Pisgah is most famous for its Pale Ale, which makes up 90 percent of its production. The taps in the tasting room represent 40 different beers.
The Pisgah Brewing logo.
Brent Ludwig, one of five employees of the brewery, led the tour we took this past Saturday. We got a beer from the tasting room (I got the Blueberry Wheat), and followed Brent through the building that used to house a federally subsidized company that made school desks.
Jason Caughman and Mark Thompson came up with the idea of Pisgah seven years ago in Folly Beach, where they were part of the local home brewers guild. They realized they needed to be in a location with people who were into craft beer and valued organic, so they chose the Asheville area and discovered Black Mountain.
Their only marketing plan was a few friends they had in the area. “Their friends told their friends, who told their friends,” Brent said. “It kept going like that until four months later when we had about 500 people every Thursday evening lining up here at the brewery to get the beer.”
Pisgah Brewing distributes only locally and doesn’t do any bottling, other than growlers (which, interestingly, you can find in local Ingles stores as well as independently-owned shops and restaurants, including Asheville’s The Thirsty Monk). “It’s been nuts watching this place grow,” Brent said. “We’ve been featured nationally, in USA Today and Beer Advocate. It’s been really cool.”
Although they brew 40 different beers, Pisgah is most famous for its Pale Ale, which makes up 90 percent of its production. Plans are set to build a separate brew house that will house just Pale Ale because the demand is so high.
Pisgah Brewing is environmentally and socially responsible. They use local farms to supply their ingredients whenever possible, and all ingredients in the beer that comes from other countries are all Fair Trade certified.
I recommend going to Pisgah Brewing on a Saturday. They give tours at 2 and 3 each Saturday, and it’s a good time to relax and enjoy the outdoor seating or cozy up to the long bar in the tasting room.
Definitely try the Pale Ale, which is an American style that’s got a good balance of hops and malts and is pleasant and incredibly fresh. All of the beers I tried from Pisgah were incredibly fresh and refreshing, actually. Must be the organic factor. I’d skip the Blueberry Wheat, just because it isn’t very flavorful. It’s not bad, but Pisgah makes better. The Coconut Porter has an interesting and complex flavor. You’ll find coffee, cocoa and toasted coconut notes.
While you’re in Black Mountain, be sure to check out the historic downtown area. It’s a great place to walk around and browse all sorts of shops. Be sure to stop in The Dripolator coffee shop as well – they have the best mocha frappes and delicious fresh-baked sweet treats. It’s the perfect way to spend a Saturday, especially in the summer since the weather there is usually 10 degrees cooler.