One Giant Leap for Mannkind
Showcasing Alexis Scrivani’s beers, Jeremy and Cassie Mann add to Leland’s beer offerings with Mannkind Brewing Company.
Neil Armstrong’s immortal words were never intended to launch a brewery. He was waxing philosophical about touching down on the surface of the moon in 1969. But a giant leap is what Jeremy Mann and his wife, Cassie, have taken to bring another brewery to Leland — which is rapidly becoming a beer mecca in its own right.
Mannkind Brewing, located on Ploof Road in Leland, is officially a bona fide beer destination outside Wilmington. But with Brunswick Beer and Cider, Brunswick Beer Exchange (BBX) and Leland Brewing all within a stone’s throw of each other, Mann is clearly rolling the dice.
When I ask him if the area is becoming beer-saturated, he calmly replies, “I don’t think so and for a few reasons. First, Leland itself is exploding with growth and there are certainly enough beer lovers to go around. Second, Leland Brewing is the only other brewery/taproom model in the Leland area. We know know those guys, and they’re great guys, and their vibe is distinctly different than ours. We have both bent over backwards to help each other succeed, and we will continue to do that to make Leland the best beer destination in can be.”
On the beautiful afternoon I visit, both servers, Devan and Liz, are Stage One Cicerones. And Mann expects everyone who serves beer from his taps to acquire that status within their first 90 days of employment.
At present they need to be thoroughly familiar with just six offerings, but look for that to change.
Head Brewer Alexis Scrivani (and her partner, assistant brewer Jake Stevens), who had two previous stints at Waterman’s in Wrightsville Beach and who comes bearing a solid Fermentation Science degree from App State, has been given pretty much free reign by Mann to create her special brand of artistry. And Scrivani is obviously a wizard with yeasts.
If the Renaissance Pilsner (5.1%) I sampled is any indication of that artistry, then Alexis has a bright future at Mannkind. It was solid, crisp, full-flavored and dead on style. Mann hopes it will be the transitional beer that brings BudMillerCoors folks into the craft beer fold, but it’s far better than that. I’d rank it up there with Waterman’s Playa Pils and North Coast’s Scrimshaw.
The Alpha (5.5%) is quite an interesting beer as well. With a beautiful color and great nose, it reminds one of Sierra Nevada in appearance, but tastes nothing like it. It is smooth, malt-forward and nicely balanced, but the hops are not nearly as prevalent. Still very good, though.
One Giant Leap (hmm … sounds familiar?) is a West Coast-style DIPA clocking in at 8.4%. It came highly recommended by Liz, herself a West Coast transplant, and it has an initially sweet taste that finished with a nice bitter bite on the back end. Be careful with this one, as the alcohol is well masked.
Renamber is Scrivani’s version of a Belgian. Though my schnozz did not detect the requisite clove associated with Belgians, this 5.8% beer had a super smooth mouthfeel and is decidedly malt-forward. Certainly drinkable, especially if you get some pomme frites from one of the food trucks the Manns summon to the premises.
My last sample is Sultana Haze, the first of many hazies expected to emerge from the 10-bbl system. And a very solid hazy it is; it should put smiles on the faces of the hazy hopheads in your life.
Also available is a raspberry seltzer called Sistine Spritz, but The PubScout, not being a fan of the style, decided not to try it. Still, if you are, and the analytics say that many are rapidly becoming devoteés of the spritz, you’ll probably like it, given Scrivani’s skill with the others.
I ask my friendly barmates, Barry and Kathi Anne Bond from Oak Island, what brought them to Mannkind, and they answer nearly simultaneously, “She’s/I’m a brewery lover!”
Me, too. And you do meet some of the nicest folks at beer bars and breweries.
In all, Mannkind, with its unique logo depicting the brewer’s combination of art and science (Da Vinci gets that award for a reason), should be on your must-visit list. Nice folks, good beers, neat place.
And there’s no giant leap required.
Try a Flight
Mannkind Brewing Company
9600 Ploof Road SE, Suite 7, Leland
Photography by Katie D Photography