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Guidon Brewing opens in 7th Avenue district

Times News - 1/20/2019

Jan. 19--Hendersonville's newest brewery in the Seventh Avenue district hopes to become a rallying point for friendliness, relaxation and craft beer.

Guidon Brewing Co. opened its doors Tuesday at 415 Eighth Avenue next to Southern Appalachian Brewery. The American- and German-inspired brewery is is now the fifth brewery in Hendersonville and third in the Seventh Avenue Area.

Mike Baer, a U.S. Army veteran and homebrewer since 2003, and his wife, Connie, set out to create a family oriented brewery dedicated to the art of brewing high-quality, carefully crafted beer.

A guidon (pronounced gi-don) is a flag used by all branches of the U.S. military, but primarily used today by the Army. The flags served as an identifier and rallying point in earlier wars from troops on the battlefield. Each branch of the Army has a distinct flag, according to Baer, and the units within those branches are even more distinct.

Baer decided to create a guidon to serve as the brewery's logo. The gold on black represents Baer's service in the army. The "B" represents the family name. The "4" signifies the Baers and their two children. The "2" pays homage to Mike and Connie's respective countries of origin: the United States and Germany.

Everything inside the brewery tells the Baers' story. The American, German, North Carolina and Army flags hang above the main bar area. The upstairs loft area features a lounge setting with comfortable chairs, while downstairs has more seating along with three dart boards.

Baer describes the brewery atmosphere as gemütlichkeit (pronounced ge·müt·lich·keit), a German word used to project a feeling of friendliness, relaxation and cheerfulness. There is no direct English translation for the word, but gemütlichkeit describes the atmosphere at a social gathering such as a German festival or beer garden where strangers are welcome to sit at a table with others.

"There are no TVs in here and that's done on purpose," Baer said. "No need to stare at TVs. Talk to somebody next to you. We arranged the sofas and the chairs in a setting to where it's not made for two people. If two people are there while there's six other seats around, then someone else can plop down and start a conversation."

The beer crafting is led by head brewer Dustin Griffin, an Asheville local and graduate of the Craft Beverage Institute of the Southeast at A-B Tech.

Current beers on tap are a stout, cream ale, port, pale ale and IPA, along with a selection of local wines and ciders. Baer said there's something for everyone.

"Our beer is more or less true to style...," said Baer. "The alcohol of an easy drinking beer; if it's supposed to be in the 4.25 (percent), that's where we've got it. We don't have it at 6.5 or 7, which you run into at a lot of places."

Baer hopes to have eight year-round beers on tap joined by seasonals and one-offs. Some styles the brewery is looking to craft in the future are German-style pilsners, Munich lager, Kölsch and ESB style beers. But Guidon is focusing on quality over quantity.

"We did 12 taps for a reason," said Baer. "I'm a believer that you can't make 20, 25 beers good all the time. You're reaching for ideas at that point. We don't want to do that; we want to make our beers the right way. We don't want to cut corners to squeeze them all in."

The brewery also features an outdoor deck that will be furnished once the weather warms up. Baer plans to add an outdoor stage by spring and convert the second building on site to a festival and game room area.

Live music will be featured inside as well, but kept to solo artists and duets to keep the noise level appropriate for conversation.

The Baers are also into environmentally friendly brewing practices. All T-shirts sold are made of 100 percent recyclable material, the building is lit by LEDs and the brewery has no one-time use plastics.

Baer said they have received a ton of support from local brewers, borrowing equipment and heeding advice from Triskelion Brewing Co. and Dry Falls Brewing Co. He hopes being next to Southern Appalachian will allow the two breweries to feed off each other.

"It's definitely a fraternal organization being in a brewery around here," Baer said. "Everybody wants to help the other guy out."

"It's success in numbers," he added. "More people will come to Hendersonville because of the number of breweries, so we are all going to benefit from that."

The brewery is open Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m., Friday from 4 to 11 p.m., Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. For more information, visit www.guidonbrewing.com.

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(c)2019 Times-News, Hendersonville, N.C.

Visit Times-News, Hendersonville, N.C. at www.blueridgenow.com

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