Craft Brewery of the Day – UpCountry Brewing in Asheville, NC
When the majority stake in Terrapin Beer Co. was sold to MillerCoors’ craft arm Tenth and Blake in 2016, Terrapin co-founder John Cochran went looking for new opportunities within the industry.
He soon became enamored with the Asheville beer scene, moved to the city from Athens, Georgia, purchased Altamont Brewing Co. in West Asheville, and transformed it into UpCountry Brewing Co. Two years later, the revamped business is striving to be the community anchor for the Patton Avenue side of Haywood Road, and in many eyes is succeeding in that endeavor.
Key to that draw are the flavor-forward beers by head brewer Bryan Bobo, covering a range of styles from the flagship UpCo Mountain Lager, Hop Dread Red IPA and Bogey Free Session IPA to goses, saisons, stouts and German and Belgian-style brews. Experimental small-batch Friday releases by assistant brewer Allison Carr further diversify the increasingly intriguing portfolio.
Likewise furthering UpCountry’s hub aspirations is the dramatic renovation of the taproom and restaurant that was completed over the summer. The space’s high-ceilinged, open design is augmented by a colorful mural along one wall and art by talented community members hanging on the other. Comfortable open-air patio seating out back and a lower area for cornhole make the outdoors just as appealing, and a forthcoming bier garden will soon accompany the front entrance.
The new look is also reflected through a recent rebrand that reflects the abundant fauna and flora of Western North Carolina. Canned releases carry the fresh look, though the use of the company’s initial imagery coincided with UpCountry becoming the first Asheville area brewery to utilize the Brewers Association’s Certified Independent Craft seal on a packaged product.
Beyond the brewery’s abundant in-house food and beverage options, Cochran has been vocal about the business’ commitment to paying local musicians to play shows without charging listeners a cover. These artists are featured multiple nights a week, with amplified acts or ones with drums taking to the decent-sized stage on the brewery half of the building and solo and small-group acoustic performers holding forth from a cozy mic’d station on the restaurant side.
UpCountry Brewing Co.
1042 Haywood Road
Asheville, NC 28806
Phone: (828) 575-2400
By Edwin Arnaudin