Heinzelmännchen Brewery

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Living the dream. 

I don’t make home brew, so it would be inaccurate to say that beers are a hobby, but I’ve greatly enjoyed sampling the products from the exploding Craft brewery business.  And even when the flavors are not so different from some other beer whose name I can’t remember, the names given to the beers and the designs of their labels have at least a novelty value. 

Ruination, Judgment Day, Hopsecutioner, Dead Guy, Witch Hunt, Monk’s Blood... on one level, these are things that I don’t want to experience.  Poured from draught... well, sure!

And behind each of the breweries is someone, somewhere, who enjoyed a flavor, took up a hobby, and formed a business.  The breweries themselves sum to more than an antiseptic room plus vats plus piping plus kegs and a bottling line.  They’re fun to visit.  The problem is that they’re not always convenient to visit.  Limited hours, different sampling limitations based on jurisdiction, location, etc....

Ah, but when going on vacation, why not Google an area for “opportunities?”

Like, oh, Sylva, NC.  That’s a little speck of a town in the Western North Carolina mountains, somewhat conveniently placed on the way to Asheville.   Welcome, then to Heinzelmännchen Brewery.

Promising light and refreshing German beer, smooth and lighter in body... sounds good for the summer. The brewmaster is Dieter Kuhn, German born and U.S. raised, who operates his brewery in the lowest floor of an old downtown building. It’s certainly not a town where one would expect to find a brewery in the downtown retail/restaurant/office blend.

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The brewery itself isn’t large, nor is its distribution.  It’s sold in area restaurants and in the brewery itself, but apparently that’s enough for a man to live his dream.

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Other than in the tanks, gnomes are seen everywhere as they tie his German past to his present endeavors.

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The brew is poured from the taps pictured below.  I’m not a qualified “beer advocate” to describe beers as informed readers might want their description.  I don’t want to work that hard.  Appearance, smell, taste, mouthfeel, drinkability, serving type...  So I’ll borrow from an unfortunate description of Gopher Ale posted at beeradvocate.com: 
Lightly sweet, delicately malted barley. One singular drop of lemon juice. Subtle spicy hops and a very low amount of bitterness. All in all, it's very mild, hovering uncomfortably on the precipice of blandness.
I wouldn’t call the beer bland, but the flavors of this and the two other styles I sampled (Middleworld Brown Ale and Honey Blonde Ale) did not rise to the expectations of virtually all the commercial craft beers that I’ve sampled.  Or, perhaps I haven’t sampled enough top-fermented beers that lack preservatives.  They’re enjoyable because they’re quite different, but they wouldn’t be my first choice with other options.

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What makes this worth a visit is a fair amount of charm (Where else would I get a pint glass with a gnome on it?), and the gracious time of the owner, who obviously takes pride in his work and enjoys patrons sampling his craft.

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A worthy and very inexpensive diversion for those passing through Western NC.

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