Skip to main content

WNC Business

Appalachian Mountain Brewery celebrates grand opening

Jun 25, 2023 02:17PM ● By Randee Brown

Appalachian Mountain Brewery celebrated the grand opening of its new taproom in Mills River on Friday, June 23 with a line of excited patrons ready to check out the new space, enjoy some southern cuisine, and taste some new fresh brews.

 Co-owners and cousins Nathan Kelischek and Chris Zieber said they have been planning a second location for nearly a year and a half, and within about five weeks of their re-acquisition from Anheuser-Busch, have finally been able to make their dream a reality.

Quality is front and center for Kelischek and Zieber. They love offering a diversity of beers — a little bit of everything from lagers to Belgian wheats to ciders to a dark stout and a “whole slew of IPAs.” AMB recently won a gold and a silver award at the World Beer Cup, and both of those beers are on draft and in production year-round.

The food menu at AMB is Southern-inspired, also reflecting Kelischek’s world-traveling experiences through dishes like their take on poutine, made of waffle fries topped with chow chow, peppercorn gravy, and country ham. The menu, designed with help from Chef Michael Hardwell, also offers unique takes on items including wings and a really amazing, sweet house-made cornbread. 

Growing up in Asheville, the team was always “heavy into the outdoor scene.” The new taproom is located at the juncture of many outdoor recreation sites, and Zieber said they imagined their new tap room to be a pit stop in and out of the forest.

“Mills River is really close to the outdoor culture of the area,” Kelischek said. “Just a step outside of town, we are closer to the actual outdoor activities that people love, and we are able to better cater to our local crowd here. It’s what Western North Carolina represents — a community tie with a taste of the outdoors and cold beer.”

With a goal of maintaining their authenticity, philanthropy has been and will continue to be a big part of their business. AMB donates a portion of their proceeds to partner nonprofits and participates in activities like helping to maintain trails. 

The facility itself offers a big taste of WNC as well. With art and murals by resident artist Tommy Lee (who also designs labels for their cans), wide-open spaces with cornhole boards, an outdoor stage for musicians, and a gravel-digging pit complete with toy excavators and bulldozers for kids, the space is welcoming for friends, families, and pets. Kelischek and Zieber said they plan to offer football games in the fall, and have tons of events in mind to bring the community together. 

 Looking forward, AMB plans to expand on more than just events. The food menu will grow, and they have plans to open a food order-and-pickup window for people wanting to bring their food and brews with them on their outdoor adventure. 

“The craft beer industry is going through a lot of changes,” Zieber said. “There is lots of innovation, and now that we are operating on a smaller scale [without Anheuser-Busch], decisions like opening this location, how we want to operate, and what we want to offer are possible.”

 Pictured: Nathan Kelischek (right) and Chris Zieber (left).