GET FRESH: John Garcia of Lookout Brewing, left, and Van Burnette of the Hop'n Blueberry Farm celebrate the recent hops harvest. Photo by Thom O'Hearn

Beer Scout: Hops to it

  Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries: everyone has their favorite U-pick treat. However, Van Burnette of the Hop’n Blueberry Farm wants folks in the Asheville area to remember there is another crop in season: hops. “Last year we had 6-1/2 feet of rain, it was a bad year for downy mildew, and we had root problems,” says Burnett. […]

CAMPING OUT: Festival-goers line up at brewers' tents in advance of the 1 p.m. start time for sampling. Photo by Thom O'Hearn

Disney World for beer lovers: Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Across America event

Sierra Nevada is famous for its high quality and consistency. Over decades the company has established a legendary reputation by thinking ahead and troubleshooting any potential problem in advance. The brewers are masters of controlling every variable. So perhaps it’s no surprise that when the company put on one of the largest beer festivals ever […]

The Beer Camp Across America 12-pack features some of the country's best brewers, from Bell's and Russian River to New Glarus and Ballast Point.

Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp 12-packs land in Asheville

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you already know all about Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Across America. In short, the brewery has invited every craft brewer in the nation to a massive road trip across the United States. They’re starting in Chico, Calif., the site of the original Sierra Nevada brewery, on Friday, July 18, and ending in Mills River where the new facility is slated to come online on Sunday, Aug. 3.

RANCH-STYLE: Oskar Blues will refurbish many of the original buildings on the property of its REEB Ranch in Hendersonville for use as guest lodgings. Photo courtesy of Oskar Blues

Beer scout: Oskar Blues launches its first off-site project in WNC

In Colorado, Oskar Blues has plenty of side-projects. There’s CHUBurger, which is their take on a fast-casual burger joint. There’s Cyclhops, a bike cantina, where they combine a taco and tequila restaurant with REEB Cycles, their own brand of bikes. There’s the Bonewagon, a smokehouse on wheels. And they even have a farm, dubbed Hops & Heifers, where they grow hops and raise cows on spent brewing grain for their restaurants.

GROWTH SPURT: Hi-Wire Brewing owners Chris Frosaker, left, and Adam Charnack, right, are increasing distribution by 75 percent. Photo by Alicia Funderburk

Beer scout: Men on a wire

When Hi-Wire Brewing opened last summer, they pretended a circus was coming to town. The owners made sure that everyone who kept an eye on the beer scene knew something was about to happen, but they didn’t give much away ahead of time. Then, after weeks of hype, Hi-Wire revealed its big surprise: It would package its beers in 12-ounce bottles, just like Highland and Green Man, and sell them in six-packs right out of the gate.

MIX IT UP: David Maida drew many repeat samplers at the Just Brew It festival with a half-dozen flavored syrups in addition to his two beers. Photo by Thom O'Hearn

Beer scout: Homebrewers add flavors with syrups

Asheville Beer Week’s Just Brew It! Homebrew Festival is one of the most interesting events of the year. All stripes of homebrewers showcase all sorts of beer, with no commercial constraints (you know, like worrying if anyone is willing to buy it). So if a brewer is passionate about classic styles, she might serve a stellar Belgian Golden Strong or Altbier. The IPA-obsessed keep multiple taps of hoppy goodness flowing. And of course there are the mad scientists.

Thirsty Monk Woodfin_2

Thirsty Monk opens in Woodfin

Thirsty Monk’s original downtown location had character built right in. Even in Asheville’s funky downtown, it’s hard to miss a corner building that’s painted bright purple. Both the upstairs bar and the downstairs Belgian bar have their quirks — the latter is literally in the basement — and the entire building has a comically low capacity. So […]

CAN DO: Oskar Blues is known for breaking down stereotypes about canned beer. With the release of Old Chub Nitro, it will become the first U.S. brewery to package nitrogenated beer in cans. Photo courtesy of Oskar Blues Brewery

Beer scout: Oskar Blues goes nitro

Sure, Oskar Blues is known for their great beer, but founder Dale Katechis has also made a name for the company when it comes to canned beer. It is widely credited as the first craft brewer to package in cans, and it’s been breaking down the stereotype that canned beer = bad beer for more than a decade. Soon, Oskar Blues will take it a step further and be the first U.S. brewery to package “nitro” beer in cans. Those fine, cascading bubbles will now be available in Old Chub, a malt-driven Scottish ale, thanks to a widget inside each can that will release nitrogen when the beer is opened.