It’s a busy time for craft brewing in Western North Carolina, with a handful of new breweries opening in and around Asheville. The latest to join the scene is Turgua Brewing Co., which is now pouring beers at its tasting room at 31 Firefly Hollow Drive in Fairview.
Owner and brewer Phil Desenne says Turgua focuses on making “unique” beers featuring locally sourced ingredients. The brewery opened with a golden rye made with organic malt, most of which was sourced from Riverbend Malt House. He’s following with a porter, a red ale and a turmeric ale, all brewed with “crystal-clear” well water from his 5-acre farm.
Desenne has plans in place to work with a local organic farmer farmer to source such ingredients as paw-paws and sour cherries for his brews. “My partner farmer is putting in a hops yard and fruit trees,” he says. The hops will include Cascade, Centennial and Columbus varieties.
The brewery has a small indoor tasting room and more seating at an “outdoor space where people can walk around and enjoy nature,” he says. The business is named after the area of Venezuela where Desenne was born. With a career in educational technology behind him, this is his first commercial brewery venture, but he has a great deal of experience in homebrewing.
He was attracted to Western North Carolina for its thriving craft beer scene, he says, which now has more than 60 breweries around the mountains, about half of them in Asheville or Buncombe County. Desenne notes that he was particularly drawn to Fairview, where that community’s first brewery, Whistle Hop, opened earlier this year. “There is a big population here that loves craft beer and doesn’t want to drive into Asheville to get one,” he says. “And there’s a lot of tourism that comes through the area.”
Desenne says he’s glad to have Whistle Hop as a brewing neighbor. “I look forward to serving their beers,” he says. For now, Turgua beers are available only at the brewery, but he has plans for some limited area distribution. “We will see what the traffic is,” he says.
Beyond Whistle Hop, other area breweries that have opened recently include Habitat, Ginger’s Revenge and the Wedge expansion site. Still to come are Hillman Beer, the White Labs yeast factory (which will include a brewery) and Archetype in West Asheville.
Turgua Brewing Co. is at 31 Firefly Hollow Drive, Fairview. Hours are 4-7 p.m. Thursday, 4-9 p.m. Friday, 1-8 p.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday. For details, visit turguabrewing.com.
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