TRVE Brewing opens in former Eurisko location

HELLO, DARKNESS: In theming TRVE Brewing Co. as a metal brewery and making light of both industries’ less admirable elements, co-owner Nick Nunns, left, sought to “home in on the parts of the culture that we think are positive and bring positivity." Also pictured, from left, co-owners EJ Nunns and Zach Coleman. Photo courtesy of TRVE Brewing Co.

Mere months after Eurisko Beer Co. poured its last pint, TRVE Brewing Co. has moved into the South Slope brewery’s vacated space and is fully operational.

Launched in Denver in 2012, TRVE (pronounced “true”) has become familiar to certain Asheville-area craft beer drinkers over the past decade through multiple collaborations with Burial Beer Co. and via pouring at Wicked Weed Brewing’s Funk Invitational sour beer festival.

Owners of the heavy metal-themed brewery say the turnkey situation at 255 Short Coxe Ave. has been critical in allowing for an opening date of March 15.

“My ongoing joke is all we needed is black paint,” says co-owner/CEO Nick Nunns, who moved to Asheville with his wife, co-owner/COO EJ Nunns, in August. Head brewer Zach Coleman followed in December, less than a month after Eurisko left its home of six years.

Metal attractions

But first thing’s first: What’s up with that name?

A longtime heavy metal fan, Nick pulled the spelling from popular internet lingo that pokes fun at people who take metal culture too seriously. But the moniker felt appropriate in other ways as well.

“I always thought that there were a lot of parallels between the beer community and the metal community in that regard,” Nick says. “It’s a communal beverage that should not be the most hoity-toity, highbrow kind of experience all of the time, and traditionally is not that.”

In theming TRVE as a metal brewery and making light of both industries’ less admirable elements, Nick sought to “home in on the parts of the culture that we think are positive and bring positivity.”

Coleman, who joined the TRVE team shortly after the Denver taproom opened, also plays drums in doom rock band Khemmis, black/death group Black Curse and the punk/metal outfit Go Ahead and Die. He and Nick started the brewery with exclusively clean beers, then became known for their sour and mixed culture beers — as well as the metal ambiance, complete with choice tunes.

Meanwhile, EJ (aka Erin Jones) helped open Wicked Weed Brewing in 2012 as its brand manager, then became Burial Beer Co.’s marketing director from 2016-18. During her time at Wicked Weed, she met the TRVE team at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver and invited them to pour at Funk Invitational.

“Then I was like, ‘He’s handsome,’” EJ says Nick. “And then eventually Nick and I started dating and did long distance for a while. And it became clear that I was going to marry this guy, so I moved out to Colorado.”

Adds Nick, “Honestly, a lot of that dating is why I think Burial and TRVE have always been in the same circle. We would literally try to make sure that we were both invited to the same festivals.”

“It’s a love story,” EJ says, earning a laugh from Nick.

Double trouble

EJ describes Colorado and the greater Denver area as “one of the cradles of craft beer.” The state, she notes, is home to industry innovators such as New Belgium Brewing, Left Hand Brewing and Odell Brewing Co. Having now lived in both regions, she says that Asheville is leading the Southeast’s “craft beer charge” in many regards.

“They’re incredibly different [craft beer traditions], but the love and the appreciation for it is there,” she says. “That made it seem like a natural expansion step for us: Let’s go someplace where we know people are super into beer and educated on it and will appreciate what we’re doing.”

She adds that Asheville consumers are also looking for something a little different within craft beer and that TRVE fits the bill. Were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic, that synthesis would have happened a lot sooner.

In 2019, the TRVE team had a letter of intent to lease 99 Riverside Drive, just across the French Broad River from New Belgium’s Asheville location. But in Nick’s words, the global health crisis “cratered those plans.” The building is now home to Second Gear sports consignment shop.

After several other options fell through, TRVE made plans in February 2023 to move into the former Biltmore Body & Paint shop at 97 Thompson St. But it wasn’t meant to be, either.

“The short story is that the floodplain destroyed that plan and its feasibility. So, we navigated our way out of that right about the same time that this opportunity presented itself,” Nick says. “It really was weirdly serendipitous in terms of getting bad news from the city basically saying, ‘There’s no way you’re going to be able to pull this project off.’ And then this kind of fell in our lap, literally the day after we got that news.”

Once they learned that Eurisko owner/brewer Zac Harris was looking to sell his brewery, the TRVE team found what Nick calls “the best possible scenario.” EJ says her longtime pal Harris has great respect for TRVE and its reputation, which made the transaction an especially smooth one.

“It was also nice to just see a friend and reassure him that we’re going to honor the space and continue making good beers out of here,” EJ says. “So I think all that stuff culminated into finding Asheville to already feel like home. It certainly feels like home to me but for TRVE as a brewery as well.”

Back in black

TRVE’s Asheville expansion continues the tradition of breweries moving into spots recently vacated by industry peers. The trend dates to 2013 when Hi-Wire Brewing took over the former Craggie Brewing Co. location on Hilliard Avenue. And the latest entry has Coleman elated to be brewing on the system that Harris included in the deal.

“It’s got a lot more process controls than what we have in Denver,” Coleman says. “It’s definitely a step up and it’s going to let us dial in beers further.”

He notes that brewing with local ingredients has been a longtime focus for TRVE, and he’s committed to using 100% North Carolina-grown barley. While TRVE will make specific new clean and mixed culture beers for its Asheville taproom, some of the core lineup will also be brewed. But as is already evident from tastings of the first batch of Tunnel of Trees, its flagship West Coast IPA, flavors will vary from location to location.

“I feel like beer should be an expression of the place where it’s made,” Coleman says. “It’s really exciting to be able to do that here and to explore that ingredient base. [The Asheville area doesn’t provide] everything as far as the ingredient side, but it [has] a big chunk of it.”

Another ingredient the area provides is heavy metal, and TRVE hopes to help grow that community. In early January, the brewery collaborated on a show featuring Harsh Realm and Cave Grave at Eulogy, Burial’s new music venue. And on Saturday, May 11, the band Wayfarer — featuring TRVE events coordinator Shane McCarthy on vocals and guitar — will perform there.

At the taproom itself, EJ says the metal focus is primarily intended to signal inclusivity. “The metal community kind of tends to be full of some outcasts, and I think [Nick, Zach and I] know what that is and feels like. So just offering people a space that looks a little different, but it’s also a safe space that we work really hard to vanguard and don’t put up with sh*t from people who are just straight full of hate,” she says.

“This is a city that highly values [inclusivity]. We’re happy to be part of a company that is already excelling in that and just making it clear that we’re another space that is welcoming and here for everybody.”

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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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