I was enjoying a leisurely morning at the house when my friend Ben called.
“Are you at La Dolce Vita?”
“No, I’m at home.”
“They’re moving tanks in at Mountain Layers Brewing.”
I got dressed, grabbed my camera, and headed out the door. He was right. Right now, even as I type, they are moving in shiny new tanks. This is a huge step for them. A lot of hard work has accumulated to this moment. The place is buzzing, and they aren’t even making beer yet!
As I made my way down Everett Street today I could see the big wooden crates out front and began to feel the excitement. Upon arrival, I shook hands with owner Mark Pettit and asked to take photos. Kim Pettit took me in through the back door to show me how close things were getting inside. I felt like I was part of the experience. Mark and Kim make everyone feel that way. I was happy to see the teamwork going into getting the tanks unloaded and moved inside, which is not an easy feat. Along side owner Mark and brewer Noah McIntee was Greg Geiger, brewmaster from Nantahala Brewing Company. A beautiful sign of community, businesses working together to bring more people into our small mountain town.
I will be making my way back over for more photos once all the tanks are in place. I always love being a part of the action. I am posting some photos from this morning for you to enjoy. Can’t wait for these things to be filled with liquid goodness!
Mountain Layers Brewing Company is located at 90 Everett Street in Bryson City, NC. Check out their website or follow them on Facebook to keep up with the progress.
There are always going to be big guys and bullies. There is always going to be competition and challenge. Why fear it?
They started small, or smaller, like you. They chose their path, as small breweries will have to do as natural growth occurs. Big beer has always been there, why fear it now? Is it because they are buying us out? But, some of us are selling. Is it because they appear to be bullies? We know how to deal with those guys on the playground……don’t we?
What do we do? To consumers, craft beer lovers, and small business supporters, I say this: continue to buy local craft brews! Buy them from small breweries, gas stations, grocery stores, and bottle shops. Order them at bars and restaurants, and if your favorite spot doesn’t carry them, ask! To taproom, bar, and restaurant owners: buy local craft beers! Support your local and regional economies. There are small craft breweries all over the U.S. and the numbers are growing. To brewers and brewery owners: Keep on being awesome people in a world of bullies. Keep on brewing. Keep on coming up with fresh ideas and reinventing old favorites. Keep giving your distributers a reason to push your product. After all, when you make a tasty brew that sells itself, no incentives are needed.
I can’t continue to write about craft beer in my neck of the woods and not mention Nantahala Brewing Company.
Here in Bryson City, NC where the Appalachian Trail crosses Hwy 74 just 13 miles from downtown, the term “Trail Magic” refers to random acts of kindness and encouragement offered up to thru-hikers, often by strangers known as “trail angels”. The trail angels in this story are brewmaster Greg Geiger and the guys at Nantahala Brewing. Their random acts of kindness? A little money and a lot of awareness for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and three delicious new beers a year for us. Yea us!
I had the great opportunity to be a part of several of these releases in my time working and hanging out there. For Trail Magic #11, I zested limes for three hours. My hands were so tired, but I smelled absolutely heavenly. That beer, Greg’s first sour, was worth every minute. Trail Magic #5 surprised me because I come from a Natty Light drinkin’ bunch. My dad came to visit me at work and after trying several beers, his favorite? The Wild Honeysuckle Saison. I would have never guessed. It was a tasty brew though, made with honeysuckles that Greg and Joe had harvested by hand from the mountains of North Georgia near the southern most end of the Appalachian Trail. While these beers were all limited releases to never be brewed again, the recipes or ideas would show up as bases in other new releases. Trail Magic numbers 1, 4, and 7; these were my favorites. All Russian Imperial Stouts, these would eventually lead to the regular release of Judaculla. Aaaaah, but I’ll never forget the perfection that was #4. For my tastes, anyway.
In 2015, during the Nantahala Brewing Company’s 5th year anniversary celebration we broke them all out. We tasted and reminisced. We popped the tops on bottles of Trail Magic Ales #1-#10 and threw in two bottles of Witch’s Brew for good measure. A wonderful line of delicious beers that really show off Greg’s creativity and the love for the place he and everyone at Nantahala Brewing call home.
Cheers and happy trails!
Trail Magic releases happen three times a year during hiking seasons: a spring release in March, a summer release in June, and a fall release in October. Check their website and Facebook page for information on future releases.
Nantahala Brewing Company is located at 65 Depot Street in Bryson City, NC.