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.