Category: Ski Report

Beech Mountain Brewing Co. Expands Under New Brewmaster

Beech Mountain is one of the few places in the country where the ski resort brews its own beer. Since opening in the ski village in 2013, Beech Mountain Brewing Co. has become quite popular.

The brewery is so popular, in fact, that it couldn’t keep up with the demand for its frosty pints of Beech Blonde, 5506’ Pale Ale and other tasty brews. So, this past summer, the brewery closed for renovations, which included an equipment expansion to make even better-quality beer and more of it. I’ll toast to that!

The brewery re-opened for this ski season under the guidance of new brewmaster Sean McCoy. I scampered into the brewery recently to chat with Sean about about the happenings.

Brewmaster Sean McCoy

Boomer: Tell me a little bit about how you got into brewing beer.

Sean: I got into craft beer after I graduated college from Lees-McRae (our neighbor in Banner Elk!). As I developed a palate and started to like different beer, I got into seeing how it was made. I started with a small one-gallon brewing kit at home and grew into a bigger home setup. Billy, the former brewmaster here and my friend from college, helped me get into the professional side.


Boomer: The brewery was closed this summer and into the fall for improvements. What have you guys been doing?

Sean: We were working on a pretty small, manual system. We were brewing three barrels of beer at a time, four times a week. And we weren’t able to keep up. We installed a new brewing system, which cuts down on the stress and manual work. We expanded to a seven-barrel semi-automated system. It more than doubles our capacity. The temperature controls also help with consistency and quality. By removing the old brewing equipment, we opened up more space in the taproom. And we added windows from the taproom into the new brewing facility downstairs.


Boomer: There are so many different kinds of beer these days. How do you describe the style of beer at Beech Mountain?

Sean: Originally our flagship styles were all ales. With the new equipment, we’re able to do some lagers. Our beers run the whole spectrum, from pale ales to IPAs to a porter. We like to keep our recipes pretty simple and not go overboard with heavily fruited beers or sours. The majority of our customers are looking for a pretty standard beer that’s easy to drink.


Boomer: What’s your most popular beer?

Sean: Our most popular is the Beech Blonde. It’s the lightest option. It’s lower in alcohol content, too, so folks can feel comfortable having one or two while they’re here. It’s a good gateway beer for someone who wants the additional flavor and body that comes with a craft beer but isn’t up for a full-blown leap into an IPA.


Boomer: What’s your favorite part of being the brewmaster here at Beech Mountain?

Sean: It sure as heck beats a desk job, which I did for five years. I enjoy being able to take a hobby and make it into a career. Brewing keeps you on your toes. When you think you have everything right, there’s always a curve ball. I also enjoy hearing feedback from customers and compliments about our product. We’re very small on the mega-scale of breweries, but people come from Charlotte and Asheville, where there are big-name breweries, and say that they really enjoy our product.


Nothing tastes better after a day on the slopes than a refreshing pint. I’ll catch ya at Beech Mountain Brewing.

Boomer the Squirrel

All About Beech Mountain’s Free Youth Sledding Hill

Boomer's Blog

Boomer’s Blog

My human friends tell me all the time how expensive life can be. But, fret not, people. Up here on Beech Mountain, there’s a free youth sledding hill that’s open all winter!

Yeppers, you read that right. The cost is nada, zilch-o, zero. None of those green slips you carry around.

Not only is it free, it’s also fun!

I spoke with my buddy Sean Royall recently. He’s the director of parks and recreation up here on Beech Mountain. He operates the sledding hill and told me all about it …

Boomer: So who are the lucky people who get to go down the hill?
Sean: It is for ages 12 and under. There’s a bunny slope where adults may ride with smaller children, ages 5 and under. The bobcat slope is for 12 and under. It’s a little steeper and a little longer.

Boomer: Do you make the snow for the sledding hill, or is it au naturel?
Sean: It’s a mix. It’s great if we have natural, but being on the East Coast, you can’t rely on that. When temperatures allow, the snow gun is running all day and night. We do a Happy Hill Report that includes how long the snow gun’s been running, how deep the base is, if it’s icy or smooth. We try to groom it as much as we can to keep it safe.

Boomer: What equipment do you need to sled?
Sean: You can bring your own sled. You can use anything except a metal-runner type of sled. If you don’t have a plastic sled or tube, they sell them at Fred’s General Mercantile and right beside Town Hall. If you don’t have a sled, that’s not a problem. You can find one very close.

Boomer: Did I hear something about music playing and hot chocolate nearby?
Sean: We have a speaker with music playing. Beech Mountain is always trying to create a family atmosphere. You can stop by the Visitors Center (next door) to use the restrooms, get free Wi-Fi and say hello. It’s a good spot to warm up. The Brick Oven Pizzeria is just across the street. We also have special events, such as a snowman building competition and a bon fire with hayrides.

Sean says the hill is open daily, weather permitting. Hours are: Monday-Friday from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For more info, click here.


Whee! It’s Gonna be a Fun Winter on Beech

Boomer's Blog

It’s going to be a really fun winter on Beech Mountain.

My friends at Beech Mountain Resort have added a SWEET snowtubing park in the resort village. It has super long runs so your tail flows in the breeze as you glide along the snow, plus there’s a cool Magic Carpet to get you back to the top. My little legs like that!

Snowtubing is located adjacent to the ice skating rink. You can buy tickets for both of those activities at the same place, and a ski lift ticket is not required to go tubing or skating.

I love it when the ski resort village is bustling with happy people, and that should be the case this winter. In addition to tubing and skating, folks can buy cool Beech Mountain Resort souvenirs at the gift shop, sample tasty craft beers at the brewery, or eat and watch sports at the newly-remodeled Beech Tree Bar & Grille.

Out on the mountain, there a bunch of new snow guns to make the white stuff when Mother Nature isn’t. I watched from the trees this summer as they put several fancy guns on Upper White Lightning, which is an exciting black diamond run.

Me and my snowboard generally stay on the intermediate slopes, so you’ll have to let me know how conditions are on White Lightning. (by the way, the resort has a completely new rental fleet of Burton snowboards available)

North-Carolina-snowtubing_Beech-MountainBeech Mountain Resort also spent a lot of time during the offseason installing new electrical systems and mechanical upgrades on the two main chairlifts.

Seeing all the upgrades motivated me to store up a lot of acorns this past summer to supply plenty of nourishment for a winter full of outdoor fun on Beech Mountain.

Hope to see you in the resort village or on the slopes!

Yours truly,
Boomer the Squirrel


November 29, 2012

BRO Weekend Picks – Go Skiing: Beech Mountain Resort

The post Thanksgiving blues can come on pretty quick in the Blue Ridge. After the holiday passes there is usually a lull in the season. The leaves have gone from explosion of natural beauty and wonder to yard work annoyance. The weather can be unpredictable, or predictably wet, dreary, and depressing. A lot of the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is usually spent indoors, waiting for the snow to fall and for winter to take hold. I am all for cozy chairs, warm fires, and good books (or magazines like Blue Ridge Outdoors – wink), but we are active people and cabin fever strikes us early and often. Well, not this year people. This year, the snow god Ullr has smiled upon the Southeast in the form of snow and cold temperatures. Time to get out of the house, bust out the ski gear from the shed, and hit the slopes this weekend.

Beech Resort outside Boone, N.C. is planning to open Friday, so get the drop on everybody else and be there for first chair. The limited number of open slopes will actually work in your favor, preventing you from overdoing it on the first day. Nothing is worse than ruining a season by picking up a nagging – or heaven forbid, season ending – injury on day one. Use this time to get your ski legs back under you by easy-styling it and taking frequent breaks (a mid-day beer never hurt either). Day one is also a great time to evaluate your gear from last season to make sure everything is in working order, and to find out what needs to be put on your Christmas list this year. Winter is here folks. Time to shred.

-Jack Murray

For the original article in Blue Ridge Outdoors, click HERE.