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Farm to Brut IPA: Meet the scuppernong farmer behind the Proximity Series brew

Cahaba Brewing Company‘s Proximity Series, supporting REV Birmingham’s Urban Food Project has released its newest one-of-a-kind brew: Scuppernong Brut IPA. The limited-edition beer features the uniquely Southern flavor of scuppernongs, grown by Jemison farmer Jason Powell of Petals From The Past. 

The Proximity Scuppernong Brut IPA is on tap now at Cahaba’s taproom (4500 5th Avenue South) and will go to REV Birmingham’s Urban Food Project network restaurants the week of October 8.  

Urban Food Project partner restaurants source Alabama-grown ingredients through REV’s local food initiative. UFP restaurants and retailers serving this exclusive small-batch seasonal brew include:

  • Slice
  • Soho Social
  • Ovenbird
  • J Clyde
  • Post Office Pies
  • 5 Point Public House
  • Piggly Wiggly Clairmont
  • Piggly Wiggly Crestline
  • Grand Bohemian
  • Eugene’s Hot Chicken
  • John’s City Diner
  • Roots & Revelry
  • Hop City
  • Dyrons

So what is a scuppernong, anyway?

Native to the South, scuppernongs are a variety of muscadine and are similar to large green grapes in appearance and texture – and this Proximity Series batch is flavored with 400 pounds of them.

“We are so excited about being featured in the seasonal Cahaba brewing opportunity!” said Powell. “We have had the opportunity to taste our scuppernongs in jams, jellies, juices and wines but this is the first time that we have seen it used in a special brew and we feel like that gives us another opportunity.” 

Petals From The Past typically produces 2,000 pounds of scuppernongs each year. Powell’s father started the crop, thinking the white muscadines would provide a fun and different U-pick opportunity for visitors to the farm. Petals From The Past also grows blackberries, blueberries, figs, Asian pears, apples, muscadines, oriental persimmons, Meyer lemons, Cara Cara navel oranges and kumquats.

Part of the mission of Petals From The Past is to approach gardening from an education standpoint, so on any given day, there may be a class to teach visitors how to grow what they see there.

“They want to learn how to do it themselves,” Powell said. “We are teaching visitors what is giving us success and what is a hurdle for us. They make the decision to grow it themselves.”

Powell grew up in Auburn, in a family rooted in gardening. Powell studied landscape design at Auburn University and, later, horticulture at Texas A&M’s graduate school. It was there that he was introduced to gardening of heirloom and antique breeds. In 1994, he moved back to Alabama and opened Petals From The Past, his nursery dedicated to growing tough plants, natives and heirlooms.

REV’s Urban Food Project works proudly with Petals From The Past to provide their products to Birmingham restaurants and corner stores – and occasionally, craft beer makers. Try Cahaba’s Proximity Series Scuppernong Brut IPA while it lasts in the taproom and UFP partner restaurants!

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