More Than Just Yeast: White Labs Opens Latest Taproom, Kitchen to Engage Consumers

Food, beer and science. It’s all at White Labs now in one of the biggest craft beer cities in the country with the opening of the yeast production company’s Asheville taproom and kitchen.

Adjacent to the already established production facility, White Labs Kitchen & Tap opened last weekend to showcase not just the art of fermented beverages, but also food.

Brewer stopped by before the grand opening to get a small tour of the place, something that the general public will also get to do said White Labs Kitchen & Tap General Manager Chris Genua when he led us on the tour.

This isn’t the first foray into a taproom for White Labs, which has facilities in San Diego and Boulder that showcase how yeast affects the same wort with up to four versions of the same style on tap. It gives patrons an opportunity to do side-by-side comparisons of the same base beer fermented with various yeast strains.

This is, however, the yeast producers first chance to venture into fermented food.

“My vision is for White Labs Kitchen & Tap to be a fun and appetizing way for the general public to explore the complex world of yeast and fermentation,” said White Labs CEO, president and founder Chris White.

Since bread and beer yeast both originate from the same family (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), all pizza doughs served at the kitchen and taproom are slow-risen using White Labs pure liquid yeast cultures. By bringing this process into a kitchen, White Labs is revisiting the historical relationship between brewers and bakers, where one would rely on the other for brewing or baking.

On the brewery side, the new spot in Asheville, where there is a bevy of options for consumers to chose from meant White Labs wanting to team up with the local breweries to produce some collaborations.

“We look forward to continuously growing our relationship with Asheville’s vibrant artisanal community and complementing the existing breweries, bars and restaurants in the region,” said White Labs vice president Lisa White.

Genua came to manager the new venture after working with New Belgium Brewing’s Tasting Room in Asheville. He said he is excited for this new experience and being able to help open up the area the facility is located at on Charlotte Ave. to help welcome people to the Downtown and South Slope area of Asheville. It’s located close enough to many local breweries that Genus feels that it will be hard for patrons not want to come and experience something a bit different than the usual craft brewery experience.

With approximately 5,200 square-foot of indoor and outdoor areas, White Labs Kitchen & Tap has a seating capacity for nearly 100 guests. The space is adorned with Erlenmeyer flask light fixtures, which add to the company’s science of fermentation specialization and overall theme.  “It’s been great working on the finishing touches for White Labs Kitchen & Tap,” Genua said. “We’ve put together a great team of culinary and fermentation enthusiasts, who will be able to provide a unique restaurant experience to our guests. We’re all excited to be part of the White Labs team, and we can’t wait to introduce more people to the science and art of fermentation.”

Daily tours will walk guests through the production facility, learn about the science of fermentation and how White Labs manufactures pure liquid yeast for the brewing, wine and spirits industries.

The tour is something that can help showcase a part of brewing that brewers and owners know is vital, but yet sometimes gets less talked about than fellow ingredients hops and malt.

White Labs shines a spotlight on yeast and has found a way to be entertaining, informative and provide a product to consumers with this venture.

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  1. Pingback: Brewer Magazine Q&A: Joe Kurowski, White Labs Head Brewer

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