It is no secret that little pockets of craft brewing have emerged around Buncombe County in recent years. Beyond downtown, Weaverville, Black Mountain and Fairview all have their local beer scenes, as does Woodfin, where Zillicoah Beer Co. operates near ginger beer brewery Ginger’s Revenge.
This fall, Riverside Rhapsody Beer Co. has been making its own mark down the road from its Woodfin neighbors. Specializing in IPAs and Belgian-style brews, the operation comes from brewers Mike Vanhoose and Joey Cagle, who’ve been on the scene since 2012, turning out beer for Blue Mountain Pizza and Brew Pub in Weaverville. They’ll continue to contract brew for Blue Mountain while running their own brewery, the formation of which has long been their ultimate goal.
“We’ve been putting money aside so we would have enough capital to buy our own place,” Vanhoose says. “We’ll have a little more freedom to experiment and have our own identity.”
The move means a step up from Blue Mountain’s 2-barrel system to a 7-barrel setup at Riverside Rhapsody. The limited space at Blue Mountain also resulted in small batches of primarily ales, but the new spot will allow the brewers to expand their repertoire.
“This lets us move into lagers, sour beer and barrel aging,” Vanhoose says.
He and Cagle chose Woodfin — which Vanhoose calls “a developing area”— for its proximity to Weaverville and Asheville. The brewery building was formerly a consignment store and has about 20 parking spots with overflow parking also available. The taproom is currently open Friday-Sunday, but hours will expand in spring.
Riverside Rhapsody has nine taps of its own beers, including stouts, IPAs and saisons. About 70% of the brewery’s creations will be sold in-house with the remainder of its production entering distribution. A crowler machine will be installed in spring.
Riverside Rhapsody pushes the number of brewing companies to almost 40 in Buncombe County, not including the handful of breweries that operate more than one location.
Riverside Rhapsody Beer Co. is at 995 Riverside Drive. Tasting room hours are 2-9 p.m. Friday, noon-9 p.m. Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday. For more details, visit riversiderhapsody.com.