Brews News

The Thirsty Monk keeps bringing us unique cask brews. On Thursday, Nov. 18, join Hops and Vines store owner (and home brewer) Alex Buerckholtz as he taps a cask of his award-winning Death by Hops at the downtown Thirsty Monk. The brew won the 2010 Olde Hickory Pro-Am Brewing Competition hosted by Olde Hickory Brewery in Hickory, N.C. The Monk will also feature a “regular” keg of Death by Hops that night — until it runs dry.

Buerckholtz, whose Big Butte Smoked Porter won the 2009 Highland Cup hosted by Asheville’s own Highland Brewing Company, will talk home-brewing and beers starting at 6 p.m. Members of MALT (Mountain Ale and Lager Tasters — WNC’s home-brewing club) will be there too, drinking and signing up new members.

Then, on Tuesday, Nov. 23, the Thirsty Monk will tap a cask of Highland Brewing’s Cold Mountain Winter Ale. You may have already tasted this year’s version of Cold Mountain, but you know you want to try the cask version.

The Thirsty Monk is located at 92 Patton Avenue in downtown Asheville.

Green Man Brewery expanding after record year

The Green Man Brewery recently acquired two new 30-barrel fermenters and a new 30-barrel bright (conditioning) tank. This will almost double their beer output, which makes Brewmaster John Stuart happy. He says all of his existing fermenters have been in constant use, producing enough to meet the demand for the brewery’s flagship beers — the Green Man IPA, ESB and Porter. With the added tanks, Stuart and assistant brewer, Mike Karnowski, can create new products — like a line of high-gravity brews — and reintroduce the Green Man Pale Ale, which has been out of commission for a few months.

Green Man owner Dennis Thies calls their new high-gravity line the Rainmaker Series. So far, that line has included “The Truth” double IPA and the Red Star Imperial Stout. The Imperial Stout is back on in the tasting room, and soon a special rum barrel-aged Imperial Stout will be available — though probably only in the tasting room, as it will be limited to 56 gallons of rum-infused yumminess.

Green Man’s rum barrel has a history. Karnowski formerly worked for Celebration Distillery in New Orleans. He visited recently, and happened to walk in as his former colleagues were draining the rum barrel, which had been aging that liquor for 10 years. Before that, the barrel belonged to Heaven Hills Distilleries in Kentucky. Karnowski asked for the empty barrel, which he promptly drove back to Asheville and refilled with the freshly brewed Imperial Stout.

Stuart says the rum stout’s coming along nicely. We’ll let you know when it’s on draught. I’ll be bellying up to Green Man’s gorgeous new Ambrosia Maple bar that night for sure. Visit the brewery at 23 Buxton Ave.

Nantahala Brewing update

Chris and Cristina Collier, the spousal brewing team at Nantahala Brewing Company in Bryson City, N.C., report that their new Tasting Room is progressing. The bar is up, and while they still have a few more projects to complete, the couple hopes to open up soon.

In the meantime, they welcome anyone who wants to drop in during the weekends. These two spend most of every week working other jobs in Atlanta, then drive up to Bryson City on the weekends to brew like crazy and do much of the construction on the tasting room. NBC’s new ATX (Appalachian Trail Extra) Pale Ale will be out at the end of the month. Their delicious Eddy Out Stout, a chocolate-y American-style stout, is back on tap for the winter as well. Find NBC brews on draught all over WNC. The brewery is located at 87 Depot St. in Bryson City.

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