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WNC breweries medal big in beer competition

art beerfestAll five North Carolina breweries west of Asheville medaled in the recent Carolinas Championship of Beer during the Hickory Hops Festival.


“It’s a testament that we are all in it for the long haul, that we will strive to get better,” said Clark Williams, owner/brewer at Frog Level Brewing in Waynesville. “We felt the pride that all of Western North Carolina should have for this craft. It’s easy to say we all work hard to make great beer.”


The competition featured 42 craft breweries that entered 396 beers in 134 style categories.

Nantahala Brewing of Bryson City led the local winners with 13 medals and a third place “Best of Show” finish for their 4-Foot Drop, an American-style pale ale. All of the brews tasted were judged in accordance with the Great American Beer Festival guidelines.

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“We’ve competed well in the past, but this year was by far our best showing,” said Joe Rowland, co-owner of Nantahala. “To know that the 4-Foot Drop was judged higher than 393 other beers in the competition is something to be proud of.”

In its inaugural festival entry, BearWaters Brewing of Waynesville pulled in 10 medals, which placed the young brewery among the top competing establishments. 

“Since our blind-judged competition inception eight years ago, I cannot recall a new brewery having such great success in the Carolinas Championship of Beer,” said CCB organizer Bobby Bush. “One medal is great. Ten is phenomenal and a sure sign that something wonderful is happening at BearWaters.”

Tipping Point Brewing and Frog Level both hailing from Waynesville also both won a bronze. 

“We can now rightfully claim our spot on the stage with Asheville and the rest of North Carolina,” said Jon Bowman, co-owner of the Tipping Point.

Rave reviews are something Bowman and the other brewers are used to among their local fan base. But winning the endorsement from objective tasters — not just the buddy on the other side of the bar from them — was of a different order.  

“It was incredible to be outside of Haywood County and experience the positive reaction as people sampled our beers and returned to the booths multiple times,” Bowman said.

All of the breweries, including Heinzelmannchen Brewery of Sylva won a bronze for their regional collaboration beer, the “Ryeway 74.”

“It’s exciting to know that our brews are being recognized as some of the best in North Carolina, but it’s equally exciting to continue to help put us on the map,” said Jenn Huston of Nantahala. “The more people who travel to our breweries help both us and our communities grow.”


2013 Carolinas Championship of Beer awards


4-Foot Drop (gold – 3rd “Best of Show”), Little Tennessee Logger (gold), Dirty Girl Blonde Ale (gold), Trail Magic 1 (gold), Up River Amber (silver), Noon Day IPA (silver), Chocolate Covered Cherry Stout (bronze), Dirty Girl Blonde Ale (bronze), Bryson City Brown (bronze), Devil's Courthouse (bronze), Patton’s Run Porter (bronze), Trail Mix 1 (bronze), Little Tennessee Logger (bronze), and Nantahala Pale Ale (bronze).


Sliding Rock Ale (gold), Riverdog ESB (silver), Stiff Paddle IPA (silver), SnowNado (silver), Paint Rock Porter (bronze), Skipping Stone Stout (bronze), Brown Mountain Dark Ale (bronze), Pumpkin P.F.D. (bronze), Shining Creek Ale (bronze), and Ripcurrent Red (bronze).

Frog Level:

Salamander Slam (bronze)

Tipping Point:

1736 Porter (bronze)


Ryeway 74 (bronze)

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