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Two local breweries medal in N.C. Brewers Cup

Dry Falls brewer Jeff Golliher, left, and Joe Dinan won gold medals in the North Carolina Brewers Cup competition in Mocksville last month. Dry Falls brewer Jeff Golliher, left, and Joe Dinan won gold medals in the North Carolina Brewers Cup competition in Mocksville last month.

Two Hendersonville craft brewers won gold medals and one other award each in the eighth annual North Carolina Brewers Cup competition in Mocksville last month.

Dry Falls Brewing Co., on Busy Bend, won first place in the American Amber & Brown Ale category for its Amber Waves and second place in the Porter & British Brown, English Brown Ale category for its Bent Nickel Brown. Sanctuary Brewing Co., on First Avenue East, took first place in the European Amber Lager category for Bobby Beer, a Kellerbier, and a third place in the Dark European Lager category, Munich Dunkel, for its Dr. Dunkel.

Other area winners were French Broad River Brewery, second place for Gateway Kolsch; Highland Brewing Co., third place for Highland Pilsner; Ecusta Brewing Co. of Pisgah Forest, fourth place for Dead Drift Pale Ale; Green Man Brewery, third place for Rainmaker, a strong ale; and Thirsty Monk Brewery, third place for Tricky Monk, a Trappist ale. The 2019 Best of Show trophy went to Cabarrus Brewing Co. for its English Golden Ale/English Summer Ale Daisy Roots, which competed against 30 other gold medal-winning beers to secure the top award. Brewed with pale, mild and caramel malts, flaked corn, rice, traditional English hops, as well as newer American and Australian varieties, Daisy Roots is a great balance between malt and hops for a thirst quenching summer beer, judges said.

Sanctioned by the Beer Judge Certification Program and administered by the N.C. Craft Brewers Guild, the Brewers Cup is the largest commercial craft beer competition in the state. The competition drew a record 710 entries in 31 different style categories from 104 North Carolina craft breweries.

Jeff and Evan Golliher, the father and son team that owns Dry Falls Brewing Co. on Kanuga Road, came up with Amber Waves and Bent Nickel Brown while home brewing before they opened the brewery.

"We brewed all of these beers in our garage in Weaverville and we took those recipes and put them into production," Jeff said. He credited brewer John Duncan, too. "They were made and produced by his skillful hands."

Brewery patrons can get both award-winning beers at Dry Falls.

"These are staple house beers in the eight or 10 that we have on tap all the time," Golliher said.

Sanctuary co-owner and head brewer Joe Dinan is a graduate of Blue Ridge Community College's craft brewing program. He interned and later worked full-time at Wicked Weed in Asheville before he and his partner, Lisa McDonald, opened Sanctuary Brewing Co. in 2015.

"Theyre both German style," he said of his gold and bronze medal winners. "I really love to try to use only German ingredients and keep it classic and as true to the style as I can." Both lighter brews, "they're cleaner beers. There's really nothing to hide behind" and as a result "it's a little bit trickier. I always think you can tell the strength of the brewery by some of their lighter beers."

This is the third gold medal for Bobby Bear and the second medal for Dr. Dunkel, which won gold last year. Dinan has entered Dr. Dunkel and four other beers in the national competition at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver Oct. 3-5.

Beer drinkers can always order Bobby Beer and usually (including now) get Dr. Dunkel on tap at Sanctuary.

"Bobby is one of the flagships and Dr. Dunkel is very close to being flagship," Dinan said.

The medal-winning performance shows the maturity of the brewing scene in Hendersonville, which began in 2011 and has grown to five breweries.

"If you visit these places regularly, the quality is getting better and better," Dinan said. "It's fantastic. The rising tide raises all boats. I try to hit one spot a week at least, say high and have a beer, It's nice to see how people are doing it and it's also good to keep connections up because this is a small town and small brewing community."