Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Final Countdown

So its almost here. Perhaps the biggest celebration of the year for our local beer scene. Brewgrass started way back in 1996, when we had one brewery and one good beer bar. Things have changed a lot since then, but Brewgrass is still the annual event that everyone looks forward to. This is personally my 10th Brewgrass, and it is always a day filled with great beer, great friends, and I hear that they have great music too. This year should be no different. For a great rundown of this year's Brewgrass, as well as what to expect from WNC breweries, check out this Mountain Xpress article. As for other breweries, I will be on the lookout for Coast Brewing from Charleston, and Ham's Brewing out of Greenville, NC (some underated beer from this brewery). And I say this every year, if you are looking for tickets, check out craigslist, and if you don't have any luck there, show up early at MLK park and put on your best sad face. I always see people selling tickets outside. There will also be a raffle at tomorrow's Bruisin' Ales beer tasting for tickets. I hope to have a full writeup of Brewgrass next week.

If you are looking for some pre-Brewgrass activities, look no further than the Thirsty Monk. This Thursday night, that is tomorrow for those counting at home, there will be a cask from New Belgium brewery, a rare treat. In addition to the cask, they will also be tapping the Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout. This is not in reference to Canadian Bacon, which is neither bacon, nor Canadian (discuss). The Canadian part comes from aging the beer in bourbon barrels that were used to make maple syrup. This is an extremely rare beer that I highly encourage you folks to try. I will definitely be there. Friday at the Monk will feature a cask all the way from Rogue Brewing Company.

The other beer news for the week can be found at this Mountain Express article (thanks for doing my job Edgy Mama). Of note is the new south location of the Thirsty Monk, which I will give a full report on soon, and also the news of a new beer festival that will be held in late spring in Asheville. Tickets will go on sale at the Brewgrass festival, and at local breweries starting this Friday.

And now for a rant. I am extremely excited that we will be host to another beer festival. In my opinion, there is no such thing as too many beer festivals. But please, can you wait until we get a little closer to these beer festivals before you put your tickets on sale? Brewgrass tickets went on sale back in FEBRUARY. There are many folks who had no idea that they went on sale until it was too late. And now this spring festival's tickets are going on sale a full 8 months before the date of the festival. I have no idea what my calendar will look like in May. Obviously, my advice to you is to buy the tickets, since it will probably sell out sometime before the last leaves fall off the trees. I will give credit to the folks at the World Beer Festival who do it right. Tickets for the Durham event went on sale one month prior to the event, and they never have a problem selling out. While I'm at it, can you also limit the amount of tickets sold to one person? Four would be a good number. The more people get a chance at tickets, the better. Okay rant over, and again, I appreciate the festivals and I know they take a lot of work to produce.

Happy drinking, and we'll see you at Brewgrass.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Smoke on the Water

For two years running, Highland Brewing Company has sponsered a homebrewing competition where the winner gets to have his own brew made and sold by Highland. Last years winner was Aaron Schenk, a local homebrewer whose winning recipe was a Cream Ale. This years winner is also a local, and is familiar to many in the homebrewing scene here in Asheville. Alex Buerckholtz, owner of Hops and Vines a beer/wine/homebrew shop in West Asheville won this year's competition with his Big Butte Smoked Porter. Alex has been brewing beer for years, and this is not the first time he has had accolades for his beer. In 2006, he was a finalist for the Samuel Adams Long Shot homebrewing competition, and while he didn't win, he did get to attend the Great American Beer Festival courtesy of Sam Adams. This year, he gets to see his beer entered into the Great American Beer Festival in the Pro/Am category for his smoked porter. We wish him luck.

You can get a chance to try the beer and meet Alex this Tuesday (September 8th), when Hops and Vines will debut the beer with a special tasting that runs from 5 to 7 pm. They are also raffling off a pair of Brewgrass tickets for those folks who weren't able to get them when they went on sale back in spring.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


For those of you who visit the site, you may have noticed a freshening up around here. I decided to do a slight redesign that was spurred on by the failure of my old Google Calendar gadget. Other than the cosmetic changes, I added links to Asheville beer bars, updated the brewery list, and put in a new look for google calendar. It would be perfect if only google could figure out a way to word wrap my calendar entries. Speaking of the calendar, I do my best to keep up with it, and I have also learned how to embed html links into my calendar entries so you can easily be sent to the event's website. So for all of those readers who only look at my blog through your favorite RSS feed reader, please stop by and check it out. And if anyone has any suggestions about the site, feel free to let me know.