Beer scout: Oskar Blues launches its first off-site project in WNC

RANCH-STYLE: Oskar Blues will refurbish many of the original buildings on the property of its REEB Ranch in Hendersonville for use as guest lodgings. Photo courtesy of Oskar Blues

In Colorado, Oskar Blues has plenty of side projects. There’s CHUBurger, which is its take on a fast-casual burger joint. There’s Cyclhops, a bike cantina, where the brewer combines a taco and tequila restaurant with REEB Cycles, its own brand of bikes. There’s the Bonewagon, a smokehouse on wheels. And Oskar Blues even has a farm, dubbed Hops & Heifers, where it grows hops and raises cows on spent brewing grain for the restaurants.

Some speculated that here in WNC, Oskar Blues would soon have an eatery in Brevard to complement the brewery. Oskar Blues Brevard spokesperson Anne-Fitten Glenn says, “We’d love to have a restaurant in Western North Carolina, because full food and beverage hospitality is where we come from, but we’re still looking for the best location. What’s next for Oskar Blues is the Oskar Blues REEB Ranch!”

What is a REEB Ranch? To start, it’s a 145-acre farm about eight miles from Oskar Blues Brevard, located at 315 Shoals Farm Road in Hendersonville. It will include dedicated space to grow hops, pasture land for cows (fed on spent brewing grain, of course), a music and event space, and a paradise for cyclists.

On the bike-riding side of things, Oskar Blues REEB Ranch will partner with The Bike Farm, an existing bike guide/concierge service owned by Cashion Smith and Eva Surls. Together with the REEB Ranch, The Bike Farm will create a site that provides a “world-class biking destination for the whole family,” says Glenn. “It will offer a bike park and direct trail access to Dupont’s miles of single track.”

While the costs to participate are not finalized, Smith says, “A pay-to-play structure will be in place. This will include day passes, week passes, weekend passes and season passes. There will also be a ‘dig-to-ride’ program for locals who want to work off their access via volunteer hours.”

In addition to the bike park and trails, Oskar Blues’ own brand of hand-built cycles, REEB, will have a fleet of mountain bike and dirt-jumping models available for demo at the ranch.

While rides are rolling from the ranch already, the dirt track is still a work in progress, according to Smith. However, it seems like a safe-bet the track will be finished in time for the Red Bull Dreamline, a BMX competition in October. Oskar Blues has not yet confirmed it’s hosting the event at the ranch, but the Red Bull website lists the ranch as the site of the event.

The ranch is a prime space for just this type of larger event, as well as festivals and live music, as it has a couple of options for staying the night built right in. There’s a 1940s cabin, an apartment on top of a barn and plenty of space for pitching your own tent. “The barn apartment can sleep up to six, as can the waterfall cabin. … We can easily accommodate a hundred tent or car campers,” says Smith.



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About Thom O'Hearn
Thom O’Hearn is a writer, book editor and homebrewer. Twitter: @thomohearn

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