Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Odds and Suds

First of all, what a fantastic weekend of beer. The Dogfish Head Mountain Weekend was a smashing success. We had our good beer friends from Pennsylvania, Deuane and Carolyn in town, and we hit up all three Dogfish events. Sam Calagione from Dogfish arrived a little late to the first tasting because of an airline hiccup, but he was nice and generous, and went out of his way to speak to everyone who was there. The following night was the Pint Night at the Thirsty Monk, which had an excellent turnout along with some rare treats from Dogfish Head on tap. The weekend wrapped up with one of the best meals I have ever had. Adam Bannasch, head chef of Zambra, created a wonderful set of dishes that matched really well with the dogfish beers. From the light shrimp salad paired with Red and White, to the tenderloin with microgreens and rabbit gravy over a biscuit paired with the 90 minute IPA, the meal was exquisite. I'm ashamed to admit that this was my first official beer dinner, but it will not be my last. Overall it was a great weekend and Sam really seemed to enjoy Asheville, and he was a great storyteller as well during the brunch, giving us some inside details on each beer that was being served.

Of course the beer fun never stops in Asheville, and this Thursday at Asheville Pizza and Brewing on Merrimon is the world premiere of the documentary, Beer Y'all. Beer Y'all is a rock and roll and beer adventure that spans 27 breweries across North Carolina, and I am sure that a few of those breweries will be familiar to us. Advance tickets for the 9 pm showing are being sold at Bruisin' Ales, the Weinhaus, Hops and Vines, and Asheville Pizza and Brewing. It should be a nice celebration of the growing craft brew scene in North Carolina.

As for other events, it looks like Asheville is getting another beer festival. Baseball and Beers will be held by the Asheville Tourists on August 22nd, featuring 30 beer vendors as well as food and music. There won't be a baseball game, but you will get free admission to a Tourists game with the purchase of a ticket to the festival. Tickets go on sale on June 6th, and start at 20 dollars. I hope this is the start of a yearly tradition. The Tourists have done a great job this year of featuring local craft brews on tap, as well as conducting 'beer races' for games that happen Thursday-Saturday. I may have to get in shape to participate.

And lastly, a I just wanted to point out a couple of mentions of Asheville beer. Pisgah Brewing's Solstice won a blind tasting of Belgian style Tripels back in February in Brooklyn. The tasting was sponsered by Ale Street News, and Pisgah faced some stiff competition and came out on top. Also, Asheville Pizza and Brewing got a nod from the travel website Matador Trips as one fo the top 20 Microbreweries in America. Congratulations to both breweries on getting some love.

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