Olde Hickory at Amos Howard’s (Hickory, NC)

Amos Howard’s Restaurant & Brew Works is located at the former brewing facility for Olde Hickory. The new Olde Hickory Brewing Company facility opened in 2000 and does no serving; the Olde Hickory Taproom was already established, so the OLD Olde Hickory was renamed Amos Howard’s in 2002, and provides Olde Hickory beers as well as a small brewing facility that is sometimes used. Confused?

We stopped by after lunch at Foothills – it is close enough to be on the way to Asheville, but far enough that I could take a nap on the way there. We actually passed it, and I was pleased to learn that our friend Dave did, too, on his visit. Once found, it looks very plain on the outside (almost abandoned!), and inside it is on the verge of being just another smoky North Carolina dive bar.

We entered by walking through a great big barrel to the hostess station and giggled a little about the barrel booths (chintzy and unique!) We chose seating at the bar, which was also a unique shape. Instead of being one straight line, three “mini bars” branch out from the main bar, allowing patrons to sit together and talk face to face in small groups. Marilyn Manson was playing loudly on the jukebox, and combine with the cigarette smoke, I was thinking that maybe beer wasn’t even in order here.

But we ordered. D had a Weizenbock, and tasters of the Poor Richard’s Ale and the Sinatra Barley Wine (12.5% ABV.) I had the Hickory Stick Stout. Pints here are 20 oz, but our bartender offered to pour me a half (which really looked more like 2/3, but I appreciate the effort. Eleven house taps were on at Amos Howard’s:

  • Piedmont Pilsner
  • Brown Mountain Light
  • Ruby Lager
  • Poor Richard’s
  • Crawdad Red
  • Table Rock Pale Ale
  • Hickory Stick Stout
  • Hefeweizen
  • Weizenbock (8% ABV)
  • Nessie’s Scotch Ale (8% ABV)
  • Sinatra Barleywine (12.5% ABV)

Once the music stopped playing, the beers were enjoyable. I didn’t take the time to take notes, as nothing was outstanding on the good or bad side. 

The staff were friendly and attentive, and told us that some – very little, but some – of the brewing is still done here. In the brewing room window, we noticed 5 liter mini kegs of five different beers. That’s kind of unique for such a small place. And the bottle selection at Amos Howard’s was very nice – sure beats running into W-S to City Beverage every time you want something unique! Unfortunately, many of the other customers were not looking for unique. There was a LOT of Budweiser being consumed and put on to cool for the evening crowd.

One thing I noticed is that their website says, “Here at OHB we are proud to offer something you can get nowhere else around town, or in NC for that matter. Our Cask-Conditioned Ale, served off a real British Beer Engine, the way it was meant to be, Real Ale.” As a lover of cask ale, I was downhearted to learn there was nothing on cask. Also, I need to point out that Foothills does cask ales (they just did Seeing Double!), and so do Green Man and Big Boss (and probably others if I took time to do the research.)

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