Following the dog days of August, there always seems to be a surge of September energy. Kids go back to school, tomatoes burst on the vine and small businesses, including craft breweries, start gathering acorns for the winter. OK, they’re more likely to be gathering hops and malts and brewing loads of beer and cleaning and making changes and expanding. Same general idea. And, as usual, this flurry of activity is happening all over Beer City, USA, and includes some exciting brews news.
Oyster House Brewing to move into Haywood Road space, become stand-alone brewpub
West Asheville just gained another feather in its funky cap — and it’s a salty, sudsy one.
Brothers Billy and Jim Klingel will open The Oyster House, a stand-alone brewpub, at 625 Haywood Road (where Viva Deli was until recently). Billy, brewer and founder of Oyster House Brewing Company, is relocating to the west side. Until now, the brewery was housed inside The Lobster Trap Restaurant in downtown Asheville. The new location should open its doors by January 2013.
Jim is an experienced restaurant industry professional and will oversee the food part of the brewpub equation, while Billy will continue as brew master (brewpubs, by definition, include restaurants and breweries in the same space). Jim's most recent restaurant gig has been as chef of The Trailhead Restaurant in Black Mountain. He has also worked for The Laughing Seed Café.
Billy, a Lobster Trap bartender/manager and longtime home brewer, started Oyster House almost four years ago with a system that lets him brew only 14 or so gallons at a time — keeping him brewing at a brisk pace to keep up with the demand just in The Lobster Trap. In the new brewery, he'll be able to produce three and a half barrels at a time, thus significantly increasing his production (one barrel equals 31 gallons). Billy’s Moonstone Oyster Stout, a creamy concoction that contains five pounds of fresh oysters in every 14-gallon batch, has garnered him both national recognition and a strong local following.
Billy says his plan has always been to break out and establish the brewery separate from the restaurant. He says the owners and staff at The Lobster Trap are supportive of his endeavor.
“I’ll still supply The Lobster Trap with as much beer as I can,” he says.
The Oyster House brewpub will offer 15 taps of “incredible craft beer, including as many of my own taps as possible,” Billy adds.
The food menu hasn’t been finalized, but will include, obviously, lots of oysters.
The Klingel brothers have been looking for the right space for a couple of months and signed the lease on the Haywood Road building on Aug. 30 — Billy’s 38th birthday.
In addition to the Moonstone, Billy’s regular beers include Oyster House IPA, Patton Ave Pale, Dirty Blonde and Upside Down Brown.
Klingel lives in West Asheville with his family, and he’s thrilled with the location of the brewpub, which he can walk to easily.
“Those of us who live in West Asheville don’t really like to leave West Asheville,” he says, laughing. “Also, those beepers they have at Sunny Point will reach across the street. You can come over and have beer, mimosas and oysters while you wait.”
The Oyster House will become the second brewery to open in West Asheville in a matter of months. Altamont Brewing Company, several blocks toward Patton Avenue on Haywood, has almost finished installing its brewery equipment and will be brewing as soon as its final licenses are approved. “It’ll be great to have another spot to try beer and eat good food in West Asheville,” says Altamont co-owner and brewer Gordon Kear. Look for Altamont Brewing beers in late September.
Wicked Weed brings Dogfish Head brewer to Asheville
Eric Leypoldt, who was a brewer with Dogfish Head Brewery from February 2011 until just last week, will be joining the Wicked Weed Brewing team. Wicked Weed Brewing will open a brewery, taproom and gastropub at 91 Biltmore Ave., possibly as early as December.
"Eric knows his equipment and he knows his beer," Wicked Weed co-owner Walt Dickinson says. “We’re really excited to get him down here.”
Eric Leypoldt visited Asheville recently and brewed a couple of beers at Craggie Brewing Company for Wicked Weed with Walt and Luke Dickinson (the brewing brothers who co-own Wicked Weed, along with three members of the Guthy family). Some of the beers the guys brewed, including a Russian Imperial Stout and an Imperial Amber, will be available to taste at Brewgrass on Sept. 15. Much of the beer will be aged in bourbon barrels for the brewery’s grand opening celebration (date to be announced).
Leypoldt received an international diploma in brewing technology from The Seibel Institute in Chicago and Doemens Academy in Munich, Germany, before working for Dogfish Head.
He says the Wicked Weed team will focus on brewing West Coast-style beers, such as hoppy IPAs, as well as Belgian-style beers.
“Asheville has an amazing beer culture,” Leypoldt says. “I’m excited about getting down there and getting to work and brewing some beer.”
One World Brewing: Community-Supported Brewery to open in Leader Building
Brewer Jay Schutz recently announced that One World Brewing will open in spring 2013 in the basement of the Leader Building at 10 Patton Ave. The Farm Burger Restaurant will open on the street level around the same time.
Schutz plans to start a community supported brewery, where members will pay $40 per month and get four to five growlers of different beer in return, plus $3 pints in the One World Taproom (when it opens). In the meantime, he will offer work/trade days where anyone can volunteer to help with the construction for beer credit. Although he’ll initially be brewing on a one-barrel system, Schutz says he wants to offer home brewers the opportunity to come in and brew at One World as well. “If I like their beer, I’ll sell it in the taproom for sure,” he says. He’ll also be brewing some special beers specifically to pair with certain of the restaurant’s burgers (in hopes that Farm Burger will keep some his brews on tap).