Mike Barlas developed a love for craft beer and home brewing while studying for his master’s degree in business administration at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. That led him to start work on a business plan that would allow him to be among the early crop of craft breweries opening in Wilmington.
Renovations are now complete on Barlas’ Flytrap Brewing, which plans to host its grand opening Oct. 15 in its location at Fourth and Walnut streets in the Brooklyn Arts District. The name Flytrap is an homage to the Venus' flytrap, the carnivorous plant indigenous to southeastern North Carolina.
Barlas chose to name his brewery Flytrap to promote awareness of the preservation of the species.
“Down the road I hope to be able to contribute to that process financially, but for now I’ll be doing all I can to increase awareness of the issues surrounding this species that is unique to our area,” Barlas said.
The 2,600-square-foot brewery will produce beer in 60-gallon batches and eventually serve 12 beers on tap. Barlas plans to dedicate seven of those taps to his own brews and host five rotating guest taps.
Barlas plans to offer three of his recipes on tap regularly. One that is particularly dear to him is Rehder’s Red Ale, in honor of Stanley Rehder, a local horticulturist for whom the carnivorous plant garden on Independence Avenue is named. Barlas describes the ale as having malt characteristics balanced by mild hops and a dry finish. He has also crafted a Belgian Blonde with traditional Belgian flavor but slightly less alcohol than this style of beer typically carries.
The third flagship beer is Belgian Triple, which does have a higher alcohol content at 8.3 percent. According to Barlas, the Belgian Triple is more in the style of an India Pale Ale, however, so it will serve as Flytrap's standing IPA.
In addition to being passionate about beer and flytrap preservation, Barlas is also active in the development of Brooklyn Arts District and is proud to have refurbished a vacated building to use as his brewery. He wants the area to thrive and wants to do his part to cultivate a relationship with area artists. He will display the works of a different local artist each month, giving each of them an opportunity to host an opening at the brewery to kick of their show.
Flytrap's grand opening features a "Meet the Line-up" event. The brewery will offer $5 flight specials of its brews. The event also marks the debut of chef Keith Rhodes' new food truck, Wing Star. The grand opening taks place 3-10 p.m.; Wing Star will serve 6-9 p.m.