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April 25, 2014

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From left, Tuesdae Rice, Todd Rice, Jeff Walker and Shelly Walker stand inside the Blowing Rock
Brewery during last Thursday’s ribbon cutting and grand opening.
JEFF EASON PHOTO



Originally published: 2013-10-17 10:08:56
Last modified: 2013-10-17 10:09:41

A Brew with a View

Western North Carolina has earned a name for itself in recent years as a hub for craft beer breweries and pubs.
 Our area’s plentiful supply of crisp mountain water, WNC’s adventurous yet laidback lifestyle and, to some extent, our moonshining traditions have all created the perfect backdrop for a beer brewery boom. 

Up until now, that boom has been taking place in towns, such as Asheville, Waynesville, Brevard and Weaversville. 

Now, Blowing Rock can boast of its own contribution to WNC beer culture. 

The Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn is the High Country’s first brewery, pub and inn all rolled into one. Located on Sunset Drive in downtown Blowing Rock, the venue features an on-site brewery, first-class restaurant and pub and a 14-room inn. 

The Blowing Rock Ale House has been open for nearly two months, but had been serving Blowing Rock Brewing Company products that were created by the company at breweries off of the mountain. 

All of that changed this week, when the company unveiled its own brewery, located in a building behind the restaurant and inn. The opening was the result of a full year of renovations to one of Blowing Rock’s historic downtown properties. 

The grand opening and ribbon cutting for the Blowing Rock Brewing Company took place Thursday, Oct. 10, sponsored in part by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce. At the event, people met with the owners and brewers, sampled food and beers from the Blowing Rock Ale House and toured the new facility. 

“In such a great town as Blowing Rock, we weren’t satisfied doing all this just to serve the same old bar food,” said Blowing Rock Brewing Company co-founder Todd Rice. “We’re striving for something unique to provide for an exceptional experience.”

At the grand opening, Rice was on hand with co-owner Jeff Walker and their spouses, Tuesdae Rice and Shelly Walker. 

Also present was master brewer and beer production manager Ray Hodge, along with his “brew crew” of Todd Ritter and Josh Carlough. 

“Armed with decades of brewing wisdom and a brand new, high-end boutique brewing system, I can tell you that Ray Hodge and his crew intend to put the town of Blowing Rock on the national map for great beer,” Walker said.

Rob Dyer and Lisa Stripling, owners of the Best Cellar Restaurant and Inn at Ragged Gardens, opened the Blowing Rock Ale House earlier this year in the large inn that formerly housed the Maple Lodge. 

Open for both lunch and dinner every day except Wednesday, the Ale House features a casual dining atmosphere combined with one of the most unique menus in the High Country. 

Husband and wife executive chef team Eric and Jenny Virt prepare a menu that revolves around seasonally available food, making freshly made, locally sourced appetizers, entrees and desserts. 

Blowing Rock Brewing Company is also making a significant input into the local economy. Founded in 2008 by Walker and Rice, the company now employs 35 people in the High Country. Through its partnership with Charlotte-based Tryon Distributing Company, its beers can be purchased in restaurants and independent retailers throughout the state, as well as in retail chains, such as Harris Teeter, Lowes Foods, Fresh Market, Ingles, Whole Foods, Earth Fare and Total Wine. 

“Our company is quality-focused, not quantity-focused,” Rice said. “And our Ale House series brand positions us to focus on product creativity, quality and freshness.” 

Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn is located at 152 Sunset Drive in downtown Blowing Rock. For more information, visit http://www.blowingrockbrewing.com.
 
For more information and stories, see The Blowing Rocket.


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