Pie Slingers Pizzeria in Rock Spring has trotted out a first for Walker County, its very own craft brewery.
The name Phantom Horse Brewing Company is derived from the Chickamauga Battlefield Park and most of its crafted brews are named after ghost legends from that historic Civil War battle.
Ole Green Eyes IPA, Lady in White Pale Ale, 1891 Oatmeal Cream Stout, Working Girl Blonde and Double Barrel Cocked Ale are some of the brews currently on tap.
In addition to imbibing, some of these crafted brews currently are used in the foods — like a cheese dip and spicy brown Dijon mustard — with more expected in the future.
Skip Welsh, co-owner with Jason Randles and Jared Willerson of Pie Slingers and Phantom Horse Brewing, said the brewery was launched on June 13.
“We began the process last July,” Welsh said. “It takes a long time.”
His wife Jennifer’s gift of a home brewing kit for Father’s Day 2014 led Welsh to become a brewmaster.
Though reluctant at first, he said he became “a little obsessed” with making home brews after his first batch in September 2014.
“A year later, I brewed about 50 batches at home,” Welsh said.
Welsh said customers loved it when he started bringing batches to the pizzeria to give away, and in the summer of 2015 decided that craft brews become part of the Pie Slingers’ experience.
Pie Slingers Pizzeria, which includes Phantom Horse Brewery Co., is located at Fieldstone Village in Rock Spring. Hours are 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays , from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from noon to 9 p.m. Sundays. To learn more about Pie Slingers, visit www.pieslingers.com, or their Facebook page. To keep up with Phantom Horse Brewing Company, visit their Facebook page.
Now, with a few exceptions, Pie Slingers is all craft brews.
“Craft beer drinkers are different,” Welsh said. “They enjoy the process. They love the way it was made. They want to know all about it.
“They come in to really enjoy what you have created, not just what you threw into a can to have an alcohol content.”
Phantom Horse brews are available both as a menu item and for purchase to take home.
Community response has been fantastic at what is still a family-oriented restaurant.
“We don’t want to be a bar,” Welsh said. “We are a hub of activity to gather with friends and family. We are still a family restaurant and always will be.”
From how he describes it, Pie Slingers is beginning to resemble a British public house, a pub, where locals gather to socialize with friends and families.
“It becomes a place to go,” Welsh said. “People are coming two to three times a week now that didn’t come that often before. It is fantastic.”
Regulars are finding membership in the “Mug Club” translates into savings, swag and special “members only” events — in addition to a personal 22-ounce custom mug that remains on premises.
Members, and there are already 50, will receive a fresh commemorative mug, one that hangs above the bar, each year, Welsh said.
Welsh said he learned a long time ago that there are two rules in marketing: be first and be different.
“First is always best. If you can’t be first, be different,” he said. “What we have done is create a ‘first and different.’”
Welsh said he is very thankful to the community and wishes them “a big hearty, healthy cheers.”