Four years in the making, Triskelion Brewing Co. will open at 340 Seventh Ave. in Hendersonville on Sunday, Dec. 31. The city’s fourth brewery is owned by the husband-and-wife team of Becky and Jonathan Ayers, both of whom also handle the brewing.
A Western North Carolina resident since 1994, Jonathan Ayers spent the last 20 years working in the construction industry. In 2013, he decided to change careers and, having enjoyed homebrewing for nearly six years, began to investigate what it would take to properly turn his passion into a profession.
Around that time, Blue Ridge Community College’s Brewing, Distilling and Fermentation program had just started. Ayers signed up for every night class the college offered one semester, aced them all and went on to earn his degree along with seven other certifications. With formal education and training at Oskar Blues Brewery acquired, Ayers decided he definitely wanted to keep brewing.
“Now that I understand brewing, and I understand brewing at professional level, you get to ask yourself, ‘What direction am I going to go in as a company?’” he says. “You can keep it kind of small and interesting, or you can shoot for the moon — or you can try and do something in between, and in between is kind of where I think eventually the future of craft beer is going to go, so I’m kind of going in that direction anyway.”.
True to the brewery’s name, which comes from the Greek word meaning “three legs,” Ayers plans to honor the past, present and future of brewing with Triskelion’s 7-barrel small-batch beers. His BRCC education imbued him with a respect for brewing certain beers true to style, but he also enjoys current trends like New England IPAs as well as constantly looking ahead for something new.
As such, among the “magnificent seven” Triskelion beers available at the grand opening is Angel Taint, an unusual tart raspberry ale created by Becky Ayers that Jonathan describes as “not overly bitter or sour, but full of flavor and character and low in alcohol.” Also on tap will be an Argentinian IPA, a style to which he says America hasn’t been very responsive. Ayers discovered the variety in the back of the Beer Judge Certification Program style guide alongside other lost and historical brews and thought it sounded fabulous and unlike any IPA he’d had.
Until the brewery’s taproom is completed in April or May, visitors will be able to sample Triskelion’s diverse portfolio — initially running the gamut from a light lager to an Imperial Breakfast Coffee Stout — in a temporary tasting room inside the brewhouse. In that space, with the other half occupied by brewing equipment, Ayers says Triskelion will only be open Thursday through Saturday “because when we’re in here brewing, there’s nowhere for you to be, it’s so tight.”
The forthcoming taproom, however, will have a completely different feel. The separate two-story building has close to 5,000 usable square feet inside and out. The exterior will have a bier garden with sofa and bar seating, an outdoor stage and places for children and pets.
The 1,800-square-foot upstairs’ main feature, which Ayers says he “fought long and hard to keep,” is a complete bar that will be available to rent in four-hour blocks — bartender included — for a total of $30. As the only place in the brewery that will have televisions, it will be available to be booked as many as three times per day during the operating hours of noon to midnight.
He hopes to attract businesses to hold training seminars in the space as well as encourage the community to host birthday parties and other private gatherings. “People are always looking for places that are inexpensive to have small group functions, and it’s just hard to find a place that’s not charging $500 or $600, and that’s what that place is for,” Ayers says.
Also in Triskelion’s future is plenty of room to expand. Despite its tight quarters, the brewhouse has space for a second boil kettle (necessary for multibatch productions), and a second round of vessels that will increase its brewing capacity to seven 7-barrel tanks and eight 14-barrel tanks with a spot left over for a canning line with its own private labeler.
The expensive high-tech, computer-controlled equipment will give Ayers the kind of precision and repeatability needed for production. He plans to sell cans through the taproom to start, then look at other distribution avenues. The facility will also do some barrel-aging, but if sours make their way to the taps, he says it won’t be for a while.
As Triskelion establishes itself in the Hendersonville community, Ayers also hopes that the brewery will help revitalize Seventh Avenue, which he says has long had a bad reputation. After years of hearing people say the area would improve but not seeing any action taken to change it, he committed to housing his business there. Once he broke ground, Marco’s Pizza announced it was opening a location almost next door to Triskelion. Since then, another new brewery has revealed that it’s coming to that side of town, and a bar specializing in brandies will open down the street in early 2018.
“All it takes is one person sometimes to step forward in that community and go, ‘I want things to be different and I’m going to put my money where my mouth is,’ and then other people go, ‘I’m going to follow that guy,’” Ayers says. “That’s kind of what we’re going to do. We’re going to change Seventh Avenue down here. This is going to be a place for art and beer and culture. That’s what I want to see.”
Triskelion Brewing Co.’s grand opening is Sunday, Dec. 31, 4 p.m.-2 a.m. The brewery is at 340 Seventh Ave., Hendersonville. For details, visit triskelionbrewing.com.