The idea that led to the creation of Pangaea Brewing, the new taproom and restaurant at 115 Welborn St. just off the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail, started with dinosaurs.
“Call it one of those really dumb college ideas,” said head brewer Steve Schofield, who founded Pangaea alongside his wife, Emily. “Me and a buddy of mine wanted to start a place called ‘Jurassic Brewland.’ We basically wanted to recreate Jurassic Park when the technology came around but make it a brewery so you could drink beer while you look at the dinosaurs.”
Unfortunately, the prospect of combining dinosaurs with alcohol was rife with legal risks so the idea had to be put on ice.
But as the years went by, Schofield never gave up thinking about the brewery aspect of those early pipe dreams. He put his background in chemical engineering to use in his own homebrewing endeavors and eventually landed a spot in the UC Davis Masters Brewers Program and a stint at Heretic Brewing.
Now the 30-year-old chemical engineer and new father (his wife Emily gave birth to their first child just as the brewery opened its doors) has realized that dream with Pangaea Brewing.
Located just beside The Commons with outdoor green space facing the trail, the brewery aims to be a family-oriented, outdoor-focused space.
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Schofield still hasn’t given up on his Jurassic theme however. The name “Pangaea” is a reference to the supercontinent that scientists say existed about 250 million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth, before the landmass split apart and our massive reptile predecessors were wiped out.
But Schofield also wants the name to evoke a sense of togetherness in a time when so much of our social consciousness seems so irreparably fractured.
I know it sounds over-the-top, but really, why not try bringing the world back together one beer at a time?
“We’re all about bringing people together around food and beer,” Schofield said. “And look, I know it sounds over-the-top but really, why not try bringing the world back together one beer at a time?”
The diverse array of beer offerings focuses on familiar and clean styles with more unique options thrown into the mix, like a wheat beer with lemongrass and ginger, or a light stout infused with smokiness.
The philosophy of the food — wood-fired pizza, salads and small plates — from head chef Ethan Stark is equally focused on appeasing the familiar while still having more eclectic offerings. A classic pepperoni and cheese pizza sits on the menu right alongside Vietnamese-style pizza or a South Carolina-style pie with coal-braised, local pork.
“The influence was flavors from around the world while focusing on local ingredients,” Stark said. “I don’t know of any pizza places taking a whole leg of pork, slow-cooking it overnight and coming back in the morning when it’s fall-apart beautiful and using that on their pies.”
Pangaea Brewing, 115 Wellborn St. Tues. – Sat., 2pm – 10pm, Sun. 11am – 9 am. Closed on Mondays.