Beer Guy: Nantahala Brewing has many surprises

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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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