Burial Beer Company in Asheville, North Carolina by Edwin Arnaudin
Burial Beer Co. may not be the secret hole-in-the-wall brewery and tasting room it was in its first year and a half on Asheville’s South Slope, but its key players have grown their business in logical, intentional ways while maintaining its initial appeal.
Named in honor of the New Orleans community’s celebrations of death through elaborate, music-filled funeral processions that stirred the souls of owners Jessica and Doug Reiser during their years in Louisiana, Burial opened in June 2013 in a former industrial space around the corner from Green Man Brewery.
In the following months, head brewer Tim Gormley rolled out a core line-up of Skillet Donut Stout, Scythe Rye IPA, Haysaw Saison, Surf Wax IPA and Bolo Coconut Brown Ale on a one barrel pilot system. New experimental batches each week and a rustic ambiance aided by farm tool tap handles, paintings of Tom Selleck and Sloth from The Goonies (there’s now a mural of the two unofficial mascots), eclectic playlists and a refreshing absence of TVs helped the brewery build a strong local following.
Interest throughout the region likewise picked up through Burial’s annual Sharpen the Blades Saison Fest in spring and Burnpile Harvest Festival each fall, and as Asheville beer tourism boomed, an increasing number of fans pointed visitors toward its agrarian-themed creations.
Now offering more varieties than ever thanks to its current 10-barrel brewhouse, which also affords regular canning of the flagship beers for distribution and rare bottle releases throughout the year, Burial taps anywhere from two to six small-batch releases each week, including one-offs from The Forge staff series and adjustments to past batches.
Food and entertainment have similarly expanded with the Salt & Smoke kitchen cooking seasonal dishes on the back patio and a weekly Sunday jazz brunch with a house band featuring former Ween drummer Claude Coleman, Jr., and bigger changes are on the way.
Within the next year, the original South Slope brewery will shift its focus to wild and sour farmhouse beers with clean beer production moving to Burial’s new Forestry Camp property just outside Biltmore Village. The former Civilian Conservations Corps lodgings are being converted to a 20-barrel production brewery, urban farm, locally-sourced restaurant, and two-story tasting room.
Burial Beer Company
40 Collier Ave
Asheville, NC 28801