Thursday, January 07, 2010

Catching up is Hard to Do

So much has happened in the past couple of months in Beer City USA that it would be futile to try and sum it up. Thankfully, my friends at Bruisin' Ales, as well as edgymama at the Mountain Express have been around to keep everyone abreast of all the important beer news. I would definitely seek them out for all your Asheville beer needs.

The most talked about local beer news is undoubtedly the Lexington Avenue Brewery. It has been a long time coming, but they are finally just about ready for business. I was able to get a sneak peek at the brewery last night. What a fantastic place it is. The bar snakes around the center of the building and around the glass enclosed brew tanks. It really is a great looking place. Oh, and they brew beer. Six to be exact. They have a belgian white, a pilsner, a marzen, an American Pale Ale, an IPA, and a chocolate stout. I got to sample each beer, and they did a really great job with each style. Couple the beer with a very interesting menu and a great space, and I have no doubt that LAB will be around for a long time. So when are they going to be open? Soon. Very soon. I'm sure if you swing by over the weekend you can see how things are going there.

In a little over two weeks on January 23rd, the Winter Warmer beer festival returns this year for its third incarnation. It will feature local and regional beers, as well as food from the Lobster Trap, where local celebrity chef Tres Hundertmark will attempt to set the world record for shucking oysters (drool). I have attended the last two Winter Warmer fests, and it is always a good time. The organizers are the same folks who do the Asheville Brews Cruise, and the proceeds from this years event will go to Riverlink.

Feel like a road trip? Head down towards the beach for the Charleston Brewvival on February 27th. The festival will feature special and rare beers from breweries across the country, as well as having Greg Koch, owner of Stone Brewery, as the keynote speaker. It might be a good time to escape from the cold and check out a great city that is looking to make a name for itself in the beer world (check out Coast Brewing if you are ever down there).

Locally, there are some great beers that are out right now. Highland is celebrating their 15th anniversary with their Auld Asheville Vintage Ale. Pisgah has just released its annual Baptista Ale. Green Man is pouring a really good imperial stout. How lucky we are.

And lastly, there will be a new Asheville centric beer site launching in February. Asheville Microbreweries will feature information on local breweries, a beer forum, articles, maps and more. Hey, maybe I can take a few more months off. It will be great to have a one stop site for both out of towners and locals alike to learn and celebrate our great beer city.

Okay, that is it for now. I wish everyone a happy new year, and I hope to be around a bit more this year.

The Return of the Long Lost Blogger

Yes, it has been a long time since I have updated the ol' Asheville Beer Blog. Lets just say that 2009 was not the best of years for me. I don't like to get personal in a blog about local beer, but here goes. The fun began in March when my dad became ill and was admitted to the hospital. I spent a week in Florida, helping out my mother and spending every day in the hospital with dad. We were waiting for a diagnosis, and when I finally left to come back home we had one. My dad had vasculitis, a somewhat rare and hard to diagnose disease. But the news was initially good, as the doctors felt it could be treated. I was home for a little over a week when I got a call from my mother. I instantly knew what the call was for. My dad died on March 31st of last year. He was a 30 year Marine veteran, and was a little rough around the edges, but he had a great heart. I miss him every day.

Naturally, the year did not start off well. Fast forward to September. My brother-in-law was admitted to the hospital, and eventually was taken to ICU and went into a coma. Things did not get better from there. He died on October 3, 2009, my wife and her other brother by his side. Allan was one of the most fun people that I have ever met. He is also missed.

Oh, and to top it off, we had to put our long time beagle companion to sleep the weekend before Thanksgiving. Seriously, my life has been a country song this year.

Needless to say, I really haven't been motivated to keep up this blog. My wife and I are still dealing with the losses of our loved ones. One of the lessons you learn as you get older is how to deal with loss, and we have had a crash course this past year.

So, what now? I have never been the best person at keeping up with this blog, even without life's distractions. But I will do my best to get back into the swing of things. Starting now.