Last month the Thirsty Monk team announced they were closing their Gerber Village location for a new venture that would be unveiled in September. They said the new business will be an original concept unlike anything currently operating in the United States.
The new project, called Open Brewing, may well deliver on that promise. Owner Barry Bialik calls it “the first commercial brewpub in the country dedicated to open-source brewing.” Essentially he views it as a sort of incubator for homebrewers to develop and reformat recipes on a large scale. They can share their beers with a wider audience and receive feedback.
No numbers have been released, but Bialik says homebrewers will also be paid a royalty for each pint. “As the craft beer industry has taken off, so has homebrewing, and we have had a great relationship with the local homebrewing community [through Thirsty Monk] over the years,” said Bialik. ”Our intent is to create an avenue where homebrewers can reach new audiences, experience the brewing process on a larger scale and gain opportunity in the beer world that might not otherwise be available.”
Of course, what’s a brewpub without patrons? Bialik sees Open Brewing as a place where Asheville’s adventurous beer drinkers can find a constantly rotating taplist with “unique brews they may never have the opportunity to drink twice.”
Open Brewing will accept applications from homebrewers to come and brew their beer in September via firstname.lastname@example.org. A tasting panel including Norm Penn (Thirsty Monk’s brewer) and Matt McComish (Thirsty Monk’s head beer buyer and certified cicerone) will choose the beers.
The opportunity to be among the first to brew at Open Brewing will also be offered as an award at the upcoming 15th Annual Blue Ridge Brew Off, to be held on Saturday, Sept. 13, and hosted by Asheville’s Mountain Ale and Lager Tasters (MALT) homebrew club.
Open Brewing will be located at 20 Gala Drive #101 in Gerber Village on Hendersonville Road, the location of the former Thirsty Monk South. The opening date has not yet been announced, but is expected to be early this fall.
About Thom O'Hearn
Thom O’Hearn is the beer columnist for Mountain Xpress, a regular contributor to Beer Advocate magazine and the editor of books including Homebrew Beyond the Basics and Experimental Homebrewing. Twitter: @thomohearn