You’d be hard pressed to find someone around here that isn’t happy about New Belgium’s plans to build a brewery in Asheville. I asked a few existing microbrewery owners in Asheville for their thoughts regarding the incoming competition, and they all expressed enthusiasm about New Belgium, saying they are all after the same thing: creating delicious brews and generating new craft beer fans.
A trip to Colorado gave me the perfect opportunity to meet with New Belgium Spokes Model Bryan Simpson in Fort Collins to find out more about the plans for the Asheville brewery. (And the opportunity to try the latest brews they’re releasing, of course.)
Craggie Brewing Company would easily be on my Top 5 Breweries in America list. I know that sounds excessive for a small brewery tucked away in Asheville on Hilliard Avenue with just three people running it, but the beers, the people, and the feel of the place all blend together to make it one of my favorites.
Tucker and I made the hour-long trek (well worth it) up to Asheville on a late afternoon to meet owner Bill Drew and head brewer DJ McCready at the old warehouse that they converted into the brewery. Their love for craft beer and for their community was evident early on in our conversation, as Bill talked about how the company started, and DJ filled us in on the things that make Craggie unique.
Pisgah Brewing in Black Mountain, N.C., is worth the hour drive from Greer. All its beer is certified organic, and the brewery has a great tour of the organic brewery that explains the process and what steps a brewery has to take to make organic beer.
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.
The Blue Ridge Brewing Company knows more than a little about good beer and good food. It’s the oldest brewpub in South Carolina, opened by Bob Hiller in 1995 right after the law allowing brewpubs – a law Bob worked and lobbied for – was passed.
I’d been to Blue Ridge Brewing before and knew about their fantastic beer and delicious, made-from-scratch food. I wanted to learn more about the story behind South Carolina’s oldest brewpub and how they have kept their tradition alive while continually serving up new brews and dishes.
Laura MacPherson is a beer connoisseur and writes a beer blog each week for GreerToday.com. Contact Laura at Laura@greertoday.com.
If you like beer and you like peaches, chances are you love RJ Rockers’ Son of a Peach, a fresh peach-infused wheat ale. Son of a Peach shot RJ Rockers into the spotlight, but the Spartanburg-based brewery makes several other tasty brews as well. Tucker and I went up Highway 29 to tour its facility and meet the makers of the famous Son of a Peach.
When I walked into Thomas Creek Brewery on Piedmont Highway in Greenville, I was greeted by co-owner, Bill Davis, a man who could be Santa Claus’s brother with his great smile and full white beard.
Bill was a craft beer connoisseur before it was cool. He fell in love with craft beer when he tasted the delicious brews he discovered on the West Coast, an area he traveled during his career with Craig Gaulden Davis when microbrewing was getting its start.