There’s a fancy new beer store near me, so you know I had to check it out…….a lot. And of course, I went back with my camera.
Beer & Wine Express is located in Cherokee, NC just off of Highway 74 on Highway 441 North. For me this is just a scenic drive a couple exits up from Bryson City. It is a family owned business and they have made me feel more than welcome every time I’ve visited. The building is brand new and the store is always spotless and orderly. They have a very large floor plan with a lot of room for growth.
The craft beer selection contains all my favorites and many I have yet to try. The shelves are stocked with plenty of brews from right here in North Carolina. I’ve also picked up beers from all over the US that I’ve never seen here. I wish I could give you the full list, guess you’ll just have to check it out for yourself.
Mark and Kim Pettit have been vacationing in Bryson City for 15 years. I had the pleasure of meeting them several years ago during one of their many visits to Nantahala Brewing Company. Sharing a love for craft beer and music, and a passion for people, we hit it off. I’d look forward to seeing them every year, either in the brewery while I was working or in the audience at various performances. These were two people who genuinely loved people, art, music, and the beauty of our small mountain town. Lovers of the finer, yet simpler, things in life.
The renovation of the building they chose in Bryson City started awhile back and has had everyone’s curiosity peaked. Is it going to be a restaurant? A bar? It looked cool, like a place I’d love to hang out. Imagine how happy I was to find out it was going to become Mountain Layers Brewing Company! And then even more excited to find out that it was Mark and Kim who were opening it!
Since they’ve moved to Bryson City full-time, I’ve looked forward to getting together with them, but building a brewery from the ground up takes a lot of your time. Mark and Kim have a kind of excitement about life that radiates. It makes you want to get pumped. This past Monday I had the opportunity to stop in and see how the place was coming along. Their enthusiasm made it very easy to get excited for them and their future. They have been working hard and are looking to have beer on tap sometime before the end of this year. Mountain Layers will have a bar on two levels. The downstairs bar will give patrons a view of the brewhouse. You’ll be able to enjoy a beer and watch the magic happen! The bar upstairs will be a little bigger and has a rooftop deck with amazing views of historic downtown Bryson City, the Tuckaseegee River, and the surrounding Smoky Mountains. I can already see where my regular seat is going to be….
Even though Mark and Kim have some brewing experience under their belts, they didn’t want to get in over their heads. Going from home brewing to a full scale brewery has its share of challenges. In order to keep them ahead of the game they have recruited some outside help. Noah McIntee is joining the team as Head Brewer and General Manager. Noah comes to Mountain Layers by way of Lazy Hiker Brewing Co. in Franklin. In their recent press release, Noah had this to say, “Mountain Layers is being built on an infectious passion for community and people – two of the core traits that define craft beer culture. I’m honored to be working with Mark & Kim in this exciting venture that embraces and explores the many layers of this amazing region.” Mark and Kim commented, “Noah brings a commitment to quality and creativity as well as a genuine embrace of the community.”
Mountain Layers Brewing Company is planning to open this fall. Autumn just cannot get here fast enough. Find them on Facebook to keep up with their progress and plans for opening.
Mountain Layers Brewing Company™ is going to be a 7 barrel craft microbrewery and taproom. Located on Everett Street in beautiful downtown Bryson City alongside the Tuckaseegee River. Located in Swain County at the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, the new brewery is built on the belief that the mountains have layers of history, cultures, and people which are all reflected in our ancient blue mountains stacked one after the other to the horizon.
We wrapped up a show at Andrews Brewing Company around 9pm and asked the bartender if there was somewhere nearby to get food. She recommended Hoppy Trout Brewing Company. This is one thing I love about this industry, one brewery sending us to the next brewery.
We drove over to Hoppy Trout only to find out that they stopped serving food at 9pm, but their bar stays open until 10pm. We decided that since we had found ourselves in a brewery we’ve never tried we might as well wait a little longer to eat. So we decide to get food later at the Huddle House and made our way to the bar.The place was busy with people finishing their meals. The physical bar itself was a cool mix of woods patched together. Everything seemed simple, not over the top, yet super comfortable. They had a great variety of their own brews on tap. They also had a few guest taps, one from Noble Cider and one from Boojum Brewing. We, of course, wanted to try theirs. Fresh in from playing music, I wasn’t thinking about tasting and reviewing beers. I went straight for a full pint of their All Hail Ceasar IPA, a deliciously orangy beer. Aj put more thought into it. He tasted the Nelson Sauvin Single Hop IPA, the Mungo Double IPA, and the Dr.Smore on Nitro. Each beer was a tasty surprise. Another new brewery making great beers right out of the gate. The guy serving us knew his stuff and was really fun to talk to. We found out before we left that he is a brewer for the Hoppy Trout. Judging by the brew, he’s a good one and he’s working with good recipes.
Once we had beers in hand, we toasted to new beers, small businesses, and a good show. Behind us we could see the guys cooking in the kitchen and the flames of the brick oven pizza. They were moving fast, you could tell their night was almost over. The bartender disappeared for a minute and came back with good news. The cook in the kitchen was Tom Rodeck, the brewmaster and co-owner of the establishment and he wanted us to try their pizza. What?! We don’t have to eat Huddle House?! The night just kept getting better. Soon we had a delicious pie in front of us. WOW! Crust, sauce, toppings, it was all perfect! Since we were the last pizza out, Tom came out of the kitchen to say hello and ask what we thought.. It turned out Tom had seen us play once before at Andrews Brewing and was looking forward to having us play at the Hoppy Trout once their patio is built. We’d be glad to! Everyone was so friendly. From wait staff to owners to patrons, we were surrounded by smiling faces.
So there we go! Another awesome addition to the brewing community. More great people and more great brews! We can’t wait to go back and take a tour of the facility. I hated posting this with no pictures other than the fuzzy shot I captured that night, but decided to get the word out anyway. Go check it out for yourself!
The Hoppy Trout is located at 911 Main Street in Andrews, NC. Find them on Facebook or check out their website. Liz and AJ Nance are an Americana duo performing around Western NC.
Somewhere between his dedication to Lazy Hiker Brewing, time with his young family, and service to his community 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 it 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.”
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!
Lazy Hiker Brewing is located at 188 W. Main Street in Franklin, NC. Visit their website for more info.