Beer Run: Nantahala Trail Magic

Trail Magic

Trail Magic

This past Saturday, March 10, Nantahala Brewing Company had their first ever bottle release.  Everything before this has been on draught some where if not at the brewery.  You’ll recall last summer we stopped in after a rafting trip with my family at NOC.  I said it then and I’ll say it again.  There brews are solid.  Since the last time we were there they’ve changed head brewers.  Chris left to stay put in Atlanta.  Not sure why, maybe it was that day job in ATL while moonlighting as a brewer in North Carolina that did him in?  So now Greg takes the place as head brewer.  His words to me were, “It was a case of being in the right place at the right time.”

Saturday was gorgeous and we couldn’t have asked for a nicer drive heading north into the mountains.  We were of course late leaving, but Sarah did manage to get out of the bed shortly after I asked her to wake up.  Jumping in the car at 8:23 with GPS showing exactly 11:00 made me one happy beer run kiddo.  So off we go into those their mountains.  We make a few stops and get to the brewery around 11:20 or so.  For everyone else in Athens, make this trip.  441 almost all the way with hardly any traffic.  There’s probably 20 – 30 people on the patio socializing.  We notice A.J., newly dubbed Wort, and take up conversation about what each of us have done lately.

early crowd

early crowd

Being the first bottle release would have to be a big deal right?  And a big deal it was.  Friday night marked the first tapping of the first in the Trail Magic series.  A bourbon barrel aged stout.  Also planned for Friday night was a rare and homebrew bottle swap.  We didn’t make it, but heard it was a great time.  Saturday at noon when the brewery opened each person would be allowed to buy four 750mL bottles.  They were swiping cards using their iPads which was pretty nice.  As nice as the brewery if you’ve never had the opportunity to sit at that nice long bar.  The first person I had the pleasure of talking to was head brewer Greg.  He was nice enough to offer up a sample of their yet to be released Session Rye pale ale.  I told him we were up from Athens and his reply was that the Session Rye PA was loosely brewed after Terrapin‘s Rye PA, because of his enjoyment of it.  I had a sample of the Trail Magic and it was awesome.  I can’t wait to start popping those bottles.

We later were lucky enough to get a brewery tour from the owner’s fiance.  To our surprise, she mentioned they are actually living there at the moment with her daughter.  Since the last time we were there they’ve built a climate controlled barrel room.  I must say this is better than even our local brewery that I know I’ve noticed their filled barrels hanging around in the open parts of the working areas.  She was such a sweet lady, and a Dawg fan.  So thanks Jen for showing us around.  We didn’t hang around long as we had the drive back before us.  Though they did later that night tap a firkin of Trail Magic also.  Many bottles didn’t get sold.  They have since put those for sale in the brewery.  If you’re in the area or not to far away, I highly recommend it.

Belgian Dirty Blonde Golden

Belgian Dirty Blonde Golden

Greg also told us about the other two brews in the Trail Magic series.  The next is scheduled for June 8-9 and will be a lemon grass double IPA.  I told him we would certainly be there for it.  I’d even texted the rest of the Wolfpac (who were in Tampa for Cigar City‘s Hunahpu Day) that we could get a cabin for the weekend near-by and make the bottle swap on Friday night.  Twenty minutes down the road Sarah realizes and reminds me that we’re in Hilton Head Island that weekend.  Oh well, guess we have to keep our fingers crossed that they will still have some for sale the next weekend.  The third release will be a barley wine.  Hopefully during an away game in October, but not during the bye week.  As Sarah is in a wedding that weekend.

We safely arrive home with our goods.  One is chilling the rest are chillaxin in the beer closet.  It’s been tough putting words to paper, or monitor, file, site, however you’d phrase this.  Reason being tomorrow is vacation with a tight agenda.  We’re brewing a Belgian IPA at Gratis Brewing with hopes that it’ll be ready for the Athens’ Classic City Brew Fest tailgate, the day before the actually fest.  Their may be some first wort hopping going on tomorrow.  Keep Twitter running in the background people.  It may get kinda crazy.


Posted on March 13, 2012, in Beer Run and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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