The weather outside was frightful, but a beer festival featuring local beers, food, and music sure was a delight. The first Winter Warmer Beer Fest this past Saturday was a great success. Held at The Garage at Biltmore, the four hour fest featured Highland, Green Man, French Broad, Catawba Valley, Heinzelmannchen, Pisgah, Asheville Brewing, and a surprise visit from little known Appalachian Craft Brewing. Appalachian has been around since 2003 when it started up in Rosman, and since then they have moved their brewery to Fletcher, but it has been slow going in getting past all the legal hurdles of opening a brewery. They featured three beers at the fest, Copperhead Ale, Mad Bear Stout, and an ESB, and they hope to have some taps available locally in the coming months.
Beer highlights included Green Man's Imperial Stout on cask, which takes the already delicious beer to new heights with the creamy mouthfeel added by the naturally carbonated cask. Pisgah brought along their Red Devil, which I've wrote about before and is currently on tap at Barley's. French Broad went all out and debuted two new beers for the festival. The first was an Imperial Porter, perfect for the cold temperatures outside. The other beer was a Dunkel Witte, a combination of a Belgian wheat beer and a German dark wheat. Drew's creative thinking paid off, and the beer turned out very well. Drew hopes to bottle the Dunkel Witte in the next few weeks, and I would definitely seek it out, or just drop by the French Broad tasting room.
Mark and Trish from Asheville Brews Cruise and Chris from the Garage should be commended for putting on a great festival that showcased our local brewers. It wasn't just locals that attended though, as I met people from the Triangle, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and even Alabama. In addition to the beer, a portion of the proceeds for the festival went to the Alzheimer's Association, and its great when you get to drink beer and help out a worthwhile cause. There is talk of having another event in the Spring, so keep your ears open for that.