App Mountain Brewery taps into Boone
Sean Spiegelman seldom sees a craft beer he wouldn’t want to
And rarely does he hear of a good cause he wouldn’t want to embrace.
So here is Spiegelman’s Shangri-La – the Appalachian Mountain Brewery, which just debuted out where Boone and Hodges creeks meet by the Boone Mall, in a refurbished 2,500-square-foot building that used to be a welding and metal fabrication shop.
After years of tortuous Boone political jujitsu, which included turning down previous attempts at a microbrewery inside the city limits before a unanimous council approved zoning 15 months ago, the taps are now flowing with Blonde Ambition, Switchback Amber and Black Gold Porter, among other crafted beers.
But, alas, there is no resting in his Shangri-La for Spiegelman, 36, up from South Florida with wife Stephanie several years ago and now raising two kids in Boone – and hosting a long line of new fans as co-owners of the eco-friendly tap room.
All for a good cause.
“First off,” he said, barely able to get away from the row of taps as the crowds swelled on opening weekend, “I’m an avid craft beer drinker. And Boone is the perfect place for a craft brewery. The difference is making a difference in the community, as well.”
His boast: To bring a few vital components other than just beer to the High Country.
“We’re looking down the road to the potential of what we can become and what we can do to further affect the changes we would like to see – the brewery itself would be as sustainable as possible — complete with solar thermal brewing technology,” he said. “The long-term desire is a net-zero brewery, completely self-sufficient with its own power.”
And how’s this for a good start – last Thursday, amid opening weekend hoopla, Spiegelman said AMB handed more than 800 pounds of spent grain to local farmers for cattle feed.
This “full-circle” brewing process, he said, “diverts the spent grain from the landfill to local farmers. In exchange, meat donated from the farms will be given directly to local food banks to continue the effort of giving back to the community.”
Also, harvested rain water at the brewery will provide vegetables to the Hospitality House, which helps families in crisis, poverty and homeless situations in northwestern North Carolina rebuild their lives.
“We are closing the circle for good causes in our community,” Spiegelman said.
What else at Shangri-La, where craft beers meet good causes …
Pints for Non-Profit: A percentage of the price from each pint of an App Mountain brew will go to local charities, on a rotating basis, Spiegelman promises.
Bike stations: Spiegelman also wants customers to be sustainable, too! To help facilitate this, the brewery plans covered bike stations and will offer incentives to those who walk or ride their bike.
Photovoltaic panels: On its web site, the brewery says its energy demands are offset by highly efficient solar panels. Its southwest-facing roof will have a 5kw array of PV panels. It notes that “these panels convert sunlight directly into electricity and feed immediately into the brewery.”
Wetlands: There are plans to restore the riparian zone surrounding the brewery and transforming it into an educational wetlands. Planting native North Carolina plants, such as blueberry bushes and flame azaleas, will inhibit further erosion of the creek bank, Spiegelman said, as well as provide a healthy habitat for aquatic organisms in the creeks.
Two things not in future plans: tours or a restaurant.
“But,” Spiegelman offered, pondering the possibilities, “we might have a food truck eventually.”
For more information, visit http://www.appalachianmountainbrewery.com. For a taste, visit the brewery. To get there, follow N.C. 105 North into Boone. Turn right onto Wilson Road. At the next light, turn left onto Winkler’s Creek Road. Finally, turn right onto Boone Creek Drive.