Thursday, September 20, 2007
I'm too excited to sleep
The countdown to Brewgrass has begun. Tickets have been sold out for a couple of weeks now, and judging by the posts on Beer Advocate and craigslist, there hasn't been a ticket this hot since the Smashing Pumpkins played here earlier in the summer. So I hope everyone has their tickets, and if you don't, you may need to pray to the beer gods and hope that someone will be scalping them somewhere outside of MLK Park.
This year's Brewgrass has returned to its original home after meandering throughout various parts of downtown, some good (McCormick Field), and some bad (last year). Regardless of where it is held, the festival still provides an ample amount of beer, music, and camaraderie. In the past we have seen rainstorms, chilly weather, and a lack of port a johns, but that still does not deter from the fun. The most memorable Brewgrass for me was in 2001. It was four days after 9/11, and the entire country was still in a state of shock. I am glad that Doug Beatty decided not to postpone the festival, as it provided a wonderful respite from the terrible events that occurred just days before. We emerged from out in front of our TVs that day to interact with our fellow neighbors and friends over the fellowship of a cold beer.
One of the exciting aspects of a beer festival is that some brewers will often debut a new beer or offer something special for the festival, and this year will be no different. Highlighting the list will be the Imperial Kashmir IPA from Highland. You will probably want to make this tent one of your first stops, as the IKIPA will likely run out in the first hour or two of the festival, not unlike the Imperial Gaelic last year. Of course you can drag yourself out of bed the next morning to pick up a couple of cases for drinking at home. Another beer I am looking forward to is French Broad's debut of their Pale Ale, an unusual style for this brewery that has been known for its eclectic lineup.
If you like whiskey, be sure to swing by Catawba Valley's tent, as Scott Pyatt will likely have one of his barrel aged concoctions, perhaps being the only brewer to bring a barrel aged beer. The Whisky River IPA is fantastic if you like a boozy whiskey finish to your beers (I loved it). If you are a fan of Imperial Stouts, I would suggest checking out Foothills brewing early in the day. They are bringing a very limited amount of last years Sexual Chocolate, one of my favorite new beers of last year, and it should only have gotten better with a few more months of aging. I am sure there are going to be even more surprises at this year's Festival.
If you need some practice before the big day on Saturday, the folks at ratebeer are organizing an Asheville pub crawl Friday afternoon and evening. I will likely take part in the beginning of the crawl before I head on over to the Grove Arcade to shake my posterior to the grooves of Yo Mamma's Big Fat Booty Band for the last Downtown After 5.