Joe is the owner of Nantahala Brewing Co. in the middle of the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. He is also the President of the Asheville Brewers Alliance. He joined the tour in Chico, and he’s one of the few brewers that’ll be on board the entire trip across the country — every mile, every stop, every festival. But it didn’t start that way. He planned to travel as far as Denver, but Ken Grossman convinced him to stick around. I bet it took a lot of arm twisting too.
Favorite moments so far
There’s been a lot. Every single day there’s something crazy going on. Building that t-shirt canon was pretty badass, or whatever the hell else we figure out how to shoot out of it. Brian had a split-second decision when we were getting on the bus. He said “Damn, we need a project.” So we sent Hunter to the store to get all the pieces and started building it. And it works! Finding the solenoid at the home improvement store was awesome. We use it for regulating glycol valve systems. I would have thought we’d need to order that.
The Grand Canyon was pretty epic. Rafting down that thing, water in our faces, everybody screaming.
I’m excited for people to see the site of the new Sierra Brewery. It’s a really cool place. It’s an amazing facility. Pretty badass.
Why this tour is important
Collaboration is still an incredibly important part of the craft beer movement. Getting together with all these different brewers who we all know, and see each other in passing at the Craft Brewers Conference and whatnot. But to actually be trapped on a bus for two and a half weeks, forced to become friends, there’s been some fun moments of debauchery.
It’s a sign that we work together to create better beer, more interesting beer. It also opens up access to beer you might of heard of, but that you don’t get in your market. You might have heard about Ballast Point, but maybe never had their beer on the east coast. Same thing with the beers we made from the Asheville Brewers Alliance. There’s not many people who know what that organization is, even in Asheville. So it’s very cool to help put us on the map in a different way. Craft beer drinkers know we’re there, and anybody following Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, or Oskar Blues know what’s going on. But general public, probably not. So it’s really cool they included us and helped get out name out there.