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Citizen Times: 12 Bones Smokehouse Reopens for the Season with new Brewer, Chef, Ideas

ASHEVILLE – It’s been 15 years since 12 Bones Smokehouse opened in the River Arts District.

Since then, the brand has grown from one small cinder block spot to two bigger locations, each with a distinct feel.

Now owners Bryan and Angela King say they’re ready to grow again, though they’re not interested in adding any new restaurants. They’re instead ready to level up, launching new collaborations with other breweries, restaurants and food producers and hiring internally to up the beer and food game.

“We’ve just never been interested in franchising,” Bryan King said. “So how do we grow without doing that? It’s taking those tools that we have here — the beer, the barbecue, the space that we have — and trying to utilize that in collaborations with other folks.”

At 12 Bones Brewing, the restaurant’s relatively new 15-barrel brewhouse in the Arden smokehouse, you’ll find an enthusiastic new brewer in Brandon Audette, 35, who worked as head brewer for One World Brewing for three years.

Audette replaces Scott Hettig, the first brewer hired before the Arden location opened in spring 2019. Bryan King said that when it was time to make the switch, Audette, whose wife has worked at both 12 Bones locations, just seemed a natural choice.

“Brandon was really the first person that I thought of,” King said. “We get along well, I like the beers that he’s already made, and I like his thought process with brewing in general and about using the best ingredients. The timing was right.”

6 new brews, canning to come

Not only that, King said, Audette’s prowess with cultivating relationships with other brewers and makers in town, whether that be the farmers at Rayburn Farms or the owners of Riverbend Malt House, fits in with the restaurant’s focus on more and better collaborations for 2020.

Right now, Audette has about six new brews on the menu with more on the way, including some small-batch experimental beers.

“We have a one and a half barrel pilot system coming with four fermenters, so (expect) a lot more — a lot more beer releases, a lot more fun stuff — while keeping the restaurants happy with, you know, the IPAs, lagers, those classic styles,” he said.

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