At Craggie Brewing Company, it’s all about the flavor. “If you are going to brew a beer with five ingredients, then you should be able to taste all five or you are wasting money by adding ingredients that aren’t noticeable,” says the brewery’s co-founder Bill Drew. With help from co-founder Jonathan Cort, the downtown brewery opened for business in 2009.
Currently, the company serves up five different brews, including Yo La Mango IPA and Toubab Brewe, a Bavarian lager named after the locally based band. Aside from the company’s clever labels, the only thing that matters is how it tastes. “We take regular beer styles and add a twist. Nobody wants available breweries in Asheville producing the same beer without major flavor differences. We brew beers using multiple ingredients in such a way that all flavors can be savored in each pint,” Drew explains.
After Drew studied abroad across the pond in England, Scotland and Holland, he says it “opened up my eyes to quality beer.” When he returned, he stumbled upon the craft beer section of supermarkets and specialty stores. It’s a moment he remembers vividly. “I remember picking up a six-pack of Dixie Brewing Company’s Blacked Voodoo Lager. It had a very artistic graphic of a Bayou swamp. And the beer was just as artistically made. Right then and there, I knew I wanted to give craft brewing a try as a profession.”
He’s been brewing ever since and is most proud of the Antellebellum Ale — which includes molasses, ginger and spruce in its recipe. But when it comes to pick- ing his favorite brew he proclaims, “My favorite Craggie beer to drink is all of them.”