How did Rome City Brewing begin?
Jay: In 2012, when the Brewhouse opened, the ultimate goal was for it to eventually become a brewpub. I had no idea how to get there, just kinda hoped some pieces would fall into place. About three years later, I met Trent, as our daughters were playing travel softball together, and we got to be good buddies. He’s surgeon and loved to homebrew, but instead of playing golf every day whenever he had free time, he was at home brewing beer. Come one Saturday afternoon, after maybe a few too many beers, I convinced him to come into this brewery idea with me, so fast forward and we started up in 2016 and served our first beer election night.
What would you say the idea behind RCBC is, beyond brewing craft beer?
Jay: Most cool downtowns, that I’ve been to, have had a brewery, so it was something I knew that Rome needed and would help us grow, as well as establishing something our Downtown can be proud of. Right off the bat, we both agreed in naming the beers, we had to tie it into Rome, whether it’s our history or our attractions like our Clocktower or Broad Street.
Trent: I’ve always had this passion for craft beer, and with my love of homebrewing, I was able to take it to a whole new level opening up a brewery with Jay. As Jay said, the idea was to create beer that whenever someone saw it, they’d immediately think of Rome.
What are some future goals for Rome City Brewing Co.?
Jay: Well, we’ve come quite a way since 2016. [We] moved out of the Brewhouse and into 333 for the full operation, and went from a little 4-barrel system to now doing 15-barrel batches plus we just got two new fermenters in. We’re just expanding way faster than I ever believed we’d do. We don’t want to grow too fast, so we’re coasting along right now, getting used to the growth and constantly improving our craft. We’re in the process of expanding our distribution into Northeast Alabama, where we’re both from.
Trent: Take for example our improved system over here, compared to over at the Brewhouse, all our beers taste better and we’ve worked out the kinks in our bar systems so everyone can enjoy beer the way it’s supposed to be.
Which RCBC is your favorite?
Jay: Goatmeal Stout – It holds a bit of a sentimental value, since we named it after my dad, but it’s a beer that I genuinely love. I used to only drink Michelob Ultra or Bud Light during my music career, and anything with color would put me off, but now I’m glad I can open up for all kinds of different styles.
Trent: Clocktower IPA – I love a good hoppy IPA, I can drink them anytime, anywhere, and this one is one of the best!
What is the craziest beer you’ve ever had?
Both: Well it has to be one of those that you’ve shared with us, since you come across some of the strangest beers I’ve ever seen.
Jay: I’d have to say it was the New Belgium Geisha. I never would even think of a coffee sour.
Trent: That Kudzilla from Fonta Flora was the weirdest thing for me by far. It’s a wonder no one else has thought of a kudzu beer before now, and we don’t have a shortage of kudzu down here in South either. Now there’s an idea for a future beer.
How do you want people to feel when they walk through your doors?
Both: At home, we want them to feel welcome. This is the Rome CITY Brewing Company, and we want them to feel apart of it. We’re brewing the beer, and those that drink it are part of it. They help us grow so we want them to feel they’re part of the family.
What are the top reasons you think people should visit Rome?
Jay: I’d say Downtown for sure. I believe it’s one of the best downtowns in the world, definitely the state! I love the hospitality here, I always say we’re blessed with the best, and I think the people help make Rome one of the best towns in America.
Trent: You gotta come for the food and definitely come for the beer!