Mississippi: The final frontier… of craft beer.
Maybe it’s a bit of an exaggeration to claim that Mississippi is the final frontier of craft beer, but it’s that attitude that the folks at Southern Prohibition Brewing channeled when starting the brewery in 2013. A sentence on their website describes the reasoning behind their name because “our name is a daily reminder of the hurdles that exist as a craft brewery located in South Mississippi.”
Despite some of the hurdles that exist to brewing craft beer in the American South, Southern Prohibition has cleared many of them to create a widely-known regional brand and more importantly, a fun and enjoyable taproom in a college town. However, the brewery and taproom can be difficult to find unless you trust your gut when you see a large building fenced off by the railroad tracks. As I drove through Hattiesburg with my wife Katie giving directions from Google Maps, we wondered if we’d found the brewery when it said he had arrived as the destination, but neither of us saw any signage marking the facility as Southern Prohibition Brewing. We made an assumption that Google Maps was correct, parked near the other cars and found our way inside.
However, the view of the outside is very disarming.
The door leads directly into the taproom, where we met taproom manager Adam Bockelman.
After meeting with Adam, we got a brief tour of the production area. The brewery only offers tours on Saturdays, so plan accordingly if you want to see more than just the taproom.
As Mississippi had only changed its laws to allows breweries to sell on-site to consumers early this summer, Adam was eager to show off the changes the brewery had made. One of the most visible changes is the setup of the courtyard people pass through before entering the taproom itself.
The courtyard has numerous picnic tables and includes several classic beer-drinking games like washers toss and corn hole. However, the coolest game is nestled against the fence farther away from the entrance: soccer pool.
The concept of soccer pool is simple. You play pool, but on a larger scale. However, players use their feet to kick the cue ball instead of using a pool stick. I didn’t get to play against Katie, but it’s definitely something on my to-do list when we stop by next.
In addition to the games, which Adam admitted were designed to keep people there, a food truck is now on site Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. One of the regular food trucks is Mercury Pizza Co., which was named the 2017 “Best Pizza” in the Pine Belt according to Signature Magazine.
Inside the taproom, Southern Prohibition had made changes to keep customers around, too. The brewery relocated its barrel-aged projects to the production side and installed an arcade with a decor that Adam described as “’80s gym chic.”
The arcade features old, orange booths with a pool table and video games like Cruis’n USA and Terminator Salvation. So there are plenty of options to extend your stay at the brewery.
However, the primary reason come is for the beer, which is excellent. Southern Prohibition offers four year-round beers: a blonde ale, an imperial India pale ale, an imperial red ale, and a breakfast IPA. The brewery offers a variety of other beers with a regularly changing menu, which you can consult using the Untappd app or read it here. In addition to the extensive draft list, the brewery has selection of beers customers can purchase to take home.
Speaking of beers, I had a pair of tasters while sitting at the bar and taking in the newly re-designed taproom. I ordered Mississippi Fire Ant, an imperial red ale that is part of their year-round series, and Sleeper Agent, a Russian imperial stout. Mississippi Fire Ant was a very hop-forward beer, but a great choice for those who consider themselves hop heads. Sleeper Agent is a great representation for its style and very smooth, although I opted for the non-barrel-aged version, which is less boozy than Barrel Aged Sleeper Agent that is part of the Wild & Wood Series. Katie opted for the Barrel Aged Sleeper Agent, Mango Ignition (a wild American ale), and Soul Glo (a funky farmhouse ale). Naturally, we shared our tasters, so we each got a sip or two of each beer.
Regardless of what type of beer you drink, you are likely to have a great time at revamped Southern Prohibition taproom. SoPro brews great beers, and now has a taproom that offers a variety of entertainment options to keep customers around.