Driving into downtown Black Mountain, it would have been easy to miss the old building at 131 Broadway Ave. For many years, it’s been empty. Before that, it was a laundromat, and for a while it was occupied by a prayer group.
But starting Friday, Aug. 3, its doors open for Black Mountain Brewing, the third brewery in this Buncombe County town. The scene there also includes Pisgah Brewing Co. and Lookout Brewing Co.
Black Mountain Brewing is the project of John Richardson, owner of the Black Mountain Ale House pub, and brewer Jeff “Puff” Irvin, director of the Craft Beverage Institute at A-B Tech. Rounding out the partnership is Matt Schwarz. The brewery has been planned for about two years, since shortly after Richardson and Irvin met.
“His wife sold me my house,” Richardson says. “[Starting a brewery] had always been something that intrigued me once I got the Ale House open. My wife said, ‘You need to meet this guy Puff.’ I kept kicking this idea around. It’s amazing how it’s worked out.”
According to Irvin, the project really fired up when the Broadway Avenue building was discovered. “Everybody always wondered what was in here,” says Richardson. “There were curtains across the windows. It was a puzzle. I got in here and thought, ‘This is it.'”
Renovations began on the building and a used brewing system was purchased in Upstate New York near the Canadian border. The brewhouse is a 5-barrel system with 10-barrel fermenters. The first beer cranked out was a stout, and it will be followed by a wheat beer, a pale ale and a cream ale.
“What I’d like to do is have some very sessionable things,” Irvin says. “I want people to come in, have a couple of beers and conversation and be safe to drive home. I can be as creative as I want. I will make what I think people want to drink.”
Irvin will continue to direct the Craft Beverage Institute at the A-B Tech Enka campus, regularly making the drive to Black Mountain to brew draft-only offerings with no plans for packaging. “We’re not going to distribute other than across the street to the Ale House,” Richardson says. “We may potentially have one [sales] location in Asheville.”
He adds that the brewery will eventually offer a limited menu from the Ale House.
Black Mountain Brewing is at 131 Broadway Ave. Tasting room hours are 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday and 2-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday. For more details, visit avl.mx/56p.