Judaculla Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout Re-Released

Screen Shot 2016-12-21 at 12.05.58 PMOn Tuesday, December 20th, Nantahala Brewing Company re-released Judaculla Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout. Brewed once-a-year, this luscious 10% ABV whiskey barrel-aged stout arrived at the brewery to much fan fare.

When writing Judaculla’s recipe in 2011, Nantahala Brewing Head Brewer Greg Geiger and Owner Joe Rowland strove to create a beer that blended the flavors of a Russian imperial stout with the tannins and vanilla present in whiskey barrels. To make the beer unique to the brewery, they decided to search for a flavor native to the region that they could also add. To find the correct ingredient, Geiger and Rowland talked to numerous members of their community and collected a variety of beverages with flavors they thought would complement their Russian imperial stout. The two identified sorghum — a vital ingredient in the traditional root beer produced in the Western North Carolina mountains —  as having deep molasses notes, a flavor that would beautifully meld with vanilla, chocolate and whiskey notes.

Once Judaculla went into production, it became clear the process to create the beer would be a long and skillful endeavor. After the base beer is brewed with the sorghum, it is moved into freshly dumped Jack Daniels whiskey barrels to capture big flavors of vanilla and oak. Aged between 3 and 4 months, the beer is then blended with a freshly brewed roasty and hoppy stout. The exact blend percentage is dictated by the brewer’s palate. The resulting beer takes approximately 6 months to make and beautifully blends flavors of oak, molasses, vanilla, and roast.

“Judaculla took on a life of its own,” said Rowland. It’s a complex beer that represents a style we love and offers a blend of flavors that are unique to the culture and history of our area.

Five years later, he same techniques are used to create the beer but the flavors are continuously enhanced as the brewers perfect the recipe over time.

Judaculla is released each December when the weather turns cold enough to justify this warming and decadent drink. Twenty-two ounce bottles are currently available in Nantahala’s Bryson City taproom and will be available on shelves in grocery stores and bottle shops in Western North Carolina in the following weeks.

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Patton’s Run Porter Has Arrived

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Nantahala Brewing Company released Pattons Run Porter in bottles for the first time. An easy-drinking, 4.5% ABV brown porter, Pattons Run has been a fall draft staple in the brewery’s Bryson City taproom for years.

Pattons Porter was first brewed in 2011 when Nantahala was just a budding brewery. At the time, brewmaster Greg Geiger sought to make a brew that could be enjoyed during leaf season when the weather turns a bit cooler and visitors come to enjoy the fall colors. He strove to create a beverage that didn’t overwhelm the palate with heavy, overly sweet flavors like many of the other beers released that time of year. After tinkering with a few batches, he landed on a flavor profile he was happy with; a sessionable beer that was light in body yet had big roast and semi-sweet chocolate flavors.

“Pattons Run was made for craft beer drinkers who enjoy a lighter beer, as well as those who prefer a darker beer,” said Geiger. “At 4.5% it satisfies people who want to have a few pints without sacrificing flavor.”

Pattons Run Porter was named after the first major rapid boaters encounter when paddling the Nantahala River. This river is an important landmark in the Western North Carolina landscape for visitors and locals alike.With a company full of people who love the outdoors and all that the local national park has to offer, connecting the beer to the company’s namesake river made sense to brewery owner, Joe Rowland.

“We live in a city adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park for a reason,” said Rowland. “We are a team of people who love the outdoors and feel connected to our community and surrounding wilderness. We want to we pay homage to our area’s natural resources as often as we can and this beer’s name gave us the opportunity to do so. Pattons Run is one of a handful of really well known sections of the Nantahala river.”

Twenty-two ounce bottles of Pattons Run Porter were released at the Bryson City brewery on Friday, November 11th. The beer is now available on shelves in grocery stores and bottle shops in Tennessee and Western North Carolina in the following weeks.

To find out more about Nantahala Brewing and up coming releases at the brewery, visit www.nantahalabrewing.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nantahalabrewing/

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Midnight Topher Released on Black Friday

Screen Shot 2016-11-14 at 11.23.19 AMOn Black Friday, we will release 22 ounce bottles of our next specialty beer, Midnight Topher, a stout infused with locally produced Tribal Grounds Coffee Roasters espresso beans. Created by Head Brewer Chris White, this espresso-style stout was inspired by White’s past work and his present career.

“I used to work in coffee and wanted to blend two things I greatly enjoy, coffee and beer,” said White. “Some coffee beers only have mild flavors or hints of coffee but that was not what I wanted. I was aiming for a robust coffee flavor with lots of roast character and I think I succeeded. This is the kind of coffee beer that I want to drink.“

Midnight Topher is a 6% ABV “illicitly indulgent stout,” infused with whole espresso beans after fermentation but prior to carbonation. This technique results in a beer dominated by iced coffee, roast and chocolate flavors without any of the astringency that can result from brewed coffee added to the boil. An addition of lactose rounds out the stout’s mouthfeel.

And for the name? Midnight Topher wasn’t just created by White, it also got its name from him as well. Known as Topher around the brewery, White is known to partake in a bit of debauchery and sometimes likes to burn more than just the midnight oil.

“What can I say?” laughed White. “I like what I like.”

Bottles of Midnight Topher will be released at our Bryson City taproom on Friday, November 25th. The beer will also be available on shelves in grocery stores and bottle shops in Tennessee and Western North Carolina in the following weeks.

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Our Brew Fam

I show up at 9:30 on a Monday morning, production meeting already in progress. Everyone has jumped right in. Ideas, checklists, and tasks at hand are being discussed so we have a productive week. Even with our expansion in full swing, beer still has to be made. We have a small team for what we are accomplishing. Everyone knows their duties. If something is unclear we stop and take time to learn together. Comments and feedback are given in a way that make us each feel empowered. This is more than just a team, more than just a brew crew. This is family.

Sure like any family we have our dysfunctions, but when the day is done we all have something that we can step back and look at, beer in hand, and toast to a job well done. We are growing fast over here in Bryson City. The smell of progress is in the air. OK, well that might just be forklift fumes, but things are happening. Our small brew fam is doing it. We’re building more than just a bad ass brew house. We’re building a place to call home.

ND3A7014IMG_5510 IMG_4679 ND3A7736 ND3A6882ND3A8372justin and chris production fun


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Building a Music Venue

sound man

The motto around here has unofficially been, “if you build it they will come”. I mean, we opened a craft brewery in a really small town, at least 70 miles from the “Beer City” of Asheville. I’m sure someone thought we were crazy. So when we decided we wanted more out of our taproom, we knew what we had to build next. . . .a stage.

Meet AJ Nance. Aj and his wife, Liz, are local musicians. Aj is also known for his musical knowledge. He does more than just play guitar, he’s an audiophile. Audiophiles are people who enthusiastically concern themselves with the quality of sound and its reproduction. So when Joe decided to turn the taproom into a concert venue, he knew who to turn to. Aj has been involved in the entire process, from stage location to speaker placement, from purchasing a new soundboard to running it. We have even grown to be able to record live shows!

So we built it. Then we put Jenn, our music lovin’ mama, in charge of finding the bands. Find them she did and our Music on Tap concert series was born. We’ve had local bands, out-of-towners, Grammy-winners, and everything in-between. For the last two years, during the week of July 4th we have hosted an entire week of music! Dubbed the “Week of Rock” by Aj himself, the taproom fills up with craft beer and music aficionados.

We enjoy hearing the bands give shout-outs from the stage to Aj up in the sound booth. His talent on the mixing board has brought bands back. Being a musician himself is a huge benefit. He not only knows what something should sound like, he knows how to get it there. “It’s a fun job. I enjoy doing it.” That passion is what makes him so good at what he does. Also, for some of the smaller bands that play, it is a chance to feel like rockstars as Aj helps get them set-up.

On Saturdays, while he’s not in the sound booth, you can find Aj behind the bar serving customers. Stop by for a beer and pick his musical mind. Aj’s palate is just as keen as his ear. His favorite Nantahala Brewing beer was the Trail Magic #4, our Imperial stout that was aged in Maker’s Mark barrels. His favorite flagship brew is the Noonday IPA. Outside of our own brews, Aj enjoys the Amber from Green Man and Left Hand’s Milk Stout Nitro.

Our Music on Tap kicks-off in March with a Trail Magic release party and continues on through Halloween. We’ve just wrapped up this year’s concert series, however, we do have open jams on Tuesday nights hosted by local band, Dogwood Winter. 

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Great American Beer Festival Roadtrip 2013

Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013
It’s an early Sunday morning here at Nantahala Brewing. We’re loaded up and headed out on our first trip the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. First stop Saint Louis, MO via Nashville, TN.


Just passed over into the central time zone. Headed to Nashville. Beautiful morning up at Newfound Gap.



Made it to Nashville, TN. Great burgers at The Pharmacy. Dodged the crowd headed to the Titans v/s Chiefs game. Next stop St. Louis!!!



It was a long day, but we finally made it to St. Louis after crossing five states. Checked into the hotel and made a beeline to the nearest craft beer bar (yes, they have those in Bud country) to sample some local brews and grub. Caught the 49ers game!!!!!! And headed over to the arch to get some Picts.



Day Two

Got an early start this morning. Headed to one of our biggest suppliers today in Kansas City. Grandstand here we come.


Made it to Lawrence, Kansas. Home of Grandstand.



We’ve bunkered down in Oakley, KS for the night. Fewer than 100 miles until we hit the Colorado state line. Loved the 75 mph speed limit on I-70, but I’m not too fond of the smell of manure that permeates Oakley. Also drove through the amazing Smoky Hills Wind Farm at sunset, 20,000 acres and 250 MW of renewable energy. It was beautiful, wish we could’ve got some pics.



Day Three

Awoke to find…more Kansas ahead of us this morning. But Colorado is only 100 miles away. Not sure where we’re heads once we get to Denver, but I’m sure we can improvise.



We made it to the Colorado state line!!!!!! Might have left our “mark” on the way…



It wouldn’t be a Nantahala road trip unless we randomly took the first scenic road we fouls in sight of the Rockys. Along the scenic route we did a triple take when we realized that the scenic route was pretty flat, but higher than Clingmans Dome.



Soooo, along the way we decided that Boulder (which has experienced some pretty epic flooding) could use our support. First stop on the Colorado beer trail? Twisted Pine Brewing


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Trail Magic Ale #4 Update – January 10, 2013

Greg in the Cellar

Transferring Trail Magic #4 into the Maker’s Mark Barrels.

The upcoming release in the Trail Magic Series, a Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout with Sorghum and Wild Flower Honey has finished it’s initial fermentation and was transferred to our cellar this evening.

This years version will age in freshly emptied Maker’s Mark barrels for about two months before we move it the bright tanks where it will be chilled and carbonated prior to packaging.

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