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bill clark home brewer at the cliffs

Cliffs Living: Home Brewer at The Cliffs

Aug 23, 2021

Hobby meets home space in The Cliffs at Walnut Cove

Downhill from Here

Home brewing has gone Downhill for Bill Clark.

After acquiring a taste for the hobby out in a buddy’s garage back in Michigan, this craft beer enthusiast built a professional-grade brewery in his new home at The Cliffs at Walnut Cove. The spirited amenity exudes a definite Irish-pub-meets-Carolina-mountains vibe—there’s a game room, bar seating, and adjacent outdoor space—and the brewing process is enhanced by a designated heating system, an oversized ventilation hood, stainless steel walls, and an epoxied floor with a center drain.

Clark dubbed the brewery “Downhill” in memory of his best friend and brew buddy Matt, who had earned that nickname for his hiking style on the Appalachian Trail (AT). The men fermented a strong bond over the years via many a shared mile hiking the AT and elsewhere, as well as during the hours whiled away making beer with friends—on equipment typically set up in out-of-the-way corners of their homes. It was Downhill who first floated a what-if that took hold: What if you incorporated a true brewery into your architectural plans, so we could really do this right?

“What if” ultimately became “why not” and Clark tapped Glennwood Custom Builders (out of Hendersonville, North Carolina) and PLATT (from Brevard, North Carolina) to make it happen. Sadly though, Downhill never saw his idea come to fruition.

“I had expected him to spend many years helping me perfect the art of brewing here,” Clark says, but his buddy died before construction on the home—and home brewery—was complete. Friends from Michigan came down for the inaugural brew in Downhill’s honor, a double IPA based on his special recipe.

“He would’ve loved this. He enjoyed making beer with friends as much as he enjoyed drinking beer with friends,” Clark says. “He was instrumental in getting me excited about brewing, and now I look forward to passing along some of my own limited knowledge—and hopefully gaining some more—by brewing with new friends here in Walnut Cove.”

Clark and his wife Lori, who are parents to four adult children, moved into their early retirement home at The Cliffs in October 2020. Having an in-home brew pub is helping them meet their neighbors.

“I love sharing this experience with others,” Clark says. “When the neighborhood starts to smell hops, they know I’m brewing—and I hope they know that means the door is open!”

This story was featured in Cliffs Living magazine. To read more stories like this one and learn more about The Cliffs, subscribe here.

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