When it comes to new breweries in the Asheville area, delayed openings are almost an expectation. Permit holdups, equipment malfunctions and slow construction are all constant hiccups on the road to opening day and that first pour.
Just don’t tell that to Erik Weber and Zach Horn, co-owners of Fletcher’s Blue Ghost Brewing Co. Blue Ghost was ahead of its admittedly vague target launch date of “spring 2016” when it hosted a grand opening celebration March 4-6.
“We couldn’t be more excited to share with everyone what our families have put so much work into,” Weber says. “It feels surreal to finally be at this stage.”
Weber and Horn followed through on their plans to make Blue Ghost a family- and pet-friendly neighborhood hangout. The brewery also has games for children and eventually will have a house-brewed root beer on tap.
With the brewery’s debut, Horn and Weber unveiled Blue Ghost’s four flagship beers — an IPA, a stout, a blonde and a pale ale — along with several specialty brews they’ve been hard at work perfecting on the brewery’s 1.5-barrel system.
The building was an empty shell when the pair found it, but Weber says it had “all the bones we really need” when they started work on it six months ago. He and Horn, along with their families, poured countless hours of work into transforming the building to meet their vision — including constructing the bar and seating with their own hands.
But, of course, no project like this is ever finished. The men are planning to expand with a gourmet pizza restaurant and graduation to a 7-barrel system by early 2017.
Blue Ghost Brewing is at 125 Underwood Road, Fletcher.
Green Man opens Greenmansion
Speaking of expansion, Green Man Brewery’s new 20,000-square-foot South Slope facility, Greenmansion, opens to the public on St. Patrick’s Day — Thursday, March 17. The holiday is of special significance to the company since it released its first bottles on that date in 2013. For the launch, the brewery will host a costume competition and encourages guests to dress up as their interpretation of the legendary Green Man.
The new facility includes a top-floor tasting room overlooking the production area, a sidewalk patio with two fire pits and a bottle shop and merchandise retailer on the ground floor. Green Man’s original South Slope taproom, nicknamed Dirty Jack’s, will continue to be open daily.
The new location is the brewery’s third expansion since opening in 1997 as a small brewpub in downtown Asheville and comes hot on the heels of its recent increase in distribution to Florida.
The Greenmansion is at 27 Buxton Ave. next door to Dirty Jack’s.
Pisgah Brewing Co. celebrates 11 years
On Sunday, April 17, Pisgah Brewing Co. will host an 11-year anniversary bash featuring Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, TAUK and the Marcus King Band.
Tickets are on sale for a modest $11 — one dollar for each “year we have been lucky enough to remain open, doing what we love, making beautiful beer for beautiful people,” according to the event page. A $30 Hopster VIP ticket is also available, which includes a guided brewery tour and tasting, preferred parking, a commemorative poster and access to a private viewing area, private bar and private port-a-lets.
Out of each ticket sold, $1 will benefit ArtSpace Charter School. In December, the school suffered extensive damage when heavy rain collapsed a nearby bank, flooding the building with a mudslide.
Pisgah Brewing has grown into one of the area’s premier music venues and most recognizable brands since its humble beginnings on a 10-barrel system (without a taproom) more than a decade ago.
Tickets are available at pisgahbrewing.com.
Beer City Festival 2016 tickets available
The seventh annual Beer City Festival kicks off Asheville Beer Week on Saturday, May 28. The festival, which runs 1-6 p.m., transforms downtown Asheville’s Roger McGuire Green into a celebration of local beer, with live music and more than 32 breweries pouring.
Tickets are $45 and include a tasting mug and unlimited samples from participating breweries, all of which are members of the Asheville Brewers Alliance. A portion of ticket sales benefits the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina.
Tickets are available at beercityfestival.com. Designated driver tickets will be on sale at the event for $25.
Asheville Beer Week 2016 runs May 27–June 4.
Hi-Wire partners with Foothills Meats
Hi-Wire’s Big Top Brewery will soon be serving more than craft beer as it partners with Foothills Local Meats to open a deli in the Biltmore Village taproom. Foothills South Slope deli at Ben’s Tune Up served its last meals on March 4 in preparation for the move to the Biltmore Avenue space.
Hi-Wire owner Chris Frosaker, who says the he has been looking for a food partner for the Big Top since the facility opened last July, calls Foothills the “perfect match.” The new deli is shooting for a mid-March opening starting with a dinner menu available during the Big Top’s regular hours, which are 4-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-midnight Fridays, noon-midnight Saturdays and 1-10 p.m. Sundays. However, Foothills owner Casey McKissick says he’s planning to add lunch hours as spring rolls in.
“I couldn’t be more excited about feeding people at Hi-Wire’s Big Top,” McKissick says. “The production facility is mesmerizing, and the taproom is comfortable, friendly and fun.”
Hi-Wire Brewing Co.’s Big Top is at 2 Huntsman Place off Biltmore Avenue.