(Winston-Salem, NC) – Foothills Brewing has announced their exclusive Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout will be available on draft beginning Friday February 1st, and on Saturday Feb. 2nd in 22-oz. bottles, at the brewery’s downtown Winston-Salem pub.

The beer has been produced once a year by Foothills since 2007, and is the brainchild of president and brewmaster Jamie Bartholomaus. Its origins can be traced back to Jamie’s college apartment at University of Georgia. “I think it was 1996, my friends and I were homebrewing quite a bit. If there was a reason to make a beer we used it. Valentine’s Day was coming up, so we decided to put chocolate in a stout and called it Sexual Chocolate.”

Once Foothills opened, and Jamie had room to brew seasonals, he made the brewery’s first batch of Sexual Chocolate to release in 2007 – about 12 barrels, all draft. Its popularity and notoriety quickly grew, and soon Jamie was fielding phone calls from craft beer enthusiasts wanting to know how to get the beer in bottles.

“We were just starting out back then, we had no bottling equipment” recalls Jamie. “But our customers wanted it, so we hand-bottled it. I remember standing in the walk-in fridge for 14 hours with a couple of my brewers and a home brew beer gun, bottling straight off the keg.” One of those brewers helping was Wayne Wambles, who would go on to open Cigar City Brewing in Tampa.

From those humble beginnings, Sexual Chocolate has become one of those rare craft beers that’s not only award-winning, but whose release is an event in itself. Foothills Brewing has been awarded seven Great American Beer Fest medals Foothills since 2006; three of those went to Sexual Chocolate, along with a World Beer Cup medal in 2010. This year Foothills will produce over 100 barrels of the beer, including a limited number of bottles (now handled by bottling equipment, not by Jamie and his brewers in the walk-in). Sexual Chocolate contains nine different malts and 4 different hop varietals, in addition to its “chocolate” – organic Peruvian cocoa nibs.

The release party annually brings together craft beer enthusiasts from all over North Carolina and the Southeast, indeed from all over the country. This year’s release will begin with an initial keg tapping at 5pm on Friday February 1st, with a first toast to be given by Dave Gonzalez, pub brewer at Foothills. A brewer’s party will follow, with attendees encouraged to bring different beers to sample.

After Foothills closes at 2am, an informal process begins and a line will form outside the brewpub, and craft beer lovers will camp out overnight for the right to buy Sexual Chocolate in bottles when they go on sale, on Saturday February 2nd at 10am. Price is $15/bottle, limit 4 per person. The allocation usually runs out by around noon.

Foothills Brewing began in 2004 in Winston-Salem, NC, and has evolved into one of the top craft brewing operations in the southeast United States. Ranked among ratebeer.com’s 100 best breweries in the world, Foothills has garnered numerous awards for their beers, including seven Great American Beer Festival medals and three World Cup Beer medals, more than any other North Carolina-based brewery.

Foothills brews more than twenty year-round and seasonal offerings, include best sellers Hoppyum IPA and Carolina Blonde. Year-round brands also include People’s Porter and Torch Pilsner; seasonals include India Style Brown Ale, Cottonwood Pumpkin, and the highly anticipated Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout. Foothills, Cottonwood and Carolina brands are distributed by a network of top-level distributors in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee.

In January 2011 Foothills acquired the Carolina and Cottonwood beer brands, adding to an already extensive portfolio of beer styles. In December 2011 Foothills expanded their brewing operations from their popular brewpub in downtown Winston-Salem to a 50,000 square-foot facility in southern Winston-Salem, allowing for increased development of six-pack and 22-oz. bottle production. 2013 will see the addition of four 200 BBL fermenting tanks, increasing potential brewing capacity to approximately 40,000 barrels annually.

For more information about Foothills visit foothillsbrewing.com.