Lexington brewery to host festival, put its hazy beer up against some of the best

Posted 6/23/23

This weekend, the only brewery within the Lexington town limits will look to flex strengths both old and new.

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Lexington brewery to host festival, put its hazy beer up against some of the best


This weekend, the only brewery within the Lexington town limits will look to flex strengths both old and new.

On June 24, Hazelwood Brewing Company brings back Hazywood, the previously one-off hazy beer festival it put on two years ago.

The beer being sold at the event will highlight some of the traits that defined the brewery as it moved toward opening in 2019. The focus on hazy beer recalls the excellence at crafting cloudy, pillowy IPAs that stoked excitement for owner Matt Rodgers’ beers at the Old Mill Brewpub, where he brewed before starting Hazelwood, and the early Hazelwood beers that came out before he had a proper location.

This weekend, he will put that proficiency for hazy beers against some of the best around, with guest taps that feature great names in haze from around the Southeast (Charlotte’s Resident Culture, Miami’s Tripping Animals, Virginia’s The Veil and Charleston’s Charles Towne Fermentory) and abroad (Sweden's Omnipollo).

Rodgers is confident his brewery will stack up well by comparison.

“[It’s] a nice little bundle of breweries as far as talent and quality of beer goes,” he said, “and I love being able to see the reaction of people tasting these considered to be the best beers in the world up against our beers, and they're seeing that there's a very little difference as far as quality goes.”

The brewery’s own special release for the event continues Hazelwood’s emphasis on collaborating with other breweries, with the Nectarlink Hazy IPA having been brewed with help from West Columbia’s Savage Craft Ale Works.

The event will also take advantage of one of Hazelwood’s new strengths — the ability to have food trucks.

Since joining the push that ultimately led the Town of Lexington to loosen its food truck restrictions last November, the brewery has hosted a string of some of the most popular mobile eateries in the Midlands, and will do so again during Hazywood, hosting the bar and comfort food specialists Parabellum to feed attendees.

“It lets us create the entire package,” Rodgers said, noting that the brewery doesn’t have a kitchen. “If we didn't have a food truck, you would be missing a key component of having an event like this. People want to be able to get excited about food as much as they are about beer.”

The event will also include other community-centered elements, including a pop-up from Turntable City, the record store located a short drive up Main Street from Hazelwood, and a performance from local band Civil Remedy.

Emphasizing locality is important for the brewery housed in the former boiler room of Lexington’s Old Mill. 

They grow many of the hops they use at a family farm in nearby Camden, and once rebuilding efforts are complete on the Old Mill Pond Dam — which Rodgers said should be finished very soon — the brewery will be powered hydro-electrically by the creek that runs beside it.

Rodgers said he hopes to expand the beer garden behind the brewery once the earthen dam is finished and planted with grass, allowing for a more picturesque space to enjoy Hazelwood’s beer.

He wants notions of community and collaboration to continue to guide the brewery’s special events moving forward, such as with a brunch Hazelwood is hosting on July 16, which is set to feature food prepared by Lexington’s own Bodhi Thai restaurant and caffeinated beverages from Columbia roastery Indah (with the brewery set to make an Indah/Outdo version of its flagship Indo/Outdo IPA featuring their friends’ coffee).

“We know that 20 years from now, those trees will bear fruit,” Rodgers said of building Hazelwood up slowly across the past few years. “It’s just planning ahead and then trying to see a long-term vision of what it's supposed to look like.”


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