Make room at the table for the latest Asheville brewery. Hillman Beer opens Saturday, April 8, at 25 Sweeten Creek Road, pushing the Asheville-Buncombe brewery total to 34, with even more still to come.
The brewery, operated by Brad Hillman, his brother Greig Hillman, and Greig’s wife Brandi Hillman, will include the Rise Above Deli run by Brandon Murry. The deli will serve such classic foods as a Reuben sandwich, house-made sourdough bread, a smoked turkey sandwich and vegetarian items.
The brewery occupies the former Paparazzi’s bar and grill building on Sweeten Creek Road. The area, which is only two miles from Asheville’s busy South Slope brewing district and borders Biltmore Village and the Oakley community, is developing its own brewing scene. Sweeten Creek Brewing, French Broad Brewing, Catawba Brewing and the new Burial Beer Forestry Camp production facility and soon-to-be taproom are all nearby.
Brad Hillman, who will handle the brewing duties, has been testing and developing recipes for more than a year.“We are really excited to hear the buzz [about the brewery] around town and to let people taste our beers,” he says.
He previously lived in Charleston, S.C., and has worked in restaurants for most of his life. “We wanted to do a brewpub with a nice comfortable environment, a cool atmosphere and a cool vibe,” he says. “People here have proven that they love beer and going to breweries.”
The Rise Above Deli is a separate business from the brewery, but customers won’t notice the difference, says Murry, who previously ran the Rise Above Bread bakery and also worked at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge.
He joined the team through his friendship with the Hillman brothers. “I knew they were interested in putting out food, and I approached them about partnering up,” he says. “We are both focusing on what we are passionate about.”
His first step was making major renovations to the kitchen space, which he described as previously being in bad shape from the old Paparazzi’s days.
This is Murry’s first time in the deli business, but there are some similarities between his previous work and the new venture. “I would say that baking and doing pastries requires a skilled hand and an attention to detail, which does transfer to deli work,” he says.
Murry says he’ll be “doing everything” at the deli but has also hired three employees. “We are making all of our bread from scratch,” Murry says. “We are pickling the meats. My brisket for corned beef and pastrami sits in a salt brine for a week. I am doing things as traditionally as possible, but with my own twists.”
For those who want vegetarian options, Murry will have falafel, a tempeh Reuben and kale salad. “We are making pita breads in house and the chickpea batter from scratch.”
He is also sourcing ingredients locally and regionally — meats come from Hickory Nut Gap Farm and the tempeh from Smiling Hara. The flour is purchased from Lindley Mills in Graham.
Customers order food items at the Hillman Beer bar, where they can also get a brew. The deli and brewery will share a public space for eating and drinking.
The Rise Above name “just came to” Murry one day, he says. The band Black Flag has a song by that name, and the deli logo is also similar to the group’s logo, he said.
Hillman Beer has a 5-barrel brewing system with 10-barrel fermenters. The tasting room has inside seating for about 80, with outdoor picnic table seating for about another 80.
This weekend, Hillman will tap a half dozen of his beers, including a German kolsch, an ESB, an American brown ale, a Belgian pale ale, an IPA and a golden pale ale. Alcohol by volume ranges between 5 and 6.5 percent, he says. More beers are in the tanks, including a Belgian double and tripel.
The brewery has plenty of parking, including an on-site lot that can handle 35 cars, and there are other nearby lots that customers can use as well.
Brewery hours will be 4-10 p.m. Monday-Friday and noon-10 pm. Saturday and Sunday. The deli will be open during brewery hours and will eventually open for lunch, Hillman says.
Hillman Beer and Rise Above Deli are at 25 Sweeten Creek Road. For more details, visit hillmanbeer.com.