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Appalachian Mountain Brewery opens in Mills River

Chris Zieber, who owns Appalachian Mountain Brewery with his cousin, Nathan Kelischek, helps customers during the taproom’s grand opening on Friday. Chris Zieber, who owns Appalachian Mountain Brewery with his cousin, Nathan Kelischek, helps customers during the taproom’s grand opening on Friday.

MILLS RIVER — Award-winning beer and southern-inspired food drew hundreds of customers to the grand opening of Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Mills River on Friday.

“Our main goal is to be authentically ourselves,” Nathan Kelischek said of the brewery he and his cousin, Chris Zieber, founded in Boone in 2013.
AMB’s Mills River taproom kicked off its grand opening weekend on Friday with people waiting in line before doors opened at noon. Within an hour, 400 customers had placed orders for food and drink.
The opening celebration will continue through Sunday with live music, special limited edition pint glasses and what the owners call the brewery’s distinctive laidback Southern hospitality.
Kelischek and Zieber grew up in Western North Carolina; Kelischek even brought in an elementary school friend from Asheville to serve as the taproom’s chef.
“I stayed in Western North Carolina my whole life,” he said, adding that he also traveled frequently.
The new location boasts a full kitchen serving “elevated Southern pub fare,” a 3,000-square-foot taproom and 4,000-square-foot beer garden and more than 100 parking spaces and is set up to accommodate outdoor, indoor and to-go orders.
The menu includes appetizers and salads along with burgers named the Long Leaf Smash and the Daniel Boone Smash among others. It also features a Yosef Yardbird fried chicken sandwich with chow-chow, pimento cheese and house pickles. Club and fried oyster mushroom sandwiches, chicken wings, boiled peanuts and cornbread are also among the many other items on the menu.
Beverage options include 32 taps and a full bar, including cocktails, seltzers, wine and AMB ciders in addition to the brewery’s award-winning beer. It also features classics like Spoaty Oaty, as well as the new Bojangles Hard Sweet Tea, AMB’s recent collaboration with the Charlotte-based chicken-and-biscuit chain.
The brewers recently returned from the 2023 World Beer Cup, where they won Gold in the Golden or Blonde category for their Boone Creek Blonde Ale and Silver in the American-Style Lager category for their Down South Lager.
“We enjoy challenging ourselves to be the best in every category,” Zieber said of the taproom’s extensive draft list.
Non-alcoholic beverages and a kid’s menu are also available.
After purchasing the brewery and cidery back from Anheuser-Busch this year, the owners decided Mills River was the ideal location to expand their operation and open a second taproom outside of Boone.
Located in a former mechanic shop just off N.C. 280 at 46 N. Mills River Road, the taproom is near Kelischek’s hometown of Asheville and even closer to the entrance to Pisgah National Forest.
He said he expects the taproom will attract hikers, mountain bikers, boaters and others visiting the national forest.
The space is dog- and kid-friendly and the AMB team also expects people to come in fresh off the nearby trails. The brewery also intends to support non-profit organizations including MountainTrue and the Longleaf Alliance and offer live music. Future plans might also include working with farmers in the Mills River area, Kelischek and Zieber said. For more information visit