Heinzelmannchen: A German beer house with a collection of beer steins and a gnome mascot. Nope, you don’t have to cross an ocean to get there. All you have to do is head to Sylva, North Carolina. Nestled in the carolina hills in the sleepy downtown near Western Carolina University, this microbrewery is not what you expect to find and is a delightful tribute to the surprising diversity of the area surrounding Asheville. The owner, Dieter Kuhn, a German native and creator of Heinzelmannchen provides not only beer but an experience not to be missed.

Growing up near the Black Forest in Germany, it was no wonder Mr. Kuhn decided to add a bit of whimsy to his brauhaus by having a gnome mascot. Well, at least a gnome-like creature who apparently is a helpful little elf who does good deeds for proprietors and looks after the beer when everyone is gone for the night. Guess what it’s called? A heinzelmannchen. (Try saying that 5 times fast!) Very cool anecdote to an already interesting visit.

 

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At first glance, this small-town brewery doesn’t look like much. Its entrance is on the back side of Main street and it doesn’t have the sort of polish one expects from bigger breweries. It has a hometown feel complete with chalk signs and friendly staff. The owner and his wife stop by frequently and you’ll end up running into them more often than not. Their passion for their craft comes through loud and clear and since Mr. Kuhn is very chatty, prepare yourself for a real education in beer and brewing.

And what an education it is! Since the brewery has some staples, you’ll be able to find some favorites but since they do have seasonal concoctions, I suggest getting a flight at their tap room and discover which one you want to take home. How are you going to do that? Two words: German. Growler.

Yes. It’s as awesome as you think it is. For 35 bucks, you can buy yourself one of three imported German growlers which are refillable for 15 bucks a pop. How much beer are we talking? 2 liters of delicious home-brewed beer that will keep for 1 to 2 weeks after opening, so you can take your time polishing it off. You can buy a keg for a bigger party or by the pint glass if you prefer to drink in house, but anyway you drink, it’s yummy!

 

Image courtesy of of Heinzelmannchen

Image courtesy of of Heinzelmannchen

Since they don’t serve food, you are allowed to bring your own in, which was a lovely surprise. If you’re not a drinker and accompanying a drinker to Heinzelmannchen, no worries, they also serve homemade root beer, which tastes more like a root beer float because of its creamy taste, and birch beer. Don’t turn your nose up at that particular carbonated flavor. It’s interesting enough to try out at least once. Give a whirl.

Ever wonder what the perfect meal to pair with your growler? Heinzelmannchen offers several free traditional recipes that pair very well with the brews and a recipe book called Your Gnometown Cookbook (Aren’t you in love with the names? I know I am.) Bring on your brauts, your kielbasa, and whatever other German yummies your heart desires.  If you just want to enjoy your beer with a meal, they do offer a handy pairing guide for your beer choices and the staff is knowledgeable and will offer advice. All you have to do is ask.

 

Overall, Heinzelmannchen is the type of brewery that will quench the thirst of any brew connoisseur. Grab a growler and enjoy!

 

http://www.yourgnometownbrewery.com/

Heinzelmännchen Brewery

545 Mill Street

Sylva, North Carolina 28779

Heinzelmännchen Brewery

545 Mill Street

Sylva, North Carolina 28779