Under the Tap

Craft Beer, Craft People, Craft Places

Category: Craft People (page 2 of 2)

Brewer Noah McIntee

Somewhere between his dedication to Lazy Hiker Brewing, time with his young family, and service to his communitylazy hiker and pets 008 brewer Noah McIntee found time to sit down with me earlier this year.

Noah came to the small town of Franklin, NC with an extensive work history in the craft beer industry and the personal dream of building a brewery from the ground up.  It all started with a team , an idea, a building, and some money. Noah came in with the brewing experience to make lazy hiker and pets 003it all a reality. Lazy Hiker Brewing came together in just six months and at a low cost due to the team’s dedicated vision.  Noah had his hand in every aspect of the brewery – even traveling to China to design the tanks used on the premises. So why all the attention to detail? Taste their beer and you’ll know. While Lazy Hiker is still a young brewery, celebrating one year on June 11th, you can taste the experience. They hit the ground running with quality brewing standards and the knowledge of how to “make beers that work”.

 

So what’s Naoh’s Favorite Lazy Hiker beer? He says it’s the Slackpack IPA. “I was nervous when I settled on this recipe. It’s not a west coast IPA, it’s not an English IPA. It uses American yeast and American hops that make it a little spicier and more floral. It has a flavor profile that I like.”lazy hiker and pets 010lazy hiker and pets 009

When I asked Noah what his favorite part of his job or this industry was he answered, “the connections with people and the sharing of ideas over a beer.” That’s my favorite part too, Noah. Thanks for taking the time, the people here really are great!

 

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Lazy Hiker Brewing is located at 188 W. Main Street in Franklin, NC. Visit their website for more info.

 

Bhramari Brewhouse

In February, I was in Asheville alone on a random Tuesday afternoon. Instead of cruising around aimlessly, I decided to check out a new brewery.

I pulled up to Bhramari Brewhouse sometime in the very early afternoon.  In a town full of parallel spots with parking meters and paying to be in a parking garage a mile from where you need to be, I was happy to discover that they had their own parking lot! A rarity in downtown Asheville. They were just opening and I was greeted kindly by everyone I encountered.

I took a seat at the bar. The place was beautiful. I loved the industry meets nature feel, lots of cool metal sculptures placed among warm woods, rocks, and plants. The tables had little landscapes in the middle with rocks and succulents. They also had a wall of plants that made me feel like I was back in Portland. Everything about this place made my senses happy. Even the music selection fit.

They only had three of their own beers on tap, but their guest selection was great! Lots of Asheville beers: Hi-Wire, Green Man, Catawba, Asheville Brewing, and Twin Leaf. They even had something from Boojum and Raleigh Brewing. All great North Carolina beers. I started with Bhramari’s three, afterall that’s what I was there for. First the Carolina Common.  Not really my style of beer, but it was well executed so I decided to try it infused. They offer a different infusion every couple of days. That day they were forcing the brew through vanilla and coffee beans. The vanilla stood out more than the coffee, but I figured that later in the day the flavor would get stronger. It was still delicious. I ended with a half-pint of their sour, The Good Fight. Not too sweet, not too tart. Slightly malty, very refreshing.

I was just about to leave when a friend came in and joined me at the bar. Ian works for Country Malt Group and was there on business checking it all out. He ordered a flight of their beer as well as a flight of their sodas. I hadn’t even thought to try their house-made non-alcoholic drinks. With an offer to share, we sat and sampled together. Wow! I have to say, Bhramari makes a wonderful soda! I enjoyed the Charred Lemongrass Ginger Beer the most, or was it the Thai Coconut? I couldn’t decide. Each soda offered a new, complex surprise for the taste buds.

I had just dropped by so I didn’t take a tour,  ask a lot of questions, or get any pictures. I will have to make it a point to go back soon. Would love the chance to go back on a brew day and meet the rest of this wonderful crew. Thanks guys and gals! Can’t wait to get back.

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Lazy Hiker Brewing Company

IMG_0602Passing through Franklin, NC on our way home from holiday visiting, we decided to stop in and check out Lazy Hiker Brewing Company. I first met brewery partner Lenny Jordan just before they started brewing. He was looking for someone to paint murals in and around the taproom. I ended up not having time to do the job since I was working long hours in a brewery myself, however it is one that I still wish I would have taken.  On our initial meeting he showed me around and told me about their plans for the brewery. The building is the old Franklin Town Hall and Fire Department, perfect for a brewery and music venue.  They were doing an amazing job with the renovations, taking their time to get everything right before bringing in brewing equipment. I followed the progress on social media and was excited to finally get to taste the beer.

We pulled into Lazy Hiker Brewing Company at 8:30pm the Wednesday before New Year’s eve. The small parking lot beside the brewery was full, but we were able to find a spot right across the street. There was a food truck parked beside the building and while we didn’t order anything, it did smell heavenly. Inside, the place was packed, but the spacious layout kept it comfortable. There were tables full of families and friends gathering for a beer and maybe dinner. An open garage door near the bar allowed customers to access the patio where there were more seats and an open fire pit. It was perfect for the mild winter weather we’d been having.

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Slack Pack IPA photo by Liz Nance

Once bellied up to the bar, I could see that there was only one bartender and she was slammed, but handling it. We waited patiently and ordered a couple beers. I had the Slack Pack IPA. This beer had a great citrus aroma and the flavor to match it. Not a super balanced beer, as there were almost no malt flavors coming through, but I enjoyed the pine notes all the same. It seemed like there was something spicy or earthy mid-sip, maybe? I wanted to know what hops were used and should have asked. Aj ordered the Bourbon Barrel Aged Double IPA. With an ABV of 11.11% you sure could smell the booze in this one! The hop flavor lingered later and was really present in the post-beer burp, but it seemed to be drowning in the booze in the glass. The vanilla (possibly from the bourbon) was very strong. I would love to try this beer dry hopped.

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Headlamp Black IPA photo by Liz Nance

Before we left, I decided to try one more. I kicked up the IBUs with their Headlamp Black IPA. This brew had the malt of a stout with the hop of an IPA. It had the great hop piney-ness that I love, which came through more  after several sips and time for the beer to warm up some.

All in all, three fine brews. We really enjoyed our visit. I am excited to see what brews these guys will come up with in the future. The brewery may be new, but the brewer’s not new to this game. What are you waiting for?

 

Lazy Hiker Brewing Co. opened in May 2015 and  is located at 188 W. Main Street in Franklin, NC. Their current hours of operation are Tues-Thur 12-9pm, Fri & Sat 12-11pm, and Sun 12-6pm. Stop by and visit them in person or check them out on the web at lazyhikerbrewing.com . Be sure to look for them on all your favorite social media sites as well!

(This post was edited to correct misinformation about brewery ownership. Lazy Hiker is run by a team of people dedicated to the industry. Stay tuned for more…)

Andrews Brewing Company

We pull up to the brewery on a sunny Tuesday afternoon in December. It’s warm in Andrews, NC for this time of year and a beautiful day to be outside.

Andrews Brewing Company is very small; with 330 Square feet of building, most of their seating is outside. We walk in and are warmly greeted by Judy Carlson. She and her husband Eric Carlson opened this place nine years ago as Calaboose Wine Cellars. Still making wine, they added brewing craft beer to the operation two years ago with no looking back. Inside are four or five large tanks holding their wine, which is made from grapes grown right on the property. The vineyard is a beautiful view from the deck of the taproom.

After hellos, Judy pours us a flight of the six beers they currently have on tap: a beautiful array with Lightning Bug Blonde, Apricot Amber, Leatherwood Red, Coffee Stout, Four Lane ESB, and Equinox IPA. Then we retreat to the deck where Judy cranks up a couple of overhead heaters and then departs to let Eric know we’ve arrived.

{Eric and I first met nine or ten years ago as he was preparing to open the winery. At that time, I was a shift manager at Nantahala Outdoor Center’s outfitter store. Eric came in to buy a rafting paddle, but needed something a little more affordable than the $75 Warner I had to offer. When he told me that he needed the paddle to stir wine, not to guide a raft down the Nantahala River, I made it my mission to be the one to help him out. I hopped on the store bike and rode around the center in search of an unloved, unwanted rafting paddle that could be given new life…..and find it I did. Years later I was hired to play music at a new small brewery and there I found Eric who showed me the paddle, still in use.}

Soon the four of us are talking beer and life while tasting and laughing. Every visit to Andrews Brewing Company is like this, and not just for industry folk. This is a very welcoming place, a place to visit with friends or find yourself immersed in great conversation among strangers.

We talk about the craft beer industry, new breweries opening in the area, music, and electronics. Eric has been working on some really neat stuff to make aspects of the brewing process automated like I have never seen in a brewery this small. Then we move on to a topic that we will find ourselves coming back to many times during our visit, a topic that Eric says is quickly becoming the only thing he and his brewer talk about – quality.

I first visited Andrews Brewing a few years ago to play music and try their beer. Not bad, but nothing that I can remember now. However, this little brewery has come a long way. Out of the 6 beers, we found several worth writing about. Eric originally reached out to me knowing that I enjoy dark beers. “Liz, we now have a coffee stout. Want to come review it?” My first thought? How do you honestly review a friend’s beer? But I was in, and I’m glad I did.andrews brewing notes

The Coffee Stout is described on their menu as “Love at 1st Whiff”, and boy is that right. This beer has a rich coffee aroma. There is a slight coffee bitter that immediately gives way to a velvety smoothness, like the perfect cup of espresso. I can’t wait to have this one again.

A big surprise for us in the lineup is the Apricot Amber. The aroma and first taste are almost more floral than fruity. I feel like I am standing under a blossoming fruit tree. The following sips reveal more hops and fruit notes. The finish is very crisp and not overly sweet.

Before we head back to Bryson, Eric offers to take us to see his new space. We hop in the car and follow him a couple of blocks closer to downtown Andrews. The space he’s acquired is 9000 square feet, a massive jump in size for the brewery. This summer, they hosted a few bands in the small yard there where Eric has built a stage. The plan is a very slow expansion. For now, Eric has moved the brewing into this building (the reason there are only wine vats in the taproom). This is where we meet the brewer, Dusty, and see the cool automated system that Eric has told us about. We also get an opportunity to try a Scotch ale that’s waiting to be carbonated. Delicious! Good things are happening. Eventually, the plan will involve a new taproom space and who knows what else. Since the building was home to the old A&P grocery store it already has cold rooms, dry storage, and floor drains in place. Perfect for whatever Eric can dream up.

Standing in the big wide open space of the building, I can clearly see that the possibilities are endless.

 

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Check them out for yourself in person or on the web. Find them on Facebook.

Andrews Brewing Company

565 Aquone Road
Andrews, NC 28901
(828) 321-2006

 

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