Lights on for Nantahala Brewing Company
Nantahala Brewing Company in Bryson City now has power, and brewmaster Chris Collier will be making beer in the far western reaches of N.C. soon. He hopes to start tanking his first brews by this weekend: an IPA, a brown ale and a pale ale (followed by a spring wheat beer a little later).
Collier says he and his partners plan to offer a weekly transport run from Western Carolina University and Sylva to Bryson City, via rafting-company buses, so folks can visit Bryson and the brewery without driving. The round trip cost will be in the $5 range. NBC also has taken over the entire 10,000-square-foot Quonset hut where their brewery and tasting room will be located. The plan is to add some retail and service areas in the front of the space. So you might be able to book your raft trip, buy a life jacket and then go for a beer tasting. Nice idea.
Highland Cup winner
Brandon Dana of Asheville won Best of Show at Highland Brewing’s third annual Highland Cup with his home-brewed Kolsch on Sun., March 7. There were over 90 home-brewed entries, and eight flights of winners, each with a first-, second-, and third-place winner. Dana’s beer will be brewed by Highland in a limited production, and entered into the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.
Get your St. Paddy on
Jack of the Wood knows how to throw a St. Patrick’s Day party. In honor of the holiday, Green Man Brewing will release the new Green Man Stout at Jack’s and Dirty Jack’s. According to brewer John Stuart, they’ve revamped their old stout to make it stronger. The ABV will be about 6.5 percent.
“The overhaul was inspired by our success with our Double IPA ‘The Truth.’ We felt like our original Irish Stout was excellent, but the trend toward more aggressive and distinctive brews is very popular with Asheville beer drinkers,” Stuart says. Jack of the Wood will open at noon that day, which is Wednesday, March 17. Old-time musicians are invited to come by and play, and The Red Willies will perform at 8 p.m. Cover is $7 after 8 p.m.
Ring in the Spring
Oysterhouse Brewing invites y’all to come celebrate the start of spring down at The Lobster Trap on Friday, March 19, starting at 10 p.m. They’ll have beer specials, live music, free food, a spring-costume contest and giveaways (I hear Asheville Brews Cruise donated some surprises).
Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary of bringing craft beers to Ashevegas, has given the Bruisin’ Ales’ crew their own tap at the downstairs bar. The first tap is Dogfish Head’s Red & White, a Belgian-style Wit fermented with Pinot Noir juice. Yes, it’s a winey white beer. Next up is Flying Dog's 20th Anniversary beer, a Belgian-style IPA called Ragin' Bitch.
Asheville Brewing on Coxe Avenue continues to work the Randall, a device that infuses various flavors into beer, every Thursday during happy hour. On March 11, they’ll run some whole-leaf Fuggles (that’s a variety of hop) through their Scottish Brown Ale. On March 18, try some Lucky Charm marshmallows in your Scout Stout (for St. Paddy’s Day), and on March 25, it’ll be fresh rosemary in Rocket Girl. The brewery also runs a weekly “Name that Randall beer” contest on its Facebook page, and the winning entrant gets a T-shirt.
Beer City in the (other) news
Asheville was recently listed as one of the 24 greatest cities in the world for drinking beer by the popular travel blog Gadling.com. Here’s a quote from the story: “Asheville has one brewery for every 10,000 of its citizens, including the rocking Highland Brewing Company. That puts it right at Portland's heels with the second most breweries per capita in the U.S.” Let’s keep nipping at those heels, beer lovers.
Imbibe Magazine’s March/April issue also has a huge write-up on Asheville beer, calling our town “a beacon of Southern brewing.” The story quotes a number of brewers and beer notables — and yes, it should bring in more beer tourists.
Hops & Vines in West Asheville will hold its next beginners-to-intermediates homebrew class on Sunday, March 14, from noon to 4 p.m., with a follow-up bottling class on March 21. This class is for those who are new to the hobby or those who want to hone their brewing techniques. You brew on premises, bottle the beer two weeks later and split the batch. Classes fill up quickly, so call 252-5275 to register. Cost is $45 per person.