Brewers from Bryson City’s Nantahala Brewing Co. visited Tasty Beverage Co. on Tuesday, May 26, winning over a good number of new fans and cementing their status with longtime champions. The brewery’s flagship Noon Day IPA was on draft in addition to seasonal release Little Tennessee Logger and the exquisite bourbon barrel-aged Judaculla Russian imperial stout, easily one of the best of its style in all of North Carolina.
Judaculla is the seventh in Nantahala’s Trail Magic Ale series bottles and was joined by complimentary sample pours of its series brethren, each of which warrant snatching up if they are ever spotted on beer store shelves:
- No. 6, an American rye wine
- No. 9, a barleywine aged in cognac barrels
- No. 10, a tropically hopped abbey ale aged with plums
Also given out were tastes of the brewery’s celebrated chocolate-covered cherry stout, which I found a little watery on its own but became the beer it was destined to be with the aid of bourbon barrel aging, sips of which were blessedly granted as well.
Augmenting the experience was the company of head pilot brewer Greg Kidd, who sat down to chat and imbibe with attendees. Kidd’s work involves collaborating with the Nantahala staff and experimenting with creative new recipes on a one-barrel system, a quantity that he says is forgiving in the event of failures. Should a batch be to their liking, they can then scale up to the facility’s 10-barrel brewhouse.
Kidd also spoke about Nantahala’s significant new expansion – which includes multiple new tanks – and an upcoming collaboration with Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, Fla., all of which hint at big things to come for our neighbors to the west.