Sunday, August 13, 2006

Brewery tour

This was a big weekend for beer lovers. Yesterday a number of us toured several Asheville breweries with MALT (Mountain Ale and Lager Tasters), the local hombrewers club. Starting in Black Mountain we visited Pisgah Brewing where "Pisgah Dave" welcomed us with beer samples and gave us a tour of the brewery. In less than eighteen months Pisgah has become a major player in the area craft beer movement, and its fine products may be found in many Asheville area bars and restaurants. We were given an update on future plans for the brewery and glimpses of new beer styles we may expect to see down the road.

Moving on to Asheville Pizza and Brewing on Merrimon Avenue we met Doug Riley who gave us a tour of his operation. We were impressed by how much he accomplishes in a small space. Doug told us that brewing will continue here as well as at the new Coxe Avenue facility. He supplied us with samples of his fine beers before we enjoyed a delicious lunch along with pitchers of IPA and porter. We would have liked to linger awhile. However, our 2:00 PM tour of Highland Brewing beckoned so we reluctantly said our goodbyes and moved on.

Highland is moving to a new facility near River Ridge but the old brewery underneath Barleys and ED Beaudreaux's is still running full out. We were given the grand tour and more fine samples, including a preview of the outstanding Imperial Gaelic which will be released in limited quantities this fall. I have long been familiar with the fermenter that rises through the floor inside ED Beaudreaux's which is a legacy of the old Blue Rooster operation. I was surprised to discover that the fermenter is still in use, having assumed it was out of service but too hard to remove from the building.

The afternoon ended much too soon but we are already looking forward to the next MALT trip. Itinerary and date to be determined.

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