Zebulon Artisan Ales
in Weaverville, North Carolina by Edwin Arnaudin
At Zebulon Artisan Ales, the past and present collide to degree
practically unparalleled in the Asheville area. A 10 minute drive
from the bustling South Slope, the Weaverville brewery is one of the
region’s newest producers but features the talents of one of its
most experienced beer minds in former Green Man Brewery small-batch
brewer Mike Karnowski.
The modestly sized operation – fitting for the author of the lauded
Homebrew Beyond the Basics and former New Orleans homebrew shop
runner with his wife and Zebulon co-owner Gabe Pickard – focuses on
Belgian and French farmhouse beers, but also crafts historically
accurate varieties from bygone eras and other forgotten styles.
Zebulon’s most impressive flashback to date was its “Evolution of
English IPA” series during Asheville Beer Week in May 2016, for
which a handful of styles including a strong (12 percent ABV)
October Pale Beer from the 1700s and a 3.5 percent ABV brew echoing
the IPAs of the 1970s were recreated.
Such brewery exclusives are available Fridays and Saturdays from 1-6
p.m. in the tiny but welcoming taproom, located in a former
firehouse. These experimental batches as well as Zebulon creations
that have been bottled are sold in $1 flight-sized pours – one of
the best beer bargains around and a forgiving way to try something
before committing to a corked and caged 750 milliliter vessel
(priced between $9-20 at the brewery and also available in bottle
shops around Asheville).
The beers selected for
bottling are identified by chronological batch numbers paired with
witty odes to influential, creative figures. Recently departed rock
stars like David Bowie (hoppy farmhouse style ale) and Prince (funky
saison with apricots) and living legends such as David Lynch (smoked
stout with coffee) and Yoko Ono (Tokyo style gose) are among those
who’ve received nods thus far, and if Zebulon’s first year of smash
hits is any indication, plenty more tributes await.