Free Daily Headlines


Set your text size: A A A

DISH ON DINING/LIBATION NATION: This kitchen's not on wheels

Appalachian Mountain Brewery opened last month on N.C. 280 at North Mills River Road in Mills River. [AMY MCCRAW/Hendersonville Lightning] Appalachian Mountain Brewery opened last month on N.C. 280 at North Mills River Road in Mills River. [AMY MCCRAW/Hendersonville Lightning]

A brewery that touts its “elevated Southern pub fare,” another new brewpub and beer garden that “wouldn’t be here if the Ecusta Trail wasn’t there,” a sports bar in the downstairs space perhaps best known for the old Cypress Cellar and Main Street’s only Indian restaurant all opened this spring and all are already drawing enthusiastic crowds.

Appalachian Mountain Brewing Co. and Trailside Brewing Co. both attracted overflow crowds when they opened in recent weeks. Jamie Douglass, who named his new sports bar Tartans because “I’m Scottish,” vows never to close the doors until the game is over, even if it’s triple overtime. And at Indian Aroma Bistro, diners can enjoy “tantalizing flavors using traditional family recipes.”

If a recession is looming, the economists forgot to notify these entrepreneurs who are eager to capitalize on the voracious appetite Hendersonville and its visitors seem to have for dining and sipping. Check out the latest installment in our occasional series, Dish on Dining/Libation Nation.


Their kitchen’s not on wheels

Award-winning beer and southern-inspired food drew hundreds of customers to the grand opening of Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Mills River last month.

“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 continued through the weekend 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 something a lot of brewpubs lack — a kitchen that’s not on wheels. AMB features “elevated Southern pub fare” in a 3,000-square-foot taproom and 4,000-square-foot beer garden with more than 100 parking spaces. It’s set up to accommodate outdoor and indoor seating 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. Other “handhelds” include the Yosef Yardbird fried chicken sandwich with chow-chow, pimento cheese and house pickles ($14). Club ($14) and fried oyster mushroom sandwiches ($13), five flavors of chicken wings (six for $10), loaded fries ($12) and boiled peanuts and cornbread ($7 each) are 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 across North Mills River Road from Ingles, the taproom is next door to Kelischek’s hometown of Asheville and even closer to the entrance to Pisgah National Forest.
He said he expects the taproom to 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.


Appalachian Mountain Brewery, at 46 N. Mills River Road, is open 4-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon-9 p.m. Sunday. To learn more visit or call 828-393-5618.