I love a good brewery. Honestly, I love a good beer so of course I'm going to love a good brewery. I worked with the Oskar Blues Brewery dream team on a piece for Brit + Co - Rep the USA at Your Olympics Party with these 8 Craft Beers - so when they offered to host us on a tour, it took all of 30 seconds to say yes to the road trip.
Located just across the border in Brevard, NC, Oskar Blues is an easy (and scenic) 1 hour and 15 minute drive from Greenville. Headquartered in Longmont, CO, the sister satellite in Brevard was opened in 2013 and offers tours, corn hole leagues, live music and of course, killer beer in both their Tasty Weasel Tap Room and outdoor bar venue.
The place is funky, in all the right ways. From the employees to the ambiance, there's a very real "go with the flow" vibe that runs throughout. Maybe it's because of location - situated miles from downtown Brevard and steps away from the Pisgah National Forest - or maybe it's because it's in their DNA to never be complacent - they were the first to put craft beer in cans because "it made for better beer, that's why" - but when you walk in, you feel like you're home.
Whatever it is, it's working. As a company, Oskar Blues has grown 30% every year since 2010 and in 2016 they're projected to brew 100,000-105,000 barrels of beer through their 28, 200-barrel fermentation tanks and three, 300-barrel fermentation tanks with projections of being able to brew 210,000 barrels once their warehouse expansion is complete by the end of the year.
The origin story of their most popular beer, Dale's Pale Ale, might be what's most representative of the brand. Oskar Blues' founder, Dale Katechis, started home brewing in his dorm while he was a student at Auburn (so obviously, aside from being tied to the SEC, Dale and I would have been best friends). The result? Not a pale ale but a beer that him and his buddies could enjoy and dubbed Dale's Pale Ale only because it rhymed (lol, college). But it's that embracement of a good time, the pursuit to find solace in the imperfect that makes the brewery so much fun to be around today.
Whether you're looking for a stop during a bike ride through DuPont Forest or a Saturday road trip that's easy in every way possible, Oskar Blues is a sure thing. All you need to bring is an open mind for good beer and good times and you'll be welcomed with open arms.
Oh, and take a Crowler home. It's everything and then a little bit more.
Know another road trip I should take? Tweet me the details @kelseyjoynelson immediately, please.