There’s a classy little place on the corner of Main and Everett Streets in the historic downtown area of Bryson City, North Carolina. The Cork & Bean Bistro is a part of the new Everett Boutique Hotel & Bistro. The restaurant is open to the public and known for their great food which focuses on locally grown and organic ingredients. The lounge has a full bar, a fine wine selection, and craft beer. The beautiful wood of the bar, the rustic wooden chairs and tables, and the warm lighting represent the natural beauty of the area with elegance. The staff are friendly folks from all over who have come to call the mountains home and have a grand appreciation of their surroundings.
Oh yes, and there’s craft beer. That’s what brought us in. The bistro currently has eight taps where they rotate various beers from the growing brewery scene of the Carolinas. We have enjoyed beers from The Unknown Brewing Company, Mother Earth Brewing, and Foothills Brewing in recent visits. They are currently featuring two delicious beers from Lazy Hiker Brewing; a Coffee Stout and one of the brewery’s flagship brews, the Slack Pack IPA. They also have an Amber Ale and Milk Stout from Duck Rabbit Brewery, Railhouse Brewery‘s Ka-Bar Brown, and a few flavors from Nantahala Brewing Company which is in walking distance to the bistro. No matter which beer you choose, the lines are always clean and they probably have the perfect food to pair it with.
So next time you are in Bryson, stop in and enjoy a tasty Carolina craft brew in style.
Passing 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.
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.
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…)