We arrived a bit after 2:00, which meant we had almost an hour to kill before the next tour began. Fortunately, the tap room was open, so I was able to pass the time with a couple beers (Alison had water). I started off with a barrel-aged Tripel Overhead, which I had sampled at the World Beer Fest and wanted to try on tap. I followed that up with another barrel-aged beer, the imperial stout, which taproom manager Travis Quinn highly recommended. Good stuff all around (and reviews forthcoming!).
Assistant brewer Greg Papp led the tour. Very informative if you've never been to a brewery. He covered everything from milling to bottling. Mother Earth currently has a 20-barrel system, with four 40-barrel fermenters. Greg said that they expect more equipment this summer, which should allow them to keep up with demand and expand distribution beyond North Carolina. If you're in NC, Mother Earth beers should be relatively easy to find.
The brewery itself is in an old brick building on the corner of N. Heritage and W. North Streets. The brewery rehabbed it in 2009, incorporating a number of green features like recycled denim insulation and a rooftop solar array. The renovation earned the Visual Improvement Award from the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce.
If you're ever near Kinston (it's only an hour and a half drive from Raleigh), I'd highly recommend checking it out. Even if you've done tours before, simply hanging out in the tap room and enjoying a few beers - several of which can't be obtained anywhere else - is definitely worth the time.