What’s On Tap?
Nestled in sleepy Water Valley, 20 miles southwest of the hustle and bustle of the Square, stands a brewery with a growing fanbase. Day in and day out, Yalobusha Brewing Company holds court in the beautifully restored Hendricks Foundry and Machine Shop building in downtown Water Valley—a spot that has quickly become the place to be on a Friday night for Ole Miss students.
A change of pace from the crowded bars of Oxford, Yalobusha’s laid back atmosphere draws students in with its live music and generous pours.
It’s nothing flashy. No bells or whistles, just good beer and good people. Patrons are handed their entry card, then whisked past plain pine picnic tables and sticker-covered walls, around the bar and into the adjacent hangar filled with fermenting tanks and assembly lines. The tour, depending on the day, is short, sweet and to the point. The priority, instead, is placed on what really matters–the beer.
This is the tour de force and what rallies Ole Miss students to drive 30 minutes outside of town on a Friday night. Visitors can choose from four-year round brews or several seasonal crafts for those looking to switch things up. “You can’t go wrong with the Blues Trail. It is the perfect combination of whatever they put in it,” said Drew Fowler, a junior from Southaven. His favorite, however, is exclusive to onsight tastings. “Although it doesn’t compare to the mighty Natural Light or the celebrated Michelob Ultra, my favorite is the Honey Wheat Ale, which I believe is only available at the brewery.” “YaloBrew” regulars wear their knowledge like a badge of honor and are more than willing to give guidance when needed.
On any given weekend, the brewery is filled with students buzzing about Saturday’s big game or the next show at The Lyric. So what is it that has made this small town such an appealing weekend destination?
“I think Yalobusha is so appealing to students especially because it’s so different,” said Kelly Loggins, a senior from Marietta, Ga. “It’s not going to bars; it’s not trying to round your friends up at a frat house; it’s really something unique, and that’s why I like going there so much. The combination of live music, aromatic beer and a friendly staff nestled on the Water Valley’s quaint Main Street is my favorite way to spend a Friday night.”
It’s this sort of slow-paced socializing that keeps locals and students alike coming back week after week.
North Mississippi’s first craft brewery, Yalobusha has made a big impression since opening its doors in 2013. If its rising popularity is any indication, it looks like they’re here to stay. For many, the brewery has redefined “going out.” The live music and casual atmosphere offer something much different for those seeking a laid back night out, making the local haunt a favorite of many.
This article was originally written for The Ole Miss 2017: “Mississippi Magnolia”. The yearbook will be released on April 24, 2017.