|Fonta Flora Brewery
317 N Green St | Morganton, NC, 28655
When enjoying a beercation in Asheville, NC, why would you drive 56 miles east of Beervana? Follow Interstate 40 east for an hour, and you will end up in Morganton, NC, home of Fonta Flora Brewery.
Fonta Flora Brewery is a microbrewery striving to create a totally unique North Carolina/Appalachian style of beer or mixed-culture fermentation. They are taking brewing back to its agricultural roots by utilizing local grains and foraging the countryside for wild flora.
According to their website, “Fonta Flora Brewery integrates the soul of agriculture with the artisanship of zymurgy to create a menagerie of rustic and savory libations. With an emphasis on seasonal flora, Fonta Flora brings English tradition and Belgian inspiration to the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina. Fonta Flora utilizes local artists to help conceptualize the notion that fermentation is yet another medium for creating art. This uniquely artisan approach to beer yields a sustainable product filled with culture from our very own community.”
Todd Boera and his business partners David and Mark Bennett opened the brewery in 2013. Boera previously brewed at Catawba Brewing Company in Asheville, NC before opening Fonta Flora.
Boera made a name for himself and Fonta Flora in 2015 when he won the gold medal in the Field Beer category at the Great American Beer Festival for the popular Beets, Rhymes and Life. (Interestingly, this was actually Fonta Flora’s second gold. They won the gold medal in the Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout category in 2014 for Irish Table.)
The taproom and brewery is located in a curved brick structure at the corner of North Sterling and North Green in historic Morganton. The space offers a rustic feel with wooden beams, brick walls, unique artwork throughout, and fresh wildflowers on the bar.
The bar area is adjacent to the modest brewing area with a 3.5 barrel brewhouse. A second room offers additional seating among the barrels and foudre.
During our visit all 16 taps were flowing, including 3 guest beers. The beers on tap included:
- Bloody Butcher – 5.2% ABV Appalachian Grisette
- Urban Monk – 10.6% ABV Imperial Stout aged on Defiant Whisky Oak Spirals
- Root Monk – 10.6% ABV Imperial Stout with Beets and Sea Salt
- Charleston Gold – 5.9% ABV Saison featuring Charleston Gold Rice
- Wood Goat – 5.9% ABV Heritage Rich Saison with Turmeric and Miso
- Fontome – 3.9% ABV Rustic Table Saison
- Neck Beard – 5.5% ABV Chinook, Citra, Centennial Pale Ale
- Beard Tree – 6.8% ABV Roasted Chestnut Brown Ale
- Smoke Signals – 2.8% ABV Wheat Kvass with Birch
- Irish Table – 4.5% ABV Dry Irish Stout
- Billy Maize – 4.1% ABV Cream Ale
- Drunkship of Lanterns – 5.1% ABV Mixed Culture Biere de Mars
- Hop Beard – 6.9% ABV Mountain Man IPA
- Oxbow Brewery Continental – 5% ABV Blonde Saison with European Hops
- Oxbow Brewery Space Cowboy – 4% ABV Biere de Garde
- Windy Hill Cidery Gala Peach – 6% ABV Cider
Beers are available in full pours or in flights of 5 beers of your choice. While every beer I tried (and I sampled 11 of them) were delicious, the saisons and hoppy beers were the most memorable for me. Wood Goat was unique and comforting at the same time, while Hop Beard was exactly what I wanted in an IPA.
The beer that ended up coming home in my waxed growler (that’s right – they waxed the growler!) was Fontome. The beer was so rustic and funky and earthy and everything I want in a saison.
There was one beer available in bottles to go – Smoke Signals. This beer was brewed in collaboration with Tara Jensen of Smoke Signals Bakery in Marshall, North Carolina. The beer was mashed with WNC pilsner and wheat, raw red fife wheat from Red Tail Grains, and country-style wheat bread loaves from Smoke Signals Bakery. It was steeped on heaps of locally foraged birch branches and fermented with mixed house cultures.
If you need something to munch on while sipping on all of this deliciousness, snacks are available including Carolina Kettle Chips, local crackers, meats and cheeses, and hummus.
Fonta Flora is open Wednesday 5 to 9 PM, Thursday and Friday 5 to 10 PM, Saturday 3 to 10 PM, and Sunday noon to 7 PM.
Additional news: According to WLOS News 13, Fonta Flora purchased eight acres of Whippoorwill Dairy Farm, a former dairy farm fronting Highway 126 to expand and create a farmhouse brewery, which will include a new 15-barrel brewhouse. You can read more about the expansion here.