Showing posts with label North Carolina. Show all posts
Showing posts with label North Carolina. Show all posts

May 20, 2013

Asheville, NC: Hi-Wire Brewing Poised for Success


When a brewery vacated the space at 197 Hilliard Avenue and offered up their equipment for sale, Adam Charnack and Chris Frosaker saw an opportunity. They crunched some numbers, drew up a business plan, and are now co-owners of Hi-Wire Brewing Company, Asheville's newest brewery to join the local beer scene.

The artwork for Hi-Wire's Lager is
attractive and eye-catching.
(via Hi-Wire's Facebook page)
I spoke with Adam and Chris last week as they supervised the final construction process of their brewery and taproom. Right out of the gate, Hi-Wire will provide Asheville with four, quality, year-round brews: Bed of Nails Brown Ale, Prime Time Pale Ale, Hi-Pitch IPA, and Hi-Wire Lager. Their goal is to offer "good, authentic, sessionable beers," said Charnack. He and Chris feel that they can fill a niche in Asheville with traditional, unpretentious beers and a welcoming space in which to serve them. I tried their Czech-style lager: crisp, clear and full of assertive noble hops. These guys know what they’re doing.

May 16, 2013

Two Years of Beer Blogging: Check

Yours truly, hard at work at the
Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ
Festival in Atlanta.
I introduced myself to the world of beer blogging on May 16, 2011, with my first real post (a review of Yazoo's Dos Perros) coming a couple days later. I remember sitting in those Nashville coffee shops, embarking on this journey, having no idea where it would lead. Spending last weekend in Nashville, the city told me, "That's right, you don't live here anymore." There were new businesses and new buildings all over the place. It's true -- time really flies.

A year ago today I was living in Panama and I wrote a post similar to this one. I reflected on some of the ridiculously cool things I had done over the past year, including a class at the Siebel Institute in Chicago and the first ever Costa Rica Craft Beer Festival. I asked the question, "Where do we go from here?" Little did I know that my upcoming trip back in the US would take me through the town where I live today. A short twenty-four hours in Asheville planted a seed that would grow during my remaining time in Panama and convince me to move here just four months later.

May 13, 2013

5 Places to Take Beer Lovers Visiting Asheville

For everyone who visits Asheville, checking out the beer scene is imperative. My girlfriend and I have been very fortunate over the past several weeks to have a number of friends and family in town to visit and it's been a blast sharing the new city with our guests. Here are a few of the spots we've taken people so they can see -- and taste -- the Asheville beer scene:

the wedge brewing
Afternoon chillin' -- The Wedge Brewing Company

Located in the River Arts District, the Wedge has fantastic beer, a great outdoor patio, and usually food trucks on site to pair with your brew. It's the perfect place for kicking back on a sunny afternoon. The day we were there, El Kimchi was serving up their Mexican/Korean fusion deliciousness. Hopheads must try the Iron Rail IPA. Be sure to check out the Wedge's outdoor cinema series this summer and the Just Brew It homebrew festival on May 25th.

April 2, 2013

It's NC Beer Month: 5 Ways to Celebrate in Asheville

If you live in North Carolina, listen up! If you don't, it's about time for a visit.

April 2013 marks the inaugural North Carolina Beer Month. Breweries and craft beer fans from the Appalachian Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean will be celebrating the state's 70+ craft breweries with special tastings, events, beer releases, and festivities.

For those in and around the Asheville area, here are five fun ways to celebrate:

March 18, 2013

A Hops Industry Grows in North Carolina

The hops yard at the
NC Alternative Crops Research Center
On Saturday, March 16th, the NC State Mountain Horticultural Crops Research & Extension Center in Mills River held a workshop entitled “Growing Hops in Western NC.” This was a session to discuss the commercial viability of a local hops economy in our region. With 90+ people in attendance, some coming from as far as Virginia, South Carolina, and Tennessee, it seems that interest in the crop is pretty high.

Jeanine Davis of NC State opened the event by talking about the state of the hops industry. There are many reasons why hops are in high demand:
  • Increasing numbers of craft breweries
  • Increasing interest in homebrewing
  • Increasing demand for organic hops
  • Increasing demand for fresh (a.k.a. “wet”) hops
  • Increasing demand for locally-sourced products
But here’s the big question: Is a hops industry commercially viable in Western North Carolina?

March 11, 2013

Updates from New Belgium Asheville: Open House Recap

New Belgium Asheville
Rampant Imperial IPA
On Thursday night, New Belgium Brewing Company hosted an open house at Isis Restaurant in West Asheville to officially introduce themselves to Asheville residents. In addition to New Belgium CEO Kim Jordan and Asheville General Manager Jay Richardson, a number of New Belgium employees, contractors, and community partners were on hand to answer questions and celebrate the beginning of the brewery's participation in the Asheville community. Two things were clear: 1) New Belgium is making a sure-footed, conscientious entry into Asheville, 2) the Asheville community is, by and large, VERY excited to have them here.

February 4, 2013

First Taste with Burial Beer Co.

Asheville Burial Beer CompanySet to open this spring, Burial Beer Co. will be one of several businesses sure to revitalize Asheville's South Slope neighborhood and convert the somewhat defunct, semi-industrial part of town into Asheville's new beer district. Burial Beer Co. will be within walking distance of Green Man Brewery and Asheville Brewing Company, and soon, Twin Leaf Brewery and a number of new restaurants will join them nearby.

I recently sat down with the three owners of Burial Beer Co. to talk about their plans. There's something about looking into the eyes of young entrepreneurs as they share their dreams with you -- you can't help but take part in their excitement.

January 30, 2013

Top Beers and Beards from the Asheville Winter Warmer

Both the beers and the beards were on full display at the Asheville Winter Warmer this weekend. Thirty-one breweries, a cidery, and some moonshiners each brought their finest to the show, while every bit of facial hair in the house was perfectly groomed -- for the most part.

These were some of the exceptional specimens from the event, in both the beer and the beard categories:

January 28, 2013

How to Present an Incredible Beer and Cheese Tasting

This weekend's "No Whey Friday" beer and cheese tasting event absolutely lived up to expectations.

Beehive Barely Buzzed cheese
Michael Landis, of Atlanta Foods International, made an intoxicating presentation that stunned the 50 or so people in the meeting room at the Four Points Sheraton. As a Certified Cheese Professional, lead trainer for the Institut du Fromage, and international cheese judge, Michael brought expertise that made the event as educational as it was delicious. It was essentially a master class on how to conduct an amazing beer and cheese tasting.

January 25, 2013

5 Beer and Cheese Pairings That Will Rock Your World


Image used with permission via Rogue Ales and Spirits
At the 2012 Great American Beer Festival this past October, nearly 50,000 people descended on Denver to sample over 2,700 beers from nearly 600 American craft breweries. What blew me away though, more than any hopped-up IPA or high gravity Belgian quadruple, was a series of beer and cheese pairings that left my palate in a state of shock.

During the Saturday afternoon session of GABF, the American Cheese Society and Atlanta Foods International presented a seminar titled, “The Best Wine for that Cheese is Actually…Beer,” in which five phenomenal, award-winning cheeses were paired with five world-class beers from Utah’s Uinta Brewing Company. I was thrilled to learn that a similar event will be presented this weekend in Asheville.

January 23, 2013

Asheville City Council Approves New Belgium's Construction Plans

New Belgium Asheville
New Belgium Brewing Company, the third largest craft brewer in the United States, has just announced that their construction plans for a second brewery have been unanimously approved by the Asheville City Council. The new brewery will be built on Craven St., directly across from Asheville's River Arts District.

As reported by the Asheville Citizen-Times, many area residents and business owners are excited for the economic impact the brewery will have on the area, while others are concerned about increased truck traffic on Haywood Road.

January 9, 2013

This is What Local is All About

Support your local brewery
Image via CraftBeer.com
A recurring theme in this blog is the community aspect of craft beer. Sure, a lot of the most well known breweries grow to be regional powerhouses, distributing their products across state borders to drinkers that have never been anywhere near where the beer is made. But in reality, the craft beer movement is all about the camaraderie that's happening in the tasting room, or at the bar or restaurant down the street. On a day to day basis, it's about the brewers, brewery employees, and their loyal customers enjoying a pint and shooting the breeze.


December 31, 2012

The Most Influential Beer Bloggers of 2012 (Part 1)

With the new year less than a day away, I want to take a moment to recognize six beer bloggers who have influenced me and my writing over the past year. Whether you are a beer blogger, industrial professional, or casual beer drinker, these are people worth paying attention to in 2013.

Each person on the list has a uniquely interesting background, but these writers have a lot in common as well. All are self-starters and completely dedicated to sharing their passion for craft beer. And each person on the list has taken their beer blogging success to a higher level, either by writing for a major publication, working with a professional brewery, or launching their own entrepreneurial endeavor.

This list will be broken up into two parts, the second of which will be released tomorrow. Without further delay and in no order of preference, these are the Local Beer Blog's Most Influential Beer Bloggers of 2012:


December 22, 2012

Asheville, NC: Wicked Weed Brewing Preview


Wicked Weed in Asheville, NC
Photo: Wicked Weed Brewing
"Community" was the word of the day when I visited Wicked Weed Brewing last week. Scheduled to open December 28th at 5pm, Wicked Weed is expected to make a big splash in Asheville with a number of adventurous beer styles, including a range of Belgian ales, sour beers, saisons, West Coast-style IPAs, and barrel-aged beers, all to be complemented with "enlightened pub fare." Having won the People’s Choice award at this summer’s Brewgrass festival, the Asheville community is sure to give Wicked Weed an enthusiastic welcome on opening day.

The brewing team at Wicked Weed includes brothers Walt and Luke Dickinson and their good friend Eric Leypoldt. Both Luke and Eric bring experience from Dogfish Head, but all three got their start in homebrewing. Walt began homebrewing in California in 2000, and his brother Luke caught the bug soon afterwards. Like many others in their profession, what started as a hobby turned into a dream, and now they're neck deep in it.

December 18, 2012

Southern Appalachian Brewery & Dupont State Forest

Triple Falls, Dupont State Forest
Despite rainy weather for most of the weekend, my girlfriend and I managed to avoid it on Saturday as we explored a bit of Western North Carolina with our new four-legged companion. We ventured first to Dupont State Forest, about 50 minutes south of Asheville and 15-20 from Brevard. The plan: do some hiking, see some waterfalls, then check out Southern Appalachian Brewery in nearby Hendersonville.

Dupont State Forest

After a nice drive through rural North Carolina, passing farms and horses and sheep along the way, we entered Dupont State Forest and parked at the Hooker Falls parking area.

I'm no Bill Bryson, but I do enjoy a walk in the woods from time to time. Even though this was mid-December and only the evergreen foliage remained, the beauty of the area was stunning. On a 2-3 hour hike along well-maintained trails, we saw multiple waterfalls, including Triple Falls and High Falls.

December 12, 2012

Brevard, NC: Oskar Blues Opens in North Carolina

Oskar Blues Brewery in Brevard, NC
Photo credit: Beertography.com
The first of the "Big Three" breweries coming to Western North Carolina is officially open. Based in Longmont, Colorado, Oskar Blues' second brewery is located in Brevard, NC, just about 30 minutes from downtown Asheville. Famous for their canned craft beers like Dale's Pale Ale, Mama's Little Yella Pils, and Old Chub Scotch Ale, Oskar Blues decided to expand to the area for the water, the outdoor living, and Western North Carolina's borderline-obsessive beer culture.

November 27, 2012

3 Gift Ideas to Support #GivingTuesday

In case you haven't heard, today is the first ever Giving Tuesday. After Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is an effort to balance all that commercial activity with some good-hearted philanthropy. The craft beer community is known for their good hearts, with many participating in the Movember cause for men's health issues.

But that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy a good brew. To jumpstart your charitable giving this season, here are three holiday gift ideas that also support good causes:

November 20, 2012

Chapel Hill, NC: Homebrew for Hunger 2012

At the second annual Homebrew for Hunger festival, nearly 50 homebrewers and nine craft breweries teamed up to raise money and canned food for those in need.

The event, 
held at the West End Public in downtown Chapel Hill, raised over $8,500 through ticket sales and raffles to support PORCH, a volunteer organization providing hunger relief to families in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area. 

The event was expanded from one session last year to two this year in order to accomodate more tasters and to raise more money. Still, the event completely sold out in advance. 

November 16, 2012

Asheville, NC: New Belgium Tasting and Cold Mountain Release Party

It was a special night in Asheville, with a New Belgium tasting event and the release of Highland Brewing Company's highly anticipated Cold Mountain Winter Ale.

New Belgium Tasting at Bruisin’ Ales

New Belgium Asheville - Bruisin' Ales
Bruisin' Ales ("A High-Gravity World of Brews") is a bottle shop on 66 Broadway St., right in downtown Asheville. It's not a huge shop, but nonetheless they are very well stocked. They have great selection of imports (Schneiderwiesse etc.), plus the likes of Dogfish Head, Evil Twin, and a respectable number of regional beers as well. It was a busy night, with a good turnout of beer drinkers looking forward to New Belgium's forthcoming Asheville brewery.

November 5, 2012

Asheville, NC: A Weekend of Craft Beer, Community, and Good Causes

One month into being an official Asheville resident, I've had the pleasure of attending a handful of craft beer events in the new town. It's fantastic to be in a place where craft beer is mainstream. More than that though, this is a town where the beer business is aggressively involved in the community. More often than not, these events are tied to good causes of one kind or another. What better reason to go out for a beer?

Here's a brief recap of a couple events from the weekend:

Wee Bit Louder Fest

The first annual Wee Bit Louder Fest was held this past Saturday afternoon at Highland Brewing Company. Highland took fan suggestions for naming the festival, the "plugged-in" counterpart to Highland's Appalachian Breakdown Festival held in the summer.

The event started outdoors, taking advantage of Highland's new outdoor stage and the warm fall afternoon.

We started out by going into the Highland tasting room to sample the famed Sierra Nevada Beer Camp brews. In anticipation of their new Asheville location, Sierra Nevada invited 14 Western North Carolina breweries out to Chico for Beer Camp. They divided to the breweries into groups and brewed two commemorative ales: