Marc and Merri Fretwell of Lake Lure, NC are Brewing a Local Brand of Craft Beers. Artisanal Ales Inspire Vision for a Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery and Tap Room.
Chicory Stout and Elderberry Porter are just two examples of new artisan ales being crafted right here in Hickory Nut Gorge by Lake Lure resident Marc Fretwell. Marc and his wife Merri Fretwell are on a mission to establish a brewery with a taproom in Hickory Nut Gorge.
On the evening of Wednesday March 18th, 2015, the Fretwells participated in an informational meeting and #beer tasting at the Lake Lure Inn & Spa. During this meeting, the Fretwells discussed their vision for a local craft microbrewery. “We want to share the art and craft of brewing and provide an atmosphere where the community can gather to celebrate life, family and friendship,” said brewer Marc Fretwell.
An entity called ‘Community Brew Pub Partners’ has evolved from a collaboration of teamwork and community spirit. This group of local investors, creative thinkers, and potential stakeholders seeks to bring the project to fruition. The Community Brew Pub Partners are currently under contract on a piece of property bordering the Rocky Broad River. Their vision is to build a rustic building to house the brewery.
Hickory Nut Gorge Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tommy Hartzog used the metaphor of a community barn-raising to describe the efforts of the Community Brew Pub Partnership. “The community needs to come together to help make this happen,” said Hartzog. “It’s an exciting project to rally around. It would unify the community behind local citizens creating a local brand, and it would make the gorge a destination for the art of brewing beer… which is a rich and deep art form.”
One important aspect of the Fretwell’s craft ales is that the names and titles of the various beers refer to elements of the landscape, topography, flora and fauna of Hickory Nut Gorge. For example, “Devil’s Head Red” is a red beer named in honor of the Devil’s Head rock near the summit of Chimney Rock. “Devil’s Head Red has a malt-forward aroma and flavor,” said Marc Fretwell. “This beer is red in color because grains are heated to a higher temperature during the crafting process.” Names for several of the new artisan beers have been chosen by members of the community. Lisa Duncan, founder of www.AroundLakeLure.com, is credited with selecting the name for “Devil’s Head Red.”
Marc Fretwell’s Elderberry Porter is another example of a beer that is linked to the local landscape and native plants. Fretwell uses dried elderberry flowers to add a balanced sweetness when crafting this beer. The elderflowers add a flavor reminiscent of citrus, lychee or apricot to this dark, rich porter. Roasted Chicory Root is used in the brewing process for Fretwell’s Chicory Stout. The stout has a deep, chocolaty aroma with hints of licorice and coffee.
Marc Fretwell was born and raised in the UK, where he learned the art of brewing from his father, who often made Meade. Marc met his wife Merri while he was living in Texas and working as an engineer. At that time Merri was pursuing her doctorate. The couple was married in 2006. Marc and Merri eventually settled in Lake Lure, where three generations of Merri’s family have resided.
For more information about the Fretwell’s craft beers and the Community Brew Pub Partners vision for a Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery and Tap Room:
Visit: their Facebook page
Call: (828) 771-8330