By Chris Heagney
If you haven’t driven along Riverside Drive in a while, expect some changes. Between infrastructure improvements such as roundabouts and walkways, and the opening of new businesses like boutiques and wine bars, there has been a flurry of activity. The newest member of the Riverside Drive beer, wine and cider collective will be a new brewery set to open in the late summer or early fall. Riverside Rhapsody Beer Company will be located just north of the Asheville and Woodfin border.
The two owners, Joey Cagle and Mike Vanhoose, spent the last six years honing their brewing skills at Blue Mountain Pizza in Weaverville, all the while developing a plan that would materialize into Riverside Rhapsody. “We are really excited about getting a chance to build a space for people to gather, exchange ideas and, of course, drink beer,” says Cagle. “We’re looking forward to being in the burgeoning community of Woodfin. The addition of the Silver Line Park and the river [whitewater] wave are going to put Woodfin on the map and we are excited to be a part of the growth happening in the town.”
You can expect a wide range of beer styles coming out of this brewhouse. “When we started at Blue Mountain, we decided to pursue a brewery model that relied on a rotating selection of beers rather than having flagships,” explains Cagle. “We will continue and expand on this model at Riverside Rhapsody.” Cagle and Vanhoose are fans of everything from saisons to IPAs, and with their new brewery they plan on exploring styles they weren’t capable of producing at Blue Mountain—particularly lagers, sours and mixed culture fermentations. In the early days, these offerings will primarily be available at their taproom, but they may send a few kegs out for limited distribution.
“It is a big deal for us that Riverside Rhapsody is our own creation, rather than being an addition to an existing business that already had its own identity,” Cagle says. That said, there are some qualities that the owners are happy to carry forward with them. “One thing we do not want to change is the sense of community we have with our customers at Blue Mountain. Our goal is to create a community ‘watering hole,’ where people from all over can hang out, enjoy a beer and convene with their fellow humans.”
Riverside Rhapsody will be located at 995 Riverside Drive in Woodfin. Christopher Heagney is the owner of Daidala Ciders, located in Asheville at the Historic Cotton Mill Studios at 122 Riverside Drive.