Founded in 1997 in downtown Asheville, North Carolina as the Celtic style pub Jack of the Wood, Green Man has subtly reinvented itself over the years. From its humble beginnings brewing in converted dairy tanks to opening its own taproom in 2005, Green Man has most recently focused on becoming a full-fledged craft brewery.
Given the English origin of the brewery’s name (lots of English pubs are have Green Man in their names) and the strong tradition of brewing English beer styles, it’s no surprise that Green Man is full of anglophiles. Brewmaster John Stuart has his brewers using English-style hops and malts in most of their recipes. We sampled four of Green Man’s offerings -- three year-rounders and one seasonal. See below for what we had to say about ESB, Porter, Forester, and IPA in our 2 O’Clock Tasting.
Being a whole-heartedly English-style ale from an English-style brewery, it was no surprise that we unanimously agreed upon ESB as the “most English” of the four brews we sampled. The pour revealed a burnt caramel coloring with off-white lacing and tiny bubbles. Heavy notes of caramel were prevalent in the nose – similar to a nutty brown ale with minimal amounts of hoppiness. The taste was clean and stylistically accurate with English hops and malts giving grassy flavors and a little toastiness at the end.
This English porter poured a darker shade of brown, almost a root beer color with a minimal tan head floating on top. Chocolate scents were definitely abound, and closer to a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar than the typical fair-trade 72% cacao. The flavors were in the same ballpark, notably sweet, creamy hot chocolate and marshmallow accents.
The Forester is Green Man’s seasonal winter stout. Black and inky like “Appalachian Mud,” as one taster suggested, with a bone-white head, the aromas that came through were on the darker spectrum - 8 a.m. pulled espresso and dark chocolate -- although bits of lactose peeked through. The taste matched the flavors, reminding us of a cold cortado and bitter chocolate that left a dry finish.
Like the ESB, Green Man is true to its word in calling their IPA an English-style IPA. The brewery’s flagship ale poured a striking orange blossom honey color with a minimal, buttermilk-tinged head. Kent Golding and Target hops are added five times during the brewing process, so the sweet, floral aromas - big and juicy compared to the Porter - were a welcome expectation. Balanced and dry until the finish, the biting grassy flavors lingered just a bit and we had no problem with that.