August 29, 2013

Appalachian State's "Ivory Tower" Brewery Creates 100% NC Beer

all north carolina beer hops kettle
NC hops go into the kettle at ASU's
Ivory Tower Brewery.
Day by day, brewers around the country are embracing local ingredients in their beer making, whether malt, hops, honey, produce, or yeast. Now, as a new generation of brewers prepares to enter the workforce, that commitment to local suppliers is top of mind. I recently spoke with Rusty Kuhfeld, Lab Coordinator for the Appalachian State fermentation science program, to get the scoop on a beer made with ingredients sourced entirely from North Carolina.

Ivory Tower Brewery is the pilot brewery at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. ASU's fermentation science program is an increasingly popular course of study, allowing future brewers and winemakers to earn a four-year fermentation science degree that will give them a significant leg up when they're ready to enter the industry.

The program recently purchased a 3-barrel brewing system, allowing them to produce upwards of 90 gallons per batch. The plan is to sell the beer produced by the students in order to help fund research and supplies. Unfortunately North Carolina law prohibits the sale of alcohol produced by universities, but they hope that the state will revise its laws so that they can raise money for the program, clear out capacity, and allow the students to gain more experience. The fermentation science program also offers lab services for professional craft brewers to receive analysis on things like IBUs and alcohol content, color, and clarity.

August 27, 2013

Craft Beer is for Lovers: Top Picks from the VA Craft Brewers Festival

2013 VA Craft Brewers Fest 
Capping off Virginia Craft Beer Month and a successful "Love on Tap" campaign by the state of Virginia, brewers and craft beer fans gathered this past weekend for the Virginia Craft Brewers Festival and Virginia Craft Brewers Cup. The event was held at Devils Backbone Brewing Company's Nelson County brewpub and concert grounds.

The weather was incredible, surpassed only by the setting, with mountain views for 360 degrees. Devils Backbone Brewpub sits on a huge plot of land in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, with almost no other buildings in sight. There were a fair number of people in attendance, about 2,200, but there was plenty of space so it didn't seem crowded. A huge stage was set up on the property for music, but the main attraction was most definitely the beer.

August 22, 2013

Local Beer Event Roundup

A lot of exciting beer events coming up in the Southeast: beer dinners, festivals, New Belgium "Clips" Film Festival... Are you ready?

Tonight, Aug. 22, 2013 - Oskar Blues Pint Night at the Brew Pump

The Brew Pump is a brand new beer bar in a converted gas station at 760 Haywood Road in West Asheville. This is the bar's first pint night, featuring our new neighbors from down in Brevard. There will be bluegrass music with Steven Shealy, free Oskar Blues merchandise, and the El Kimchi Food Truck will be on site providing the grub.

See you there.

Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013 - VA Craft Brewers Festival

August 13, 2013

A Rare Beer Club Tasting: Best Served Chilled with Cheese and Good People

Rare Beer Club Tasting
The Rare Beer Club offers some
hard-to-find libations.
The Rare Beer Club puts hard to find and limited release beers in the hands of craft beer fans. They were kind enough to send me a few bottles, so I invited some Asheville beer folks over to try the club's summer releases. Included in the lineup were collaborations from some of the United States' favorite brewers, as well as a saison from one of the world's most highly regarded producers of the style.

First, a little more about the club...

August 1, 2013

The Grove Park Inn Goes Craft: Edison Craft Ales + Kitchen

The attractive interior space opens into
even more impressive mountain views.
Someone made a very wise move when they decided to make craft beer and local food the focal point of the Grove Park Inn's classy new restaurant. 

Edison Craft Ales + Kitchen carries ten North Carolina beers on tap, including several local brews. Edison will offer flights of up to four pours, allowing drinkers to sample some of North Carolina's finest ales and lagers. The draft beer selection is rounded out by number of quality canned and bottled beers, again with a focus on the regional and local.