Jamie Bartholomaus (now at Foothills Brewing)
Born in Queens, NY, but raised in Delaware and Pennsylvania, Jamie
Bartholomaus attended the University of Georgia in Athens, choosing anthropology as his major. His first encounter with beer, at age 15, was with an ice-cold can of Busch. College provided a better experience when he discovered California-brewed Sierra Nevada Pale Ale during his freshman year. Life has been kinder ever since.
Moving from dormitory to apartment for the sophomore semesters, Jamie and his roommates began home brewing. The local homebrew supply store, owned by John Gayer, became their hangout. When Gayer later became the brewer for Blind
Man Brewing in 1994 or so, Jamie was there to offer help, especially with the labor-intensive bottling process. Graduation in June 1996 changed the game a bit when the underpaid gopher became a full-fledged though still insufficiently compensated Blind Man brewer in early ‘97. Just a few months later he found a real job digging through historic sites for Southeast Archeological Services. But beer still pumped steadily through his veins. So when brewer David Fowlkes,
a friend from Athens, vacated the head brewer slot at Vista Brewing in Columbia, SC, Jamie jumped at the chance to re-enter the brewing world, even though the tiny brewpub’s beer consumption was small as well.
Leaving bones and artifacts behind, Jamie took the summer of 1998 off. He moved to Bat Cave, near Asheville, and commuted to Columbia to brew a Vista beer each week. Once, while on a trip to visit his sister in Greensboro, Jamie stopped in for a beer at Olde Hickory Brewing and happened to meet owners Steven Lyerly and Jason Yates. Barely two weeks had passed when Doug Riley,
brewer at Asheville’s Two Moons (now known as Asheville Pizza and Brewing) alerted Jamie that Olde Hickory was looking for a brewer. Five interviews later, the slender northerner-turned-Georgia boy landed the job at the west Hickory brewpub. That was October, 1998. In short time, Jamie learned the peculiarities of the OHB seven barrel system and the taste preferences of his customers. His brewing touch was immediately noticeable as he tweaked the Olde Hickory extract recipes ever so slightly. A moderately bitter IPA, Table Rock Pale Ale is the brewery’s best seller. Brown Mountain Light and Piedmont Ale are easy-drinking beers, designed for beginners and budmillercoors drinkers. Crawdad Red is malty,
revealing only a faint hops flirtation. Big, bold and slightly harsh from black patent and chocolate malts, Hickory Stick Stout rounds out the brewery’s regular offerings.
Well versed as brewpub brewer, Jamie now has the opportunity to brew those regular brews at the new Olde Hickory Brewery in all-grain batches at over three times the volume. The downtown, distributing microbrewery, which acquired the brewpub’s name, has a 22 barrel brewhouse, six cylindro-conical fermenters, two conditioning tanks, glycol coolant system, grain mill and plenty of room to grow. A bottling system awaits electrical work, though the
brewery is underway now as a kegs-only operation. The west Hickory brewpub usurped its owners middle names and is now known as Amos Howards Brewpub. Jamie is over-joyed to be all-grain brewing again. Though it means more work for him, all-grain “beers will taste different, better,” he states. The energetic brewer is “focused on making beer.” That is why he’s here. And he’s staying extremely busy. That’s because he’s now keeping ten to twelve OHB
beers on tap at Olde Hickory Taproom, Steven and Jason’s downtown multi-tap beer house and restaurant. Jamie fills and delivers kegs from the 100-year-old carriage building, which has served as the brewery’s home since opening in 1999, to the downtown pub just across the railroad tracks. With more beers and
responsibility, Jamie also, reluctantly, passed the Vista Brewing mantle on to a brewer in the Columbia vicinity.