The tanks are installed, the brewhouse has arrived, and a 35-foot mahogany bar transported from Ireland is in place at the soon-to-open Apple Blossom Brewing Company at 1550 E. Zion Road in North Fayetteville.
Now, it’s time to brew some beer.
Partners in the new restaurant and brew pub, set to open this summer, recently announced their hiring of former Mother’s Brewing Company quality control guru Nathan Traw as brewmaster for the establishment.
“We’re extremely excited to bring Nathan on,” said Evan McDonald, one of the partners in the new brewery. “We picked him up at the airport, and before we had even made it back to Fayetteville, I knew I could stop worrying about the beer part of the business. He is just so incredibly knowledgable about the brewing process.”
Traw, who grew up in Ash Flat, Arkansas, also served as brewmaster briefly for Montana’s Yellowstone Valley Brewing Co. before deciding to move back to the Natural State to brew for Apple Blossom.
We got in touch with Nathan to find out more about his plans for the beers at Apple Blossom, and he was nice enough to answer some questions for us.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How’d you get involved in the beer business?
It’s sort of a funny story. While attending Missouri State University for my Bachelor’s in biology with a microbiology focus, I started homebrewing as a way to have my own supply of beer for myself and buddies. After a few years of praise from friends rolled by and my plans of becoming a medical doctor fell short, I applied to the local craft breweries right out of college. I landed my first job in the industry at Mother’s Brewing Company in Springfield, Mo. and haven’t looked back since.
Brewing beer is like being a chef. You get to produce something delicious and heart warming for thousands of people that are thankful for it.
How’d you guys decided to re-locate to Fayetteville? Was it something you were already considering? What’s your impression of the place?
I’ve always wanted to live in Fayetteville. You have to try to not have a good time in this city. It’s really important as a craft brewer to work in a craft beer culture, such as what’s in Fayetteville. My wife and I are expecting our first child this fall, and it was also important for us to be closer to family. I’ve also been a lifelong University of Arkansas fan.
I know the guys from Apple Blossom are hoping to open with at least a few of your creations. When do you think you’ll get started brewing, and what will you brew first?
I hope to get brewing as soon as I land. I’ve been working with the Apple Blossom crew since last fall on this project. We are placing our first raw ingredient orders this week.
As far as beers go, I’m inspired by traditional brewing techniques, even if it means listening to polka music for a week when brewing Oktoberfest lagers or other German beers. I have a unique brewing technique that brings more flavor from the ingredients that I developed while in Montana from award-winning breweries. I’m hoping to have a few German wheat-based ales, such as a wheat, alt, and dunkelweizen. I also have plans for Scottish, English, and American ales that will debut a few days after the German ales. The possibilities are endless as I’ve been given lots of creative room.
What are some of your personal favorite beers?
Boulevard’s Belgian ale lineup is among some of my favorite beers. You really can’t go wrong gifting me any Belgian ale. I also enjoy Mother’s Foggy Notion and Lil’ Helper when it’s colder outside. There’s also the less local, more famous breweries such as Cigar City, Firestone Walker, Avery, and Sierra Nevada that I love as well.
When you’re not brewing, what are some things you like to do in your spare time?
When I’m not brewing, I enjoy fishing, hiking, and backpacking. You could also find me at an arcade or a LAN party playing DOTA2. I’ve also been known to engage in some Dungeons and Dragons every now and then.