Jan. 8, 2014. The newest craft brewery in Western North Carolina has opened in the Alpine Village at Beech Mountain Resort. Beech Mountain Brewing Co. has the capacity to brew up to 100 gallons per day and will be open year round to serve skiers, snowboarders, mountain bikers and other resort visitors.
“The brewery is yet another amenity added to the resort as part of our effort to become a year-round destination,” said Ryan Costin, general manager of Beech Mountain Resort.
“With the growing popularity of craft beer in North Carolina, we believe our customers will enjoy the experience.”
The brand new brewery will feature three distinct styles of beer that will be unique to the mountaintop brewery, said co-founder and brewer Ryan Gavigan.
“The first style is an American pale ale called the 5,506 Pale Ale, a cream ale called the Liberty Ale and the last one is a Scotch Ale that we call our Yard Sale.”
The grand opening of the Beech Mountain Brewing Company will take place on Saturday, Jan. 11. The celebration will run from 1-5 p.m. in conjunction with the resort’s annual Winterfest Weekend. The celebration will highlight tastings and brewery tours, complimented by live music from Dr. Bacon.
The Beech Mountain Brewing Co. first started six months ago, when Beech Mountain paired up with consultant Will Young from Blind Squirrel Brewery in Plumtree.
“Breweries in general are kind of a brotherhood,” said Gavigan. “Blind Squirrel Brewery is so close by and with Asheville becoming ‘beer city’ over the past five years, we wanted to add this destination up here on the mountain. The guys at Blind Squirrel have helped us a lot and have really been a blessing for us getting this thing off the ground.”
Blind Squirrel Brewery, which officially opened its doors in August of 2012 is the oldest brewery in Avery County.
“It all started when my father brought home a home brewing system that we used for years and then finally in 2011, we got the ball rolling on trying to open up the brewery operations and running it as a business,” said Will Young, co-founder and head brewer at Blind Squirrel Brewery.
Completely self taught, Young maintains the brewery in Plumtree as a family business. During the off season, Young was ready to step out of the brewery and help get Beech Mountain Brewing Co. off the ground.
“We were up there for their Bikes, Brews and Views event over the summer and our beer was incredibly well received,” Young said.
“[Beech Mountain Resort] was planning on trying to get a brewery going, and I have a bit of free time in the winter and I was really excited to get up here and get them set up. I am excited to get out there and make some new friends in the beer industry. I mostly helped them with recipe development, general setup of the brew house and other brewing operations. I definitely wanted to make sure that they got off to a good start.”
Young has been brewing with his family for seven years, and professionally for 2.5.
“I am completely self taught, there are so many resources available to people who want to start brewing,” Young said.
“You meet other brewers along the way and you pick up little tidbits from each person you meet. This has been a huge journey of self exploration.”
The opening of the brewery atop the mountain serves as one more addition to Beech Mountain Resort becoming a year-round destination for people of all ages.
“With mountain biking, disc golf and our beer festival up here, we hope this will bring even more people to the mountain year round, even in the summer,” Gavigan said. “There is a huge demand for local beer up here in the High Country, and we wanted to add this experience up here on the mountain.”
Young agreed that the addition of the brewery will help to expand the resorts summer offerings.
“The resort has really been developing their summer business plan with the mountain biking trails,” said Young.
“They are really drawing a huge crowd from all over the southeast and all across the country to their events. I think with a combination of the mountain biking, the brewery and the SkyBar on top of the mountain they will be able to have a venue that is unrivaled by any other event space.”
The Blind Squirrel Brewery in Plumtree is open to the public from May through October. In the off-season, the brewery still maintains its wholesale operations and their brews can be purchased at many different locations throughout the High Country. Interested persons may simply call the brewery to find the closest distribution location to them.
And you can definitely expect Young and his family to be at the grand opening of the brewery this weekend.
“I certainly plan to be at the grand opening,” Young said. “I will probably have my family on the mountain all day, and I will be there to answer questions and talk to people for as long as I can.”
Following the grand opening, If Birds Could Fly will play at 5 p.m. in the Beech Tree Bar and Grille.
Beech Mountain Brewing Co. is open Thursday through Sunday. Please call ahead for hours of operation.
Following the grand opening celebration, there will be even more beers available for brew lovers to try out.
“We are working on a porter right now for Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend and a new IPA for President’s weekend,” Gavigan said.
“We are so excited about this opportunity and seeing everything come full circle. It has been an arduous task getting this thing off the ground and it has been a very busy six months. We really can’t wait.”