BEER SCOUT: Twin Leaf brewery

DREAM TEAM: Husband-and-wife team Tim and Steph Weber are about to realize their college dream of opening their own brewery: Twin Leaf is set to open in early March. Photo by Nick King

When you walk into the Twin Leaf space, it’s clear that the brewing system is the pride and joy. The 10-barrel setup is the first thing you notice. While the rest of the wood-filled taproom is subdued, the brewery tanks shine golden in the evening light. It will no doubt be the envy of many startup breweries, and certainly of the average homebrewer.

It’s everything you would expect from an operation headed by two former engineers starting a brewery in their retirement. But Tim and Steph Weber, the husband-and-wife co-owners, aren’t exactly retired. They’re pushing 30.

“We had the dream of opening a brewery in college, but it was a pipe dream for when we retired,” says Steph. “Then we got engineering jobs and were miserable. So we fast-tracked the brewery idea and signed up to go to brewing school.”

The couple attended the American Brewers Guild and never looked back. “We’ve been working on this dream for eight years,” says Steph. “Tim was a mechanical design engineer, and I was a software engineer, so we sort of transitioned those skills to brewing — he’s still the equipment guy, and I handle the recipes,” says Steph.

“We’ve brewed 282 batches together, and it’s really a partnership — we’re the two leaves in Twin Leaf.”

The Tasting Room

The other part of the Twin Leaf name comes from the couples’ love of the outdoors. They hike, kayak, run and generally enjoy all the Asheville area has to offer.

“We want to bring that into the taproom with a rustic, outdoorsy look,” says Steph. “We’ve made the bar out of wood. … There’s more [wood] on the walls, and Tim’s made four of the tables out of more wood. We hope he’ll have time to make the rest!”

Across from the bar, there will be a wall filled with trail maps of the region. Overhead there’s a Big Ass Fan (same brand as similar ones at the Orange Peel and Highland Brewing). And to the right of the bar there’s that beautiful brewing system.

In full display, with just a half-height wall separating it from the taproom, the brewery will often be operational while the taproom is open. However, it’s enough of a separation so that there are no safety concerns. “We have a 2-year-old son, Jake, and a 3-year-old dog, so this will definitely be a kid- and dog-friendly brewery,” says Steph.

The Twin Leaf beers

At Twin Leaf, the owners will eventually have up to 16 taps flowing exclusively with Twin Leaf beers. The opening lineup will be only slightly more modest, with a tentative dozen Twin Leaf beers on tap. Serving sizes will vary depending on the beer, with lower-gravity beers coming in 16-ounce nonic (British-style) glasses or willi glasses (the angular kind Craggie used) and higher-gravity offerings in 10-ounce Belgian tulips. The cost will vary by beer, but the average should be about $4 per pour, according to the Webers.

While some of the beers had been brewed, at press time none were yet finished and ready to serve. However, the couple provided descriptions of what to expect on opening day:
• White Noise Belgian Wit (5-6 percent ABV): “The Wit is our most approachable beer. It’s a big crowd pleaser since it’s light with a little bit of spice and orange.”
• Dark Matter Oatmeal Stout (5-6 percent ABV): “This is a recipe we worked a long time to perfect. It’s very full-bodied for its ABV.”
• Uproot ESB (5-6 percent ABV): “Our ESB is a really well-rounded beer. There are notes of chocolate and a little bit of caramel.”
• Luminosity Tripel (10 percent ABV): “This will be the one people go nuts over. It’s usually about 10 percent alcohol but it doesn’t taste like it at all. It is just delicious and sneaky.”
• 144 IPA, Code Name: Juicy Fruit (6-7 percent ABV): “For hops we use Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo and Citra, so this beer is a juicy fruit bomb. We make most of our IPAs on the drier side to bring out the hops.”

In addition to those five house beers, the Webers say to expect plenty of experimentation. “We make a lot of Belgian beers, IPAs and really good stouts,” says Steph. “We’ll constantly be brewing new beers.”

At the opening, the Webers plan to serve Schism Belgian Stout, an unnamed Imperial IPA, Double Helix Belgian Blonde, a Grand Cru, a “Burlywine” and a Mexican Chocolate Stout (with cocoa nibs, cinnamon, and chilies).

Twin Leaf is planning to open at 144 Coxe Ave. the first or second week of March. The brewery will be open weekdays 4-10 p.m. or 4-11 p.m. and weekends 2-10 p.m. or 2-11 p.m. Check Twin Leaf’s Facebook page or website for the opening date and details:


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

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