Asheville’s newest brewery is just a hop away from busy Tunnel Road, but it seems like it’s in another world.
Tucked at the dead end of sleepy Thompson Street along the banks of the Swannanoa River, hidden on a shady lot behind a vine-covered chain-link fence, is the creatively named Brouwerïj Cursus Kĕmē brewery, which officially opens Friday, July 13, with a lineup of IPAs. As it develops, Brouwerïj Cursus Kĕmē will turn out a large variety of ale and lager styles.
“It feels like a hideaway back here,” says brewmaster Jeffrey Horner.
The brewery is owned by Horner and his wife Jessica Horner, who have been working on the project for the past two years. Along with trusted employee Tucker Lee, they’ve transformed an old tractor-trailer repair shop into a beer garden and brewery with custom-made equipment, including a wooden mash tun and a wood-fired brew kettle. It’s the 33rd brewery in Buncombe County, not counting companies with multiple locations.
Horner has 19 years of professional brewing experience. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, he studied physics and food and wine in college. “Looking back, it was a good decision,” he says. “What we do as brewers, half of it is hard science, and the other half is culinary art.”
In eyeing a home for the brewery, Horner says he and his family “were looking for a beercentric community.” They considered potential locations around North America and as far away as New Zealand before settling on Asheville.
The name of the brewery comes from multiple sources. “Brouwerïj” is Flemish for “brewery,” “cursus” is Latin for “courses” and “kĕmē” alludes to the historical mysteries related to brewing prior to our modern understanding of science (i.e., alchemy).
“Humans have been making beer for thousands of years, and it goes through these cycles, or courses, as technology advances or tastes change. It’s fun to look back through history and see all these courses of brewing,” Horner says. “Brouwerïj Cursus Kĕmē honors historic brewing tradition while playing an active role in its current course.”
As far as beer styles go, Horner says visitors “can pretty much expect to see every style,” made using grain from Riverbend Malt House. “I like their product, approach and the fact that it’s local,” he says.
The beers will only be sold and poured at the brewery with no distribution or packaging. “I’m not going to take shelf space from Sierra Nevada [Brewing Co.] or New Belgium [Brewing Co.],” Horner says. “That’s not our business model. As long as people have an enjoyable experience here, I don’t see why they wouldn’t want to come back.”
Brouwerïj Cursus Kĕmē is at 155 Thompson St. Tasting room hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Sunday. For more details, visit cursuskeme.com.