Asheville Beer Week: Go west, young beer nerd

BAR TALK: Tasty Beverage Co. employee – and Mountain Xpress film critic – Scott Douglas (black shirt) and Nantahala Brewing Co. head pilot brewer Greg Kidd (green shirt) discuss the finer points of an Ivy League education while ordering a beer at the Tasty bar. Photo by Edwin Arnaudin

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.

About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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