Patience is a virtue when it comes to brewing, and according to the Eurisko Beer Co. team, the same may be said of opening a brewery itself. A process that started two years ago is finally nearing completion, with beer currently being produced at the South Slope brewhouse and a grand opening for the adjacent taproom expected in January. Eurisko beers should start to appear on draft in Asheville and Charlotte as soon as late December.
Although the brewery was on track for a New Year’s Eve opening, the decision to delay the debut was driven by a desire to give drinkers the best possible introduction to Eurisko, according to owner and brewmaster Zac Harris.
“Trying to push the New Year’s thing would’ve been a nightmare,” says Harris. “I think, in general, having a better first impression is more important than having a big party on a night when people might not be focused on the beer. So I think doing a bigger, more elaborate opening later — and with a lot more beer — is a better way to start.”
Head brewer Zack Mason concurs, noting that the idea of opening before the beer was ready was never a consideration. Eurisko plans to have produced at least five 15-barrel batches of beer before the grand opening, along with a half-dozen or more small-batch beers on the brewery’s 1-barrel pilot system in order to meet initial demand and ensure that the brewery can supply all of its taps with house-brewed beer.
“We’ve got 10 taps upstairs, and we want to fill them,” says Mason. “We may tap some of our favorite beers from other breweries as things run out, but we want to open with Eurisko beers pouring.”
The first batch on the 15-barrel system was a simple farmhouse ale with one hops variety, one grain and one yeast strain, designed to have as few variables as possible to establish a baseline for quality control testing, according to Harris. While that batch might never be shared with the public, beers brewed for the opening on the large system will include a lager, a pale ale, an IPA and possibly a witbier, with small-batch stouts and barleywines produced concurrently on the pilot system.
Guests will have the chance to experience the upstairs taproom and outdoor beer garden at the grand opening, with the downstairs taproom expected to open later in the year. Updates on Eurisko’s opening date, as well as merchandise and links to relevant social media pages, can be found at euriskobeer.com.
The Whale Craft Beer Collective
Construction is proceeding briskly as the finishing touches are finally put in place at The Whale Craft Beer Collective on Haywood Road in West Asheville. The taproom and bottle shop, which was originally expected to open in October, is now slated to open the third week of December. And while the build-out has gone smoothly, owners Andrew Ross and Jesse Van Note are eager to invite the public into the finished space.
“Everything’s been moving along. Obviously, it’s taken a lot more time and work than we anticipated, but I think the end product is something everybody’s going to be super stoked on and super happy with,” says Van Note. “I can’t wait to have people come and hang out and drink a beer and feel they’re in something that’s like nothing else in Asheville.”
“We’re getting close, for sure,” adds Ross. “We anticipated opening in fall, and we’re still in fall technically. Construction takes time, but like Jesse said, we just want to make sure the final project is something we’re proud of and want to stand behind.”
Although the duo have declined to specify an exact opening date, all of the major fixtures and utilities are in place, including an elaborately inlaid bar and a 20-tap draft system. The Whale will feature a rotating selection of draft beers alongside a diverse wine list, with an extensive bottle list available for off-premise consumption. Spirits will not be available, though Van Note points out that the bar will also showcase a selection of fortified offerings as well as sake and mead.
Ross and Van Note credit much of The Whale’s progress to their general contractor, Jason Holtsclaw from Nail Guns for Hire. They also express appreciation for the support and guidance they’ve received from beer distributors, including longtime friends such as Kate Higgins of Tryon Distributors and new acquaintances like John McCarthy of Proof Wine and Spirits.
“As we’re building these relationships, everyone seems excited and sees what our vision is,” says Ross. “We’re looking forward to offering our clientele an experience that’s different from anything else in town.”
Eurisko Beer Co. is at 255 Short Coxe Ave. The Whale Craft Beer Collective is at 507 Haywood Road.