This post is going to be very…well…short. Last night I went to my class on the Business of Beer, which was held at Burial Brewing Company on the South Slope in downtown Asheville.
Burial Brewing Co. has been featured in many articles about Asheville lately, including one about the top five breweries to visit while here (even though I honestly don’t know how you can rationalize picking only five). Whenever I went last night, we listened to the head brewer, Tim Gormley, speak about how Burial began, where the name came from, and how he and his cohorts got their start in the industry.
Interestingly, Tim and Doug Reiser got their start writing a beer blog in the Seattle area. From there, Tim decided to work part time (then eventually full time) in various breweries. From there, Tim and Doug decided to start their own brewery, and figured Asheville would be the perfect spot, as well as beer culture, to cultivate their roots. Jess Reiser, Doug’s wife, came up with the name for the brewery while in New Orleans when she was driving past a graveyard – Tim noted that the word “burial” came to mind, and everyone thought it was just a fantastic idea so they went with it.
The style of beer that Burial produces normally leans toward saisons, which Tim has been infatuated with since a visit to Europe, where he went to several different farmhouse breweries in the western European region. He admired these breweries because of their use of local ingredients, as well as their atmosphere; in turn, he wishes to incorporate this same feeling into Burial’s beers, and is an avid user of local ingredients such as honey, sweet potatoes, rhubarb, and even lavender! Burial is also known for their small-batch beers, and doesn’t have what most know as a flagship beer (basically the beer which the brewery is known for and is circulated year-round).
While Burial began with REALLY SMALL batches (brewing only with a one barrel system, originally located at the front of their small warehouse), they have expanded to a 10-barrel system, and eventually hope to upgrade to a 30-barrel. In addition to just brewing their beer, they also perform collaborations with other breweries to make concoctions such as the Black Ink Cascadian Dark Ale (with Asheville Brewing Co.) and Firebreather Barrel-Aged Belgian Strong Ale (with Hi-Wire Brewing Co.).
Overall, I had a great time learning about the brewery and what direction they want to take in the future. They’re a perfect fit for Asheville, and Asheville is a perfect fit for them. As Tim said, “it’s not like Seattle or Philly, where I grew up, where breweries competed against each other; here it’s like a brotherhood, and that’s what makes it special”.