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Cheers! Trophy Brewing expanding original Morgan Street location.

Trophy Brewing is expanding its beer operations on Morgan Street, building a bigger sour program and adding more outdoor seating.
Trophy Brewing is expanding its beer operations on Morgan Street, building a bigger sour program and adding more outdoor seating. tlong@newsobserver.com

It's about to get wild and funky at Trophy Brewing's Morgan Street location, at least when it comes to its beer.

Over the next year, the Raleigh brewery will build a new brewing system in its original Morgan Street location near downtown that focuses on expanding its sour and barrel-aged program, which should delight the Triangle's passionate funk-loving drinkers.

The generally packed-to-the-gills pizzeria and taproom also will add more outdoor seats along the front of the building.

"It's a big project for us," said David Meeker, who owns Trophy with Chris Powers and David "Woody" Lockwood.

"We're going to do some really cool beer things that are going to be new and different for Trophy," he said.

Trophy is one of the Triangle's most popular breweries, with three different ventures spread out across downtown Raleigh. All of the brewing is done at its large production facility and taproom on Maywood Avenue. There's also Trophy Tap and Table on Wilmington Street.

Trophy bought the building at 827 W. Morgan St. in 2012 when it first opened as a brewery and pizza joint. Parts of the building continued to operate for years as a laundromat and convenience store, but will now house Trophy's sour program.

The expansion is in the site plan stage now, with construction expected to start in the late fall, aimed at wrapping up by next summer or fall, Meeker said.

Meeker said Trophy intends to keep the pizzeria operating throughout the construction, but it may lose some outdoor seating or close for a day or two along the way.

Wild ales

The expansion represents a full-on dive into a sour program, enabling future wild ales and saisons and other funky projects. Powers and Lockwood said Trophy's Maywood production brewery limited what they could do with wild and sour ales, with the amount of temperature-controlled space already maxed out.

Now at Morgan Street, they'll add fermenting and blending tanks and have more space for barrel aging.

"We're really proud of what we've done with sours, but they're so few and far between because we don't have the space," Lockwood said.

"We're definitely looking forward to it," Powers said. "Blending is the next step for us."

Sours, saisons and other kinds of wild ales are conditioned with specific types of bacteria that change the beer as it ages, developing more complex flavor profiles, often ending up tart and funky. These beers can generally handle some age, continuing to develop in the bottle, so expect many more bottle releases from Trophy, Powers said.

Within craft beer, saisons and sours are some of the beers of the day, styles with origins in the dawn of beermaking finding a growing and thirsty audience among modern drinkers.

"We'll agree that they're trendy, but they've been around forever," Lockwood said. "We hope they're not going anywhere soon because we love them."

The owners already have reached out to local berry and fruit farmers, calling dibs on some large orders next year to use in some fruit sours.

They're also developing a gluten-free crust for their pizzas.

On May 19, the brewery unveiled a new mural on the side of its building by artist Kevin Lyons, replacing a black and white mural painted by the New York artist in 2015.

With Lyons' trademark drawn monster, the "Morgan Street Jazz Monsters: A Tribute to the Jazz Giants of North Carolina," is painted in the colors of area universities and calls attention to North Carolina musicians like Nina Simone, J. Cole and Thelonious Monk.

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