Without complaint the truck tugged and tugged, pulling our new Road Trips and Brew Pubs travel trailer up and up into the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina.
Our third brew-venture for 2015 brings us to Blowing Rock Brewing Company, a craft brewery nestled in the heart of this beautiful mountainous countryside.
Blowing Rock Brewing Company opened their doors in 2013 in downtown Blowing Rock, an historic little town not far from Boone. During the American Civil War Blowing Rock served as a safe haven for families of men leaving to join the Confederate Army. After the war many men returned and settled in Blowing Rock with their families.
As time went on the scenic mountainous beauty of Blowing Rock became a regular vacation spot for visitors from nearby areas, as well as travelers from afar, and remains one of the prime locations for vacationers and outdoor enthusiasts in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina.
The area is close to numerous hiking trails, scenic overlooks and drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain, The Blowing Rock, and assorted attractions, restaurants and wineries as well. Visit BlowingRock.com for more information on things to do in the area.
The town of Blowing Rock itself boasts nice little streets to stroll about, lined with little shops offering art, souvenirs, teas, chocolates, wines, cheeses and more. Winding your way down to Sunset Drive you’ll find our target for this trip, the Blowing Rock Brewing Company.
We lagged behind during a brewery tour, which they offer on Saturdays between 1 and 5pm, and met with Luke in the brewery as he was wrapping it up. When we told him about Cryptobrewology and what we’re all about he called to Ali, who was serving beer to patrons outside on the patio, and she brought us a couple of beers to drink as we talked.
Blowing Rock Brewing Co is an impressive example of what is possible with a solid plan, a good team and a great product.
In 2013, after several years of perfecting their signature styles and recipes, and building a team to work with in creating their product, co-owners Jeff Walker and Todd Rice opened the brewery in Blowing Rock, and within the same year opened the Blowing Rock Ale House & Inn on the same property.
A year later, as demand grew statewide for their beers, Blowing Rock Brewing Company opened a second larger brewery in Hickory, NC. Though preparation took a number of years, the success and rapid growth after the grand opening of their micro brewery speaks to the quality of the product as well as the dedication and efforts of the folks involved.
The brewery in Blowing Rock consists of a 5 BBL brewing system where the Ale House series of ales and lagers is crafted and available on tap at the Blowing Rock Ale House and at other select locations.
The Hickory brewing facility is responsible for brewing the Legacy Series as well as four seasonal offerings. Beers produced at the Hickory location are canned and kegged here for wider distribution across North Carolina, including select beers for the Ale House not brewed in the smaller Blowing Rock facility.
After our chat with Luke we headed over to the Ale House just a few steps from the brewery, across the patio, where folks were dining and being entertained by Klee Liles performing a great solo-acoustic selection of rock and folk tunes. Good stuff.
The Blowing Rock Ale House is a first class dining establishment. It has a great atmosphere where you can enjoy creative dishes that accompany their unique beers. The porter-balsamic dressing served with many of their dishes is actually made with the Blowing Rock Big Chocolate Porter, and it is delicious.
We ordered a flight of their brews which included their Blowing Roclk IPA, Belgian Pale Ale, Double IPA, Extra Special Bitter, Big Chocolate Porter and Imperial Stout. All very good. Of course the Double IPA and Porter got Cindy’s seal of approval.
Our menu selections were light. I almost got the Bison Burger but wanted to leave room for our pudgie pie wraps later over the campfire, so I decided on the Grilled Flatbread which is made with their High Country Ale and drizzled with the Porter Balsamic. That was tasty. Cindy had the Baby Arugula Salad.
We sat in the main dining area, but there are a few other places to enjoy a meal and libations at the Ale House. There are picnic tables out front and on the side of the restaurant, as well as seating around back on the patio near the brewery.
Around the corner from the cozy bar area is a quiet, comfortable lounge where you wait for seating, enjoy a drink or peruse their growler and six pack offerings in the fridge if you want some beer to go.
I have to say that our visit to Blowing Rock Brewing Co. was a highlight of our trip. The people we met there are very friendly and helpful, the food is excellent and the beer is top notch.
Do what their beer can says, “Go to the Mountains.” It’s a great stop for any craft beer enthusiast visiting this area of the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina. Bring your hiking shoes. And don’t forget to take some beer home with you.
Visit the Blowing Rock Brewing Company website for more information on their breweries, beers, Ale House and Inn.