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The Brewing Rock

Article Published: Jul. 12, 2012 | Modified: Jul. 12, 2012
The Brewing Rock

Todd Rice, John Hastings and Jeff Walker, owners of Boone Brewing Company, will operate the new microbrewery opening at the Maple Lodge in Blowing Rock.

Photo by Frank Ruggiero

Never fear, beer is here.

With some commissioners citing their campaign promises to help small businesses thrive in a tough economy, the Blowing Rock Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a conditional use permit request from the new owners of the Maple Lodge to add a restaurant and microbrewery to the inn property, located on Sunset Drive.

Rob Dyer and Lisa Stripling, owners and operators of the Best Cellar and the Inn at Ragged Gardens, purchased the Maple Lodge earlier this year. The historic bed and breakfast first opened during World War II. The new owners have spent the past few months renovating the building.

The new microbrewery will be operated out of the small cottage located behind the main building on the Maple Lodge property. Its official name will be the Blowing Rock Ale House.

Todd Rice, Jeff Walker and John Hastings, owners of Boone Brewing Company, makers of a line of beers called Blowing Rock Ale, will operate the microbrewery.

According to Rice, renovation on the cottage will not begin until after the tourist season, so as not to interfere with traffic and parking at neighboring businesses.

The Maple Lodge, now known as the Maple Lodge at Ragged Gardens, has 12 regular parking spaces and one handicapped parking space. With the addition of the restaurant and microbrewery, the owners plan to retain nine of the 13 rooms for overnight accommodations and convert the breakfast areas of the inn to a restaurant and bar.

Despite the inn’s location next to the Blowing Rock School, the applicants provided written approval for the microbrewery from school principal Patrick Suko, the Watauga County Board of Education and the N.C. ABC Board.

According to town planner Kevin Rothrock, the Blowing Rock Ale House will create small batches of beer, primarily for on-site consumption, batches that are not intended for mass distribution.

“I think we should support small business efforts like this, especially in light of the slow economy,” commissioner Dan Phillips said.

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