RJ Rockers, a South Carolina microbrewery and brewpub turned full-scale production brewery, dishes out a creative mix of craft brews, patriotism, and an environmentally-friendly brewing process – all music to the ears of DC beer-lovers. Founder and Gulf War veteran Mark Johnson, who found his love for craft beer while stationed in Germany, started RJ Rockers brewpub in 1997. In 2002, Mark made the transition to a full-scale production brewery, and won Gold for his Light Rock Ale at The Great American Brew Fest in 2009. RJ Rockers runs its broiler off of solar power, recycles 90% of its leftover water and 99% of its waste, and has a long-term goal of being 100% energy self-sufficient. Son of a Peach Wheat Ale, which won gold at the 2009 LA International Beer Competition, will be available this weekend at Rockers’ first SAVOR appearance along with their Bell Ringer Ale. Other beers from RJ Rockers include the Bald Eagle Brown Ale, Buckwheat After Dark (BAD) Ale (a Dunkelweizen), and Black Perle Dark IPA.
Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina
Available in DC Market: Limited Availability (Pizza No. 17 and Whole Foods P Street near Dupont, Ace Beverage near AU, and Total Wine in NOVA).
Beer #1: Bell Ringer Ale (8.5 % ABV)
Beer Advocate: B+ (119 Reviews)
Rate Beer: 73 Overall, 24 Style
Notes: Hazed copper color. Smooth with a medium to full body. Hopes are balanced with a little bitter and dry finish. Underlying breath of alcohol with each sip (From Beer Advocate). RJ Rockers’ rep describes it as either an “Imperial ESB” or “American Strong Ale.”
Beer #2: Son of a Peach Wheat Ale (5.8% ABV)
Beer Advocate: B (60 Reviews)
Rate Beer: 68 Overall, 91 Style
Notes: “An unfiltered American wheat ale made with real mean peaches. The only thing missing is the fuzz. Savor the anger.” Reviews vary on this beer (Beer Advocate, Rate Beer, etc.), somewhat based on whether one likes fruit beers. The softness of the peach flavor (instead of stronger fruits like cherries found in other fruit beers) and the heavier unfiltered approach may appeal to wider group than you’d think.
RJ Rockers seems to have a vision, and is having success in the Southeast market after its move from a brewpub into a production brewery. Their offerings are varied, but none are too far out of what is appealing to today’s craft beer fans: higher alcohol contents and creative styles.
This profile is a part of the DCBEER.COM SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2011 SAVOR participants.
Beer Review Disclaimer: The beer reviews found on Beer Advocate and Rate Beer do not represent the opinions of this site. We provide these in the hope that they will serve as a resource showing what some craft beer fans have thought of the beers. These reviews can be a helpful guideline, but are not the be-all end-all about a beer’s strengths or weaknesses.