Do you ever just wake up and think, “DAMN I want to go to a new brewery today! DAMN I want to go to North Carolina! DAMN I think I will!” Well that was me and Mac this past Saturday, and for once, we made it happen! Fonta Flora Brewery is located in Morganton, North Carolina, a small town with a pretty happening beer scene. What could prompt us to drive three hours to NC, totally spur of the moment? FRICKIN’ FRESH LOCALLY SOURCED BEER, THAT’S WHAT!
Fonta Flora first came on my radar with a honeysuckle Saison. Yes, friends, let that soak in, honeysuckle. Then I heard about a sunflower Saison, literally giant sunflower heads being thrown into the mash. After hearing that, I had to check out their website. Turns out, Fonta Flora is dedicated to sourcing local ingredients (malt, veggies, fruit) for their beers in the hopes of creating their own North Carolina/ Appalachian style beer. I was sold. I was in.
We rolled into town at about 4 pm…the sun was shining…it was 64 degrees out….it felt like winter might be slinking back into its hole. It felt like the kind of day where you sit outside and drink beer. So we did. We started with a flight of 5 to get our taste buds going. First up: Vestige Bloom Appalachian Wild Ale.
Aged in wine barrels with local kiwis from Fox Farms, the Vestige Bloom was the perfect way to start our flight. Tart vinegar combined with the sweetness of the kiwi fruit to create an easy all day drinkin’ wild ale. My notes described this beer as “tart, puckery, but mellow at the same time.” Okay, Maddy. But seriously, you could (and should) drink this beer ALL DAY.
Our next brew was the La Loblolly, a boozy Saison aged in cherry wood with pine needles. Now, I’m ALWAYS a sucker for a beer with pine; I always feel like beer tastes super fresh and green (yes, tastes green) when brewers involve pine. While I mainly remember sweet, cherry-like booze from this Saison, my notes tell me, “lil’ chewy…like eating pine needles…sticky and sweet…my mouth feels like a new car smells.” Again, okay, Maddy.
The third beer on our flight was the Alpha vs. Beta Caratone Local Carrot IPA. To be honest, I expected to pick up on a little bit more of a carrot or vegetal flavor from this beer, but mostly I just got super fresh (dank) hops. If I’m telling the whole truth, the Alpha vs. Beta smelled like dank weed, and we weren’t mad about it.
We moved onto the Wisteria Porter, and it was easily one of the best smelling beers I have ever tried. This tasty bev was brewed with hazelnuts and cocoa and was named for a restaurant just down the street…where we actually ended up eating dinner! My first sip of the Wisteria Porter was great; the hazelnut was present and very “real” according to my notes. It tasted like straight Cocoa Pebble dust…mmm…BUT, the more the porter warmed, the less I liked it. It started having a strange, almost smoky flavor.
Last, but definitely not least, came Beets, Rhymes, and Lies, a local beet Saison. To be honest, this brew was a big reason I wanted to come to Fonta Flora. Lucky for us, it was not a disappointment. BRL tastes like straight up beets in its initial flavor, but mellows into the spices of a Saison in the aftertaste. It’s vegetal, smooth, and PINK. Just looking at the beer makes you feel happy. We loved its beety, veggie, smooth spice vibe so much we picked up a mini growler (FF refers to them as bombers) to take home. If you like beets, this is a must try!
We ended up talking to an awesome couple out on the patio and bonding over hailing from Southwest Virginia and going to school at Virginia Tech. They bought us our next round: Dringo Sandals Brett IPA for me and Baba Boudon Coffee IPA for Mac. I can’t tell you much about these two beers. I was having too much damn fun. The one thing I can tell you is that Mac’s coffee IPA poured the same color as a regular IPA; I thought it was going to be a Black IPA.
If you’re ever in North Carolina and near Morganton, I definitely recommend trying out Fonta Flora. Friendly folks and good ass beer, what more could you need?
Happy Wednesday, beer friends!