Brown porters: in appreciation of this lesser-known, delicious porter


Brown porters: in appreciation of this lesser-known, delicious porter


WEB_20161114_PorterAs a curious beer drinker, it’s tough to want to do anything at GABF besides taste as many amazing beers as I can get my hands on. But the festival also offers an opportunity for conversation with brewers, other writers and the judges who taste, score and dole out medals at the awards ceremony.

This past October at GABF, our editor-in-chief, Erika Rietz, heard a bit of buzz from Dave McLean, brewmaster at Magnolia Brew Pub. He’d judged the brown porter category this year, and though he didn’t know which beers were from which breweries (judging is conducted blindly), he said that on the whole, the brown porters were awesome. Like, sit-up-and-take-notice awesome. “Huh,” we thought. “Brown porters? Really?” It’s a style that most people don’t even know is distinct from robust porters, the more commonly brewed American subset of porters. Should we be drinking more of these?

McLean would say so. “[I have] a deeper affinity for this sort of style where a brewer can really nail a sweet spot with a lot of flavor going on from the careful use of a variety of different malts that sing together harmoniously,” he told me. “When you taste a bunch of these beers in rapid succession in a structured format like that, good examples really become apparent. Even judging that second round of brown porters, they were all pretty good. By the time we got to the third round, there was a ton of good beer on the table.”

What makes brown porters different from their sibling robust porters is a few details. Most notably, the best brown porters don’t use black and dark-roasted malts that give robust porters their intense charred or ashy aroma and flavor. Brown porters can also have a bit more English character: fruity yeast-derived notes, caramel, chocolate and softer, sweeter malts.

“It’s a style that’s really about harmony and nuance. It takes an intimacy from the brewer knowing what each ingredient contributes,” McLean says. “Right now, there are a lot of styles that are under the radar underneath the world of hops and extreme beers. So I don’t see a ton of brown porters, but I’m drawn to them when I see them. It’s a really food-friendly beer which opens up a lot of doors for pairing possibilities.”

If you want to get acquainted with the style, it might take a bit of work to sort the brown porters from robust porters; many breweries simply label their beers “porters,” so it behooves drinkers to ask whether these are roasty and bitter or sweeter and more toffeelike. To get a hold on what the style should be, start with these four.


Three Creeks FivePine Chocolate Porter (GABF gold medal winner)
A pleasing fruit-and-breadcrust aroma floats above the dark mahogany pour, folding raisin scent into an interlocking base of milky Belgian chocolate (two pounds per barrel) and light peanut shells. Fantastic malt support carries through to the flavor, greeting the tongue with raisin, sweet almond through the midsip and closing with interwoven milk chocolate and brown bread. The swallow does introduce a slightly dry and bitter clip, but it’s like deep, rich chocolate rather than ashy roast. A smooth mouthfeel and easy, balanced flavors make this beer eminently drinkable.

Wachusett Black Shack Porter (GABF silver medal winner)
A sandy-colored head caps this dark pour with ruby highlights; it offers up a quiet aroma of breadcrusts, golden raisins and a thin ribbon of chocolate, like a pain au chocolat. The front of the sip introduces a blend of brown bread and a quiet pecan nuttiness before the back half delivers a punch of ash and slightly scorched malts. The smooth, just-shy-of-medium body is pleasant, if perhaps a touch thin.

Back East Brewing Porter (GABF bronze medal winner) 
A lattelike head crowns the deep chocolate-colored beer, emitting scents of milk chocolate, roasted peanuts and a background note of licoricelike fennel. Flavors are much lighter on the palate than expected, though the sip isn’t bland: Milky coffee and brown bread malts arrive first before dry hazelnut shell arrives at the middle, diving into a dry, nutty finish. After the swallow, a bubble of milk chocolate cocoa lingers on the tongue. A soft, pillowy body makes the sip feel fuller than it is; this is a compact, lovely and drinkable example of the style.

Nantahala Pattons Run Porter
Under foam the color of whole grain flour, this deep chocolate-colored beer’s aroma mingles rye bread spiciness with a hard-to-place earthiness reminiscent of the inside of a pumpkin. The flavor is more spot-on: Dark kola nut softens into dark bread crust and chestnuts. A quick rise of medium roast coffee hits just before the lingering cocoa-bitter swallow. This example is clean, balanced and not too sweet or roasty.

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Heading West


Photo from GABF 2015 by Liz Nance/Nantahala Brewing











Article written by Tim Reese for Mountain Xpress September 28, 2015

If biggest equals best, the Great American Beer Festival is tops among beer events in the nation. The GABF is the largest collection of U.S. beers served in a public tasting event and is attended by about 60,000 people who come to sample the more than 3,500 beers available, says the Brewers Association, which hosts the event.

Several Western North Carolina breweries traveled to the Rocky Mountains to attend the 34th annual festival, held Sept. 24-26 in Denver. Representing Asheville and WNC were Pisgah Brewing Co., Thirsty Monk Brewing Co., Twin Leaf Brewery, Hi-Wire Brewing Co., Burial Beer Co., Green Man Brewery, both Wicked Weed Brewing Co. and the Wicked Weed Funkatorium, Nantahala Brewing Co., Boojum Brewing Co., Oskar Blues Brewing Co. and Morganton’s Fonta Flora Brewery.

This year’s GABF featured 92 competitive categories highlighting 145 beer styles with entries from more than 1,550 breweries from all 50 states and Washington D.C. — a 20 percent increase in participation over last year’s festival. Some WNC breweries took part in the competitions with two bringing home awards. Fonta Flora claimed a gold medal in the Field Beer category with its Beets, Rhymes and Life saison. Wicked Weed also won bragging rights, earning a silver medal against more than 350 competitors from across the nation in the most heavily entered category — American-style India pale ale.

Wicked Weed co-owner Luke Dickinson describes its winning IPA — Pernicious IPA — as “extremely dry.”

“In the past, people have always thought of the East Coast IPAs as being these sweeter, maltier, hoppier beers,” says Dickinson. “We’ve veered away from that and decided to go down the route of creating a beer where you don’t notice the alcohol in it because it finishes so clean. The bitterness maybe isn’t quite as high as you’ll find on the West Coast IPAs, but the hop flavor is really what we’re focusing on, and that’s what to me an IPA is all about. It’s all about getting that hop flavor and aroma, not so much the just the intense bitterness on the tongue. They’re huge hop bombs.”

“I think every brewer, regardless of where you’re located, benefits from the competition,” says Joe Rowland, owner of Nantahala Brewing and president of the Asheville Brewers Alliance. “It encourages us to continue to make high-quality products and helps to drive innovation. Plus it’s just fun. With the number of brewers entering the competition skyrocketing, it’s a tough competition. So, even if you don’t bring home a medal, it’s great to see our North Carolina and Southeast neighbors snag a few.”

But the GABF isn’t just about going toe to toe for medals — the festival also offers three days of workshops, tastings, food pairings and social opportunities as well as hundreds of satellite events held in conjunction with the festival throughout the city. Joanna Postlethwaite of Thirsty Monk, who participated in a draft quality-management workshop, says the educational opportunity was “eye opening.” Along with classes, Postlethwaite says the chance to explore beers that are ordinarily unavailable in the Asheville area and learn more about the industry make the trip to the festival worthwhile.

Meanwhile, Rowland agrees there are plenty of reasons for Asheville brewers to make the trek west for the GABF. Along with the exposure to other brewers and craft beer fans and an opportunity to show others in the industry what Asheville is doing, Rowland says another motivation for attending is “the opportunity to see our West Coast friends. … There’s no other event that showcases so many brewers. It’s like going to the largest art gallery in the world and getting a chance to experience art from every corner of the world in one place at one time. Each year, we find inspiration from tasting many of the beers that we’d [normally] never get a chance to taste”.

When asked what he gets out of the GABF personally, he says, “I’ve gotten a great deal of advice from those who have been competing and judging GABF for many more years than we have, and I think the best advice I’ve gotten is to keep the competition in perspective. If you make bright, exciting beer, and you sell all of it and then some, that’s what’s important. Winning a medal is icing on the cake.”


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Bottling your dreams: Nantahala Brewing celebrates five years

Written by Garret K Woodward for Smoky Mountain News May 6, 2015

It’s a recent Saturday afternoon at Nantahala Brewing Company in downtown Bryson City. With bluebird skies overhead and the mountains of Southern Appalachia in the distance, brewery co-owner Joe Rowland scans his surroundings. There are children and dogs running around the front porch, with folks from Asheville, Atlanta, Charlotte and everywhere in-between raising their glasses high to another day in paradise.

It’s a scene Rowland has always imagined for his business, one that has been five years in the making. He shakes his head in awe, with a smile ear-to-ear.

“The last five years have felt like 10,” he laughed. “But, it’s been pretty amazing — we’ve made progress and great beer.”

On May 15, Nantahala will host its “5th Anniversary Party,” an event that signifies more than just hundreds of passing days on the calendar. Rather, it is a testament to a brewery and brand that is the epitome of the small town — the last, wild outpost to the Great Smokies — that it represents. It’s more than simply making craft beer, it’s about taking pride in your product, your community and your never-ending quest to achieve your dreams, come hell or high water.

“We’ve worked really hard. We held steady for awhile and grew incrementally,” Rowland said. “We saved our money and pushed ahead, putting ourselves in a position to where we are now, where we could execute getting from one small point to a bigger one correctly.”


Where it all began

For years, Rowland worked in marketing and operated a kayaking outfitter in Charleston. Surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Bryson City mesmerized him and his colleagues whenever they would visit the region. The brewery was launched in 2010 in an effort to bring together two passions — craft beer and the great outdoors.

“We fell in love with Bryson City and kept trying to find ways to live here,” Rowland said. “So, a handful of us got together and started the brewery. It’s great to be involved in an industry that people appreciate and are happy when they leave, which that in itself is rewarding.”

Besides the brewery’s own fascination and enjoyment of the nearby Appalachian Trail, brewmaster Greg Geiger was actually hiking the trail when he first crossed paths with Nantahala Brewing. Geiger was living in Knoxville in 2011 and decided to do a 500-mile trek through the Southern Appalachian portion of the route. A friend of his who worked at the brewery coaxed the 17-year homebrewer and industrial engineer off the trail to help volunteer at a craft beer festival. Geiger felt a kinship with the brewery and the rest is history.

“This is my playground to toy around with new things,” he said. “There’s so much you can do to experiment, to push the boundaries and make new flavors, new things you’ve never tried before, and we have that freedom here to do just that.”

And over the last five years, Nantahala Brewing has been hard at work, creating unique, delicious craft beers. The name of the game is consistency and quality above all, with the company pulling in new fans of its products everyday, many of which are craft beer judges, as seen by the dozens of competition medals hanging on the brewery wall. At the recent Hickory Hops “Carolina Championship of Beers,” Nantahala Brewing took home 17 medals (four of which were gold).

“As long as the consumer is seeking out high quality, we’ll be making great craft beer,” Geiger said looking at the medal cases.


A slow burn

From its first batch of craft beer, Nantahala Brewing has always kept a keen, steady vision as to what it wants its brand to be. It’s about making smart moves, taking calculated risks, and realizing that long-term success is a slow burn, not a flash-in-the-pan to make a quick buck strategy. It’s the idea and trajectory of long-range goals with short-range milestones, where you realize the only person you need to compete with is yourself.

In its first year of operation, Nantahala Brewing had an output of 400 barrels. In 2015, the end-of-year barrel numbers are expected to fall somewhere around 4,000 to 5,000. These days, they brew on a 10-barrel system with two 30-barrel (and four 10-barrel) fermenters.

“I wasn’t sure we’d ever get to these kind of barrel numbers, with all the challenges we’ve faced, setbacks experiences, the way the business has evolved, trying to figure out where we’re going to go, how big we want to be — and we still debate that,” Rowland said.

“And we’ve got the facilities and equipment presently online to increase our capacity at 150 percent,” Geiger added. “We’ve also got two more tanks coming in to be installed.”

“It’s a moving target,” Rowland countered. “Each time we sit down and talk about these numbers, a few days later I buy more tanks.”

Amid those growing numbers, and expectations, Rowland openly admits it can be tough to not adhere to the temptations of cranking up the production capacities.

“We do have opportunities right now to go way bigger than I’ve ever imagined we’d go, and I’ve struggled with that a little bit because it’s tempting, very tempting,” he said. “You have to realize it’s not just about you, it’s about the town and everyone who works for you. If you go way, way big, now you’re talking about changing the landscape of Bryson City, to change the course of what happens here.”


Taking the next step

Rowland points to his friends and mentors at the wildly popular Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, California as being prime examples of how to make your business not only successful, but also healthy in its growth, intent and purpose.

“It’s all about quality and consistency, and [Russian River owners] Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo taught us about how to control supply and demand, to make sure your product is being branded and sold correctly,” he said.

And with that sentiment, Rowland noted the recent deal Nantahala Brewing signed with regional distributor Budweiser of Asheville, a deal that will put the Bryson City craft beer in restaurants, pubs and on store shelves in Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Polk, Madison and Transylvania counties. The extensive distribution network was originally created by Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), with Budweiser of Asheville an independent entity these days, one that teams up with breweries around Western North Carolina to promote local products. Nantahala Brewing will still personally distribute its craft beer around Jackson, Swain and Macon counties.

“One of the big reasons we decided to go with Budweiser of Asheville is because we’re not in a position, nor do we desire to be, to self-distribute packaged products like six-packs and 12-packs,” Rowland said. “Those are product lines we have always wanted to provide, and now we can with this deal.”

Though Rowland won’t go into specific numbers about the deal, Nantahala Brewing’s distribution rights were sold for a “substantial amount.” Instead of having to seek new investors for capital, the recent cash flow will allow the brewery to hire more full-time brewers and employees, and also expand its marketing reach and physical business onsite in Bryson City (more offices and equipment).

“For us, it’s always been part of our plan — to develop our brand to make it valuable enough to not have to seek outside capital,” Rowland said. “With this money, we’re now able to take everything to the next level. Having 12-ounce bottles? That’s incredible, and expensive, when you take into account the cost of bottle caps, labels, case cartons and transporting the products.”

“For me, it means more work in the immediate future,” Geiger chuckled. “But, it also means more brewers who I can teach, help and oversee, which will then free me up to be more involved in the beer itself and recipe development, rather than the day-to-day brewing.”

Back on the front porch of the brewery, Rowland pours himself one of Nantahala Brewing’s signature selections — the “4-Foot Drop Pale Ale” — and takes a seat underneath the sunshine. He sips the heady brew and once again observes the endless mountains in front of him, the endless stream of friends and the curious alike milling around.

“It’s getting exciting, really exciting,” he grinned. “It was a lot hard work to get here, and it’s still going to be hard work moving forward — I can’t wait to see what’s next.”

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Beer Guy: Nantahala Brewing has many surprises


photo by Liz Nance/Nantahala Brewing

“Most breweries offer beer treats for fans who visit. This is especially true for Nantahala Brewing in Bryson City, about an hour from Asheville.

Some of Nantahala’s beers are sold around the mountains, like its popular Noon Day IPA. But Nantahala might have 20 beers sold only in the tasting room, across the tracks from the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.

There are pilots, seasonals, high-gravity brews and a special line called Trail Magic. Brewer Greg Geiger and brewery co-owner Joe Rowland get a lot of mileage out of the 10 barrel system. Rowland is president of the Asheville Brewers Alliance trade group and stays plugged into the region’s fast growing craft beer scene.

You can expect to see more of Nantahala’s beers this year when the brewery installs a 12-ounce bottling line, Rowland said. It has also purchased more brewing equipment that will boost production.

Nantahala opened in 2009. Rowland was coming to Bryson City for years on vacation and to escape business calls in a time before there was cellphone service.

“There is nothing else like this out here,” he said, and between locals and tourists, Nantahala has become a powerhouse in the far western area of North Carolina.

The brewery produces about 1,100-1,200 barrels and during the warmer months, 70 percent of that is sold “in this building or in this town,” he said. Come winter, about 60 percent of the beer is sold elsewhere.

Now is the perfect time to visit Bryson City and stop over to the brewery, 61 Depot St.”

Written by Beer Guy Tony Kiss for Asheville Citizen Times January 15, 2015

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Nantahala Brewing takes home 16 medals at the 2014 Carolinas Championship of Beer.


Nantahala Brewing takes home 16 medals at the 2014 Carolinas Championship of Beer.

Joe Rowland, Co-Owner (Marketing, PR, & Sales)
488-2337 Ext. 6,

Bryson City, NC (May 13, 2014) — This year marked the 12th annual Hickory Hops Brew Festival, held in Hickory, NC.  54 craft breweries from all over the Southeast convened to bring their brews to over 2,500 festival attendees.  46 of those breweries entered their beers in the Carolinas Championship of Beer.  An astonishing 405 beers were entered into 138 style categories.  80 volunteer judges blind tasted for three hours to conclude the first round of tasting.

On Friday, April 25 the annual pre-festival party was the platform for announcing the winners in each category.  Nantahala Brewing came home with 9 silver medals and 7 bronze.  This was the fifth year that Nantahala Brewing has participated in Hickory Hops and 16 medals was their best showing so far, up from an impressive 14 medals last year.  “We work hard to make high quality beer out of the highest quality ingredients.  We love to hear how much our fans love our beer.  But it’s really nice to come to an event like this and hear that you’re continuing to make progress.  We never want to be static in our approach to brewing.  We want every barrel to be better than the last!” said Greg Geiger, Brewmaster from Nantahala.

One of the unique things about this competition is that all of the proceeds go to the North Carolina Brewer’s Guild.  Hickory Hops also makes a donation to the Guild.  “It’s great to be able to participate in this annual championship with peers from our region and know that it all goes back to supporting what we’re doing in the North Carolina craft beer industry,” said Joe Rowland, Co-owner.


About Nantahala Brewing Co.

Located in the shadows of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Nantahala Brewing skillfully brews artisanal beer with fresh hops, whole grains, and some of the purest water on the planet.

Nantahala Brewing was founded in early 2009 and brewery operations and distribution began nearly a year later, in May 2010.

The brewery and tap room are located at 61 Depot Street, Bryson City, NC.  The tap room is open year-round.  Call us at (828) 488-BEER (2337) or visit for more information on our hours, directions, upcoming events, and wholesale inquires.

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Nantahala Brewing celebrates four year anniversary.


Nantahala Brewing celebrates four year anniversary.

Joe Rowland, Co-Owner (Marketing, PR & Sales)
488-2337 Ext. 6,

Bryson City, NC (May 12th, 2014) — Nantahala Brewing will officially celebrate their four year anniversary Saturday, May 17th, 2014 at their taproom in Bryson City. The celebration will include the release of the brewery’s inaugural anniversary beer and a live performance from Dogwood Winter.

Nantahala began brewing May 19th, 2010 in an dilapidated warehouse in the heart of downtown Bryson City with used equipment purchased from RJ Rockers Brewery in Spartanburg, South Carolina. A little over ten months later, an expansive taproom was completed and opened in the same 12,000 square foot space. “It’s been an amazing and challenging experience to build a craft brewery on the edge of one of America’s last treasured places and I’m thankful that Bryson City and the craft brewing community across this country have supported our efforts to brew great craft beer and become part of two amazing communities.” said Joe Rowland, co-founder and Minister of Hopaganda.

This years anniversary celebration is centered around the brewery’s first-ever anniversary brew, 4 the Love of Hops. The brew, a double IPA, features some of the brewery’s favorite hop varieties and weighs in at whopping 10% ABV. “We’ve made a name for ourselves based on the hoppy beers we brew, and we felt that our first shot at an anniversary beer should be a reflection of our love of hops. Specifically, Simcoe and Galaxy which are featured in our Noon Day IPA and 4-Foot Drop Pale.” said Greg Geiger, Brewmaster.

The celebration starts at noon on Saturday, May 17th with the anniversary beer being tapped at 4 pm, 22oz bottles will be available at 6 pm, and a live performance from Dogwood Winter at 8 pm. Dogwood Winter is a unique mix of seasoned talent including Nantahala’s Asst. Brewer, George Lane, and Merch Manager, Liz Nance. Erin Worley (Grove Band) and 15 year old fiddler, Alma Russ round out the group.


About Nantahala Brewing Co.
Located in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Nantahala Brewing artfully brews award-winning, craft beer made with fresh hops, whole grains and clean, crisp Great Smoky Mountain water, from one of the purest, protected watersheds on the planet.

Nantahala Brewing Co. was founded in early 2009 and brewery operations and distribution began nearly a year later in May of 2010.

The Brewery and Tap Room are located at 61 Depot Street, Bryson City, North Carolina. Tap Room is open year-around. Call us at (828) 488-BEER (2337) for hours, directions and wholesale inquiries.

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Brewtastic Black Friday event at Nantahala Brewing’s Taproom.


Brewtastic Black Friday event at Nantahala Brewing’s Taproom.

Joe Rowland, Co-Owner (Marketing, PR & Sales)
488-2337 Ext. 6,

BRYSON CITY, NC (November 24th, 2013) — Our little village in the Great Smoky Mountains is all decked out for the holidays, the Polar Express™ has rolled back into town and Black Friday is upon us. For the second year in a row, Nantahala Brewing will celebrate the infamous start of the holiday shopping season with a “Brewtastic Black Friday” event, featuring draught, bottle and merchandise specials all day.

The event will begin at noon on Friday, November 29th exclusively at our taproom in Bryson City. Taproom deals include $3.00 pints of Dirty Girl Blonde, App Trail Extra Pale Ale & Noon Day IPA, $12.00 bottles of Trail Magic No. 5 (Wild Honeysuckle Saison) & Trail Magic No. 6 (American Red Rye Wine), $6.00 22oz bottles of Dirty Girl Blonde & Noon Day IPA and a huge selection of discounted merchandise including a limited number of $10 Water is for Quitters™ tees.

“We wanted to offer our customers a break after braving Black Friday’s long lines, deal seeking crowds and the bitter cold,” said Nantahala’s Taproom Wrangler, Jenn Huston. “We can’t think of a better way to wrap up Black Friday than with a pint of our favorite Nantahala brew and a few deals on great gifts from our brewery.”

In addition, to the great deals and good times, it’s rumored that Nanta Claus might have come early this year… He might have dropped off a special brew or two to kick off the season.

Located in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Nantahala Brewing artfully brews award-winning, craft beer made with fresh hops, whole grains and clean, crisp Great Smoky Mountain water, from one of the purest, protected watersheds on the planet. Nantahala Brewing Co. was founded in early 2009 and brewery operations and distribution began nearly a year later in May of 2010.

The Brewery and Taproom are located at 61 Depot Street, Bryson City, North Carolina. Taproom is open year-around. Call us at (828) 488-BEER (2337) for hours, directions and wholesale inquiries.

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Nantahala Brewing launches flagship brands in 22oz bottles.


Nantahala Brewing launches flagship brands in 22oz bottles.

Contact: Joe Rowland, Co-Owner (Marketing, PR & Sales) 488-2337 Ext. 6,

Bryson City, NC (November 6th, 2013) — The days of providing Nantahala’s award-winning craft brews via draught and growlers only is quickly coming to an end. Starting the 22nd of November, bottles of Noon Day IPA and Dirty Girl Blonde will be available in bombers at the Nantahala Taproom. The brewery will begin rolling out it’s flagship brands in 22oz bottles for distribution across Western North Carolina in early December 2013. “It’s been over five years since we began construction on our brewery & taproom. Back then bottling wasn’t even part of the discussion. It’s hard to believe that we’ve come this far in such a short period of time, especially considering all the challenges we had to overcome to get here.” said Joe Rowland, co-owner.

Nantahala hasn’t distributed it’s beer beyond Waynesville since April 2013, based on increased demand for it’s beer at it’s taproom and local market. The increased demand and a commitment to keep it’s brews in the Asheville market, lead to adding some additional tanks and a different packaging strategy. “Over the last two years, we’ve struggled to keep our production at 100% during the off-season based on the slow return of our kegs from the markets in eastern North Carolina that we support during the winter months when things slow down in our immediate market. By sending bottled beer instead of keged beer off to those markets, we will eliminate that bottle neck in our production process.” said Joe Rowland. The leap into bottling marks a significant change in the marketing and distribution of the brewery’s craft brews. Rowland continued, “We hope that moving on to bottling will make our beer more accessible and will position us for additional growth.”

With the expansion, Nantahala has added a new face to the production team. Erich Kopp, has stepped in to oversee cellar operations including bottling. Kopp, a competitive mountain biker and graduate of Florida State University, was attracted to the area by the great outdoors and world-class cycling opportunities. “It’s a huge step, but moving forward with bottling is where we need to be. I’m looking forward to the challenge.” said Kopp.

Nantahala’s most popular offerings, the hop-forward, Noon Day India Pale Ale (6.0% abv) and the refreshing, Dirty Girl Blonde Ale (5.75% abv), will kick off the launch. “Our Noon Day IPA continues to be the most sought-after of our year-around brews and the Dirty Girl Blonde is our biggest seller by volume. So, those were the obvious to beers to start bottling.” said Greg Geiger, Brewmaster for Nantahala. The brewery plans to release other popular brews including the Devils Courthouse Belgian Golden Strong (9.5% abv), 8-Foot Drop Double IPA (8.5% abv), 4-Foot Drop American Pale Ale (4.5% abv), App Trail Extra Pale Ale (6.0% abv), Bryson City Brown (3.8% abv) and Up River Amber Ale (5.5% abv) in early 2014.

A bottle launch party, dubbed 22oz’s on the 22nd, will be held at the brewery’s taproom at 6pm on Friday, November 22nd. “The launch will begin with a brief presentation covering Nantahala’s organic evolution over the past five years, the bottling of the brews and wrapping up with the revealing of the Noon Day and Dirty Girl labels. We’re offering a limited number of 750ml bottles signed by our brewing team and special pricing for the launch party.” said Jenn Huston, Nantahala’s Taproom Wrangler. Special launch party pricing for the bottles will be $6 per bottle and $60 per case on Friday. Retail pricing and wholesale pricing will be announced during the event. Additional launch festivities include local, live music and a rare beer tasting. All proceeds from the $10 donation to participate in the rare beer tasting will be donated to Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to support the Ridgerunner Program on the Appalachian Trail within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


About Nantahala Brewing Co. Located in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Nantahala Brewing artfully brews award-winning, craft beer made with fresh hops, whole grains and clean, crisp Great Smoky Mountain water, from one of the purest, protected watersheds on the planet. Nantahala Brewing Co. was founded in early 2009 and brewery operations and distribution began nearly a year later in May of 2010. The Brewery and Tap Room are located at 61 Depot Street, Bryson City, North Carolina. Tap Room is open year-around. Call us at (828) 488-BEER (2337) for hours, directions and wholesale inquiries.

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Nantahala Brewing receives 13 medals and 3rd Best of Show at the 2013 Carolinas Championship of Beer.

Bryson City, NC (April 25th, 2013) — Craft brewers from across the Southeast gathered in Hickory, North Carolina to participate in the 11th annual Hickory Hops Festival. Prior to the festival, the winners of the the 8th annual Carolinas Championship of Beer (CCB) were announced. There were 396 beers — an increase of 40% from last year –  representing 42 craft breweries in 134 style categories. Three weeks prior to the festival, over 80 volunteers gathered at Olde Hickory Brewery to judge the beers in a blind taste test. The brews were judged in accordance with the Great American Beer Festival guidelines.

On Friday, April 19th, during the festivals pre-party, the winners were announced and Nantahala scored big with four golds, two silvers and seven bronze medals. “This is our forth year participating in the festival and championship. We’ve competed well in the past, but this year was by far our best showing with thirteen medals. Four more than we received last year and more than all but one other brewery.” said Joe Rowland, co-owner and chief operations & marketing officer.

The following day, during the festival CCB founder, Bobby Bush announced the competition’s best of show winners. Nantahala took home Third Best of Show for the 4-Foot Drop, an American-Style Pale Ale. “We entered nineteen beers this year. I’m excited that thirteen of them medaled, but winning a Best of Show medal made my day. To know that the 4-Foot Drop was judged higher than 393 other beers in the competition is something to be proud of.” said Greg Geiger, Mad Zymologist (Brewmaster) for Nantahala. The first and second Best of Show awards both went to Liberty Steakhouse in Myrtle Beach, SC who also took home three silver and five bronze awards.

In the previous three years, Nantahala has received a total of fourteen CCB medals including nine from 2012. This years best of show is the breweries first in all fours years of competition. “It’s exciting to know that our brews are being recognized as some of the best in North Carolina, but it’s equally exciting to continue to help put Bryson City on the map. The more people who travel to our brewery help both us and our community grow.” said Jenn Huston, Taproom Wrangler at Nantahala.


About Nantahala Brewing Co.
Located in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Nantahala Brewing artfully brews award-winning, craft beer made with fresh hops, whole grains and clean, crisp Great Smoky Mountain water, from one of the purest, protected watersheds on the planet.

Nantahala Brewing Co. was founded in early 2009 and brewery operations and distribution began nearly a year later in May of 2010.

The Brewery and Tap Room are located at 61 Depot Street, Bryson City, North Carolina. Tap Room is open year-around. Call us at (828) 488-BEER (2337) for hours, directions and wholesale inquiries.

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The Green Room Opens at Nantahala Brewing


Bryson City, NC (November 1st, 2012) — Nantahala Brewing officially opened their new merchandise shop, the Green Room, which features a twenty five seat tasting bar and a retail space for the brewery’s growing selection of branded apparel and general merchandise. Beverage coolers for Nantahala’s growlers, Trail Magic Ale™ releases, 22oz bottles (to be released in 2013) and packaged guest beers are slated to be added in 2013.

Green Room Panorama

The new Green Room merchandise shop, tours & tastings bar and off-season tap room.

The expansion addresses three important challenges identified in early 2012. Among these were: a) developing an area to showcase the growing selection of apparel, merchandise and pre-packaged beer. b) determining the best method of providing brewery tours without interfering with tap room operations. c) providing our staff and customers with a warm place to enjoy our brews during the cold off-season.

The solution came during a two week trip west in June, which had resulted from an invitation to participate in Beer Camp at Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico, California. “While Greg and I were out west, we visited a hand full of breweries on our way to Chico. Along the way we noticed that our western counterparts had found creative solutions to some of the same merchandising and tour challenges were were facing. So, we took notes and upon returning borrowed parts of their solutions to meet our needs,” said Joe Rowland, co-owner and chief operations & marketing officer.

In addition to serving as a merchandise shop, the new space includes a thirteen tap compact bar perfect for tours & tastings. The Green Room bar has also become the official off-season home of Nantahala’s tap room. “Though patrons are welcome to bundle up and venture out into the main tap room for a round of corn hole or darts, there’s now a warm seat waiting for them when the games are over,” said Jenn Huston, Tap Room Manager.

Main Tap Room Panorama

Our Main Tap Room on New Years Eve.

Once the season returns in March and the tap room moves back to the main space, the Green Room will provide a separate space for tours & tastings, merchandise sales, Nantahala beer to go, private parties and as an actual green room for performers and bands.


About Nantahala Brewing Co.
Located in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Nantahala Brewing artfully brews award-winning, craft beer made with fresh hops, whole grains and clean, crisp Great Smoky Mountain water, from one of the purest, protected watersheds on the planet.

Nantahala Brewing Co. was founded in early 2009 and brewery operations and distribution began nearly a year later in May of 2010.

The Brewery and Tap Room are located at 61 Depot Street, Bryson City, North Carolina. Tap Room is open year-around. Call us at (828) 488-BEER (2337) for hours, directions and wholesale inquiries.

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