A true craft beer scene has developed in Fletcher since Blue Ghost Brewing Co. opened in March 2016. Taking its name from the famous blue ghost fireflies that light up Western North Carolina in late spring and early summer, the brewery was the first in its neck of the woods and quickly caught on with both locals and visitors.
“Since day one, the community has embraced us — both South Asheville and Fletcher,” says co-founder Erik Weber. “We have developed a core group of customers, but every weekend 20 percent of our customers have never been here before.”
Another big crowd will head to Blue Ghost on Saturday, June 24, for the Fletcher Firefly Festival. Last year’s debut event pulled about 1,500 visitors, according to Weber. The 2017 edition begins at 1 p.m. and will include the release of Toasted Coconut Blonde Ale; live music by the Freewheelin’ Mamas, Hustle Souls and Pleasure Chest; more than 20 arts and crafts vendors; and a children’s area that has a bounce house and face painting. Food will also be available for purchase.
The festival will be held in the newly opened Firefly Field at the brewery, a space Weber compares to the Meadow area at Highland Brewing Co. While the event itself has free admission, a wristband must be purchased to buy beer, proceeds from which will be donated to a fund to help build the new Fletcher Public Library.
From the get-go, Blue Ghost has been adding capacity and can now produce up to 800 barrels of beer annually. “Our first year, we would have been happy with 125 to 250 barrels,” Weber says, adding that the brewery usually has 11-12 house beers on tap. The most popular option has become the Grapefruit IPA (6.5 percent ABV), which Weber says was never intended to be a year-round brew.
Also on the current tap list is a year-round kolsch, a pale ale and an IPA, seasonal selections like Bearwallow Hoppy Blonde and watermelon kolsch, and limited releases such as Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout and English Brown Ale. Blue Ghost additionally has an alcohol-free house-made root beer and soft drinks, Bold Rock Hard Cider and wine.
Weber notes that the brewery has benefited from its proximity to the Asheville Regional Airport and several new hotels as well as Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Mills River and newer breweries in nearby South Asheville, including Sweeten Creek Brewing and Hillman Beer. The continued growth of craft brewing in the area “has been a good thing for everybody,” Weber says. “People want to know where the next closest brewery is. It’s nice to be part of the whole scene.”
The Fletcher Firefly Festival happens 1-10 p.m. Saturday, June 24, at Blue Ghost Brewing Co., 125 Underwood Road, Fletcher. Regular tasting room hours are 4-9 p.m., Monday-Thursday, 2-10 p.m. Friday, 1-10 p.m. Saturday and 1-8 p.m. Sunday. For details, visit blueghostbrewing.com.
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