Wedge Brewing opened its doors in 2008, and those doors have since spent most afternoons propped ajar by the lines of beer lovers waiting for a taste of brewer Carl Melissas’ beers.
Both Tim Schaller and Carl Melissas had been kicking around Asheville for a few years — Schaller as a home renovator and Melissas as head brewer for Green Man Brewing — but it took the two of them combining their powers to create beer magic in the form of Wedge Brewing Company.
Eclectic artist and inventor John Payne and Schaller liked to throw down both beers and ideas at Green Man Brewing, and between beers there and coffee at the River Arts District’s Clingman Café, they came up with the idea of putting a brewery in the basement level of the Wedge building, then owned by Payne. Naturally, the brewery would also sport the Wedge moniker.
“I liked the laid back scene at Dirty Jack’s. I loved Carl’s beers and I liked the artistic, community environment Payne was creating down in the RAD,” Schaller says.
Schaller says he originally envisioned a tiny tasting room with a few old guys sitting around drinking good beer and telling tales. The tasting room is pretty small, but since opening in 2008, Schaller has upgraded much of the outdoor space to sup- port the multitudes who show up on the Wedge’s doorstep every afternoon for a taste of one of Melissas’ beers. The beers run the gamut from a strong Belgian (Golem) to a hop-forward IPA (Iron Rail) to a crisp Pilsner (Julian Price Pils).
Melissas blames his obsessive-compulsive cleanliness for the popularity and consistency of his brews. “I’m pretty fanatical,” he says. Thank, Ninkasi, the Sumerian Goddess of beer, for that.