Allison Carr is only 23 years old, but she’s already making a mark on the local beer scene.
She worked at breweries in Durham and Charlotte before moving to Asheville and joining the team at UpCountry Brewing Co. There, she has made such beers as a dill gose, a coffee saison and a series of infused house brews.
“I have a list on my phone of flavor combinations that I want to put in beers,” Carr says. “That’s where my heart lies. I like to surprise people. I like to make beers that people haven’t had before.”
Carr grew up in Charlotte and is passionate about hiking. “I love the mountains,” she says. “I always had a dream of getting a brewing job in Asheville, but I never thought I would get here.”
A longtime cook and baker, Carr built on those interests by studying chemistry at UNC Chapel Hill. Despite a lack of homebrewing experience, she learned how to brew while working at Hyde Brewing in Charlotte and Durty Bull Brewing Co. in Durham.
“I originally intended to just be in a lab, but I wanted to do something that makes me happy,” Carr says. “I’ve always been a craft beer drinker, and I realized there is a lot of science in beer — and I followed that. I get to make something at the end of the day, which is really satisfying to me.”
Breaking into the Asheville scene, however, proved challenging. “It’s kind of hard in this industry as a young girl to have guys take you seriously,” she says. “I knew that I was going to brew. I didn’t want to do any other job.”
As for her hometown, Carr notes that while the Queen City’s craft brewing scene has experienced dramatic growth, its characteristics are distinct from Asheville’s.
“Charlotte attracts a different kind of person than here,” she says. “The beer culture there is about new lagers and IPAs. Up here, I think people are more attuned to more interesting flavor combinations. There are a lot of innovative [brewing] minds here. It’s an inspiring environment.”
Carr describes herself as “really passionate” about brewing. “I put a lot of myself into my beers,” she says. She’s also learned by working with head brewer Bryan Bobo and by brewing on the company’s pilot system. Her recent beers at UpCountry include a table bier, an elderflower saison and a Berliner weisse.