from the closest [purveyors] we can find and treating them the way that we think they ought to be treated,” Sharp says. He has has cooked in kitchens in New Orleans, New York City and California, where he earned seven consecutive Michelin stars as the executive chef of Solbar in Napa Valley. 

Ryan Monroe

Hawthorne & Wood, located in a small shopping center off of Raleigh Road, features a lounge that serves bar snacks, a private room for large parties and an alluring gray-and-teal bar with an impressive craft cocktail list and bartenders Sharp describes as being “amazingly cutting-edge;” the best he’s seen in America and beyond. hawthorneandwood.com


Burying the Hatchet

Hatchett Brewing
Hatchett Brewing

They both served in the U.S. Military, have a knack for homebrewing and have a passion for their community; now, they’re bringing a new microbrewery, Hatchet Brewing Company, to an abandoned office building this month in Southern Pines. Hatchet Brewing co-founders Greg Walker and Mike Carey met as neighbors when they were both stationed at Fort Bragg—Walker as a Captain and Green Beret in the 3rd Special Forces Group and Carey as a Senior Operations Sergeant Major for the 82nd Airborne Division and Sergeant Major. The pair soon realized they shared a homebrewing hobby, and, after leaving the military, decided to turn that hobby into a business. 

Moore County-based architecture firm Pinnacle Development Design Build renovated an abandoned Berkshire Hathaway office on the corner of SW Broad Street and West Illinois Avenue in Southern Pines. The new space features a bright, inviting taproom with roll-up garage doors, exposed beams and a spacious wraparound patio. Hatchet will feature a dozen rotating house taps, as well as one or two guest taps, with an emphasis on American craft beers and German and Belgian influences. 

The brewery will also offer cider, wine and its own line of kombucha teas. “We solely wanted to focus on the small-town community feel, which is why we chose Southern Pines,” Carey says. “Our brewery is based on friendship and community through craft beer. We want to be a brewery where everyone feels welcome, no matter what your background is.” Hatchet’s grand opening takes place November 2. hatchetbrewing.com


An Apple Cider A Day…

Botanist & Barrel
Botanist & Barrel

Botanist and Barrel’s Farmhouse Cider Seriously Dry is the first-in-the-South canned natural cider, meaning there are no additives, no sulfites and no sorbate—just juice from North Carolina- and Virginia-grown apples. “Nothing is put in and nothing is taken away,” says Amie Fields, co-owner of the Cedar Grove-based cidery. Botanist’s canned cider is also canned conditioned, like champagne, meaning the bubbles are created inside of the can rather than in a bright tank which force-carbonates beverages. Because Botanist is a low manipulation cidery, the canned cider—like all of its bottled ciders—is also unfiltered, unrefined and unpasteurized, so you can taste the full flavor of the apples. 

For its Farmhouse Cider, Botanist uses a mix of cider apples and eating apples (think Gala and Granny Smith) from orchards located within 200 miles. While Fields says most of Botanist’s ciders are meant to age in bottles, the Farmhouse Cider was made specifically for a can for portable, quick consumption that’s best enjoyed fresh. It’s fermented with a special culture to produce tropical fruit and citrus notes, with a light, dry finish at 7 percent ABV. “It’s supposed to be bright and zippy,” co-owner Lyndon Smith adds. “It’s a crushable cider.” Farmhouse Cider Seriously Dry is available at select Raleigh beer and wine shops but we suggest venturing out to the cidery to check out Botanist’s other innovative products in the works. 

The cidery offers a sparkling cider made with North Carolina blackberries, a house cider fermented in old bourbon honey barrels and a spontaneously fermented cider that’s both sweet and sour, to name just a few. Last month, Botanist released an Arkansas Black cider, a single varietal made with 100 percent cider apples. The company is also experimenting with wine making, with plans to launch a natural grape wine, and is in the process of fermenting a cucumber wine called Cucumber Cup—a play on the Pimm’s Cup cocktail—made with black tea, botanicals and homemade ginger beer. Next year, Botanist will launch its new wine name, défi, which means “challenge” in French. “That’s perfect for us,” says Fields.

Botanist and Barrel will host its annual Big Apple Festival on November 9, featuring tastings, games and live music. Get tickets at botanistandbarrel.com.

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