By Chere Coen
When we caught up with Jerome Trahan, General Manager of the Threefoot Brewing Company, Mississippi was in the grips of brutally high pressure, causing temperatures to soar. Trahan laughed it off.
“That’s why I stay in a cold, cold brewery,” he said.
Mississippi’s latest craft beer company — Trahan claims it’s the state’s first microbrewery — opened in August 2021 in a renovated Merchant and Farmer’s Bank in downtown Meridian. The 10,000-square-foot space was built in 1924 and still announces the bank’s slogan of “Safety, Strength, Service” above the front door. But it’s the three-foot walls that keep both heat and air conditioning inside.
“This place is solid,” Trahan said. “It’s the best place to be in a tornado. I always tell people when the weather is bad, come in and have a beer.”
Threefoot owners John and Bridget Purdy began brewing as a sideline to their careers — Bridget works as an educator and John, an architect. Over time, as they established their beers, they looked to a location to expand the brewery and offer a taproom for visitors. Threefoot beers may be found in regional restaurants, but 80 percent of the beer is served in-house.
“Everything is brewed here in the brewery,” Trahan said. “We’re brewing Mondays through Fridays and constantly running out of beer and making new ones.”
Brews run the traditional gamut from sours, Old Worldstyle beers and IPAs, to browns, ambers and stouts. Many sport fun names like Mr. Blue Sky blueberry sour, Midnight Train chocolate raspberry stout, Patrick Hayze IPA and Dark Sarcasm coffee stout. The beer menu changes according to seasonal ingredients and the brew master’s imagination. Sometimes, they offer something fun to the mix. During that recent heat wave, John Purdy combined two thirst quenchers, serving up a mango sour ice cream float.
In addition, the taproom serves up what Trahan calls “comfort food.” Items include tater tots, burgers, Reuben sandwiches and a unique chicken and waffles dish consisting of Belgian waffles and chicken strips in a creamy and sweet jalapeno sauce.
The brewery also caters special events and private parties. One wedding rehearsal dinner menu consisted of boudin and cheese eggrolls, Mississippi “hummiss” (purple hull peas, garlic and tahini), beef brisket and chicken tarragon with roasted Brussel sprouts.
Threefoot Brewing is not connected to Meridian’s newly opened Threefoot Hotel, although the name is related. German immigrant Abraham Driefuss and his family moved to Meridian in the 1800s and changed their name to the easier “Threefoot,” since “Driefuss” means tripod or three foot in English.
Descendants later built the multi-story, art deco building in 1929, making the Threefoot Building the tallest in Mississippi.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not played on its name, calling it “a 15-story building on a three-foot lot.”
The building became vacant in the 1990s, but a recent restoration effort by Marriot turned it into the elegant Threefoot Hotel, a Tribute Portfolio property.
The unique name was never lost on the city of Meridian. The town hosts the annual Threefoot Festival every spring in the downtown district. Threefoot Brewery takes advantage of the name — plus there are those three-foot walls — and has created a pilsner specifically for the hotel. They also contribute to downtown festivals, such as the Threefoot Festival.
The taproom may sell alcohol, but it’s family and pet-friendly. The open bottom floor of the historic building offers plenty of seating space, plus a large bookshelf of games to be enjoyed. Televisions showing sporting events grace a bar at the end of the room. Visitors can view beer being made in the massive tanks off the side.
For those who visit with four-legged friends, Threefoot created a special dog treat from the brewery’s spent grain. They combine peanut butter and bananas to the grain for “The Hound Dog” dog biscuit.
“It’s just like Elvis would have loved,” Trahan said.
For a quieter experience, the mezzanine level seats 40 with a view of the taproom below. The outside Beer Garden includes a space for live concerts.
“We have three goals,” Trahan said. “We offer a chilled environment, we’re family-forward, and we serve quality beer.”
Threefoot Brewing Company is located at 517 23rd Avenue in downtown Meridian.
Taproom hours are from 4 pm to 10 pm Tuesday through Friday; and 11 am to 10 pm on Saturday. The taproom is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
For more information, visit www.threefootbrewing.com. For information on taproom concerts, special events and beer and food specials, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ threefootbrewing.