This week, May 17-23, is American Craft Beer Week. Called the “Mother of All Beer Weeks,” by organizers the Brewers Association, this is a time for beer lovers to celebrate small and independent craft brewers and their amazing brews. Given that Asheville supposedly has the highest per-capita ratio of microbreweries to population, we, in particular, should celebrate. So drink a local craft beer or two this week. Like I need to twist your arm.
Anyway, below are a few fun beer-centric events happening around Asheville this week that’ll help you meet that goal of honoring craft beer.
Up next at Craggie: Antebellum Ale: Craggie Brewing Co. is doing it up for Craft Beer Week. They’re introducing Antebellum Ale, a 1840s-era American beer recipe containing water, yeast, molasses, ginger and spruce tips (5 percent ABV). The launch party is Wednesday, May 19, at Craggie’s Public House. The first 50 folks to arrive between 4 and 7 p.m. will get a wee Willi tasting glass of the Antebellum for free.
On Thursday, May 20, Craggie brewmaster Bill Drew will be cracking a cask of the Antebellum at Thirsty Monk South. He also promises to sign autographs and kiss babies.
Then, on Friday, May 21, Bruisin’ Ales, Craggie and the Hop Ice Cream Shop will let you drink your beer and eat it too. Six bucks gets you an ice cream float combining the Antebellum Ale and ice cream made with the Ale. Plus you get to keep the glass. Runs from 5 to 7 p.m. at Bruisin’ Ales.
Finally, on Saturday, when you purchase an Antebellum Ale at Pack’s Tavern, you get to keep the glass. Also, Craggie’s Jonathan Cort will be there to talk beer from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Hemp on tap at Wedge: Wedge Brewing will release iHemp Ale, an ale made from 150 pounds of hemp seed (and some hops), as a one-time special in honor of both American Craft Beer Week and Hemp History Week. The creamy, earthy brew comes in at 5.8 percent ABV, and at the brewery will be referred to as Derailed Ale, following the lead of the Wedge’s Iron Rail IPA and Third Rail Imperial IPA. The hemp beer will be available at the brewery and at Nine Mile Restaurant in time for the Montford Music & Arts Festival on Saturday, May 22.
Drink with Spike from Terrapin: Brewmaster Spike Buckowski of Terrapin Beer Company will be in Asheville Thursday and Friday. Terrapin’s home base is in my college town of Athens, Ga. Unlike many University of Georgia alums, I’m not an avid football fan, but I am an avid Terrapin fan.
Thursday night, May 20, Spike will be hosting a beer dinner at Zambra Wine & Tapas in conjunction with Bruisin’ Ales beer shop and Zambra chef Adam Bannasch. The dinner includes six paired courses and costs $60 per person (including tax and gratuity). All the courses look awesome; though I’m particularly struck by dessert (of course), which consists of Terrapin’s Dark Side Belgian-style Stout (8.5 percent ABV) served with date-stuffed beignets with espresso ganache, honey crème fraiche, and rose petals. For reservations, call Zambra at 232-1060.
On Friday, May 21, Spike will be hanging at the Thirsty Monk downtown and releasing a cask of his new side project, Boom Shaka-Lager, starting at 7:30 p.m. In addition to having one of the greatest names ever, this imperial lager is made exclusively with German malts and hops and a true Bavarian lager yeast strain. “While 99 percent of the beers brewed at Terrapin are ales, we figured we should show some love to the lager style as well,” Spike says.
I’m ready to give Boom Shaka-Lager a little love. You?
Will Asheville win the Beer City East title again? Although Asheville earned the title Beer City, USA, last year in beer god Charlie Papazian’s first annual poll of the nation’s beer lovers, it’s time to vote again (actually we were voted Beer City East, while Portland, Ore., won the title of Beer City West). Polling takes place all week, ending at 11:59 p.m. (Mountain Time) on Sunday, May 23. So get out the vote! Go to www.examiner.com and click through to Beer Examiner to vote.
Moog Filtered Ale hits the streets: I wrangled a preview taste of the Moogie brew, and you pale ale people are gonna love it. It’s a smooth, piney, easy-to-drink American Pale.
According to both Mike Rangel of Asheville Brewing Company and Jason Atallah of Bruisin’ Ales Beer Shop, folks have been calling and e-mailing from all over the world trying to get their hands on this beer, because the Moog name travels far. And because all proceeds from the sale of the beer will benefit The Bob Moog Foundation.
Happy American Craft Beer Week. A votre santé!