Small Bites

Highland Brewing Company: Highland Brewing Company and Barley's Taproom may have grown apart physically, but the two local mainstays are celebrating their shared 15th birthday together this Friday.

Photo courtesy Highland Brewery

Highland got its start in Barley's basement back in 1994, pioneering Asheville's now-thriving beer scene. The brewery in 2006 moved to a facility in East Asheville that has the capacity to produce 20,000 barrels of locally loved suds every year.

Highland recently began opening its tasting room on Friday evenings from 4 p.m.-8 p.m., featuring live music from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. "The problem for many has been that all of the good live music in town has been starting around 11 p.m., and 11 p.m. is too late for many," spokesman Steve Schwartz explains.

Highland will expand upon its usual Friday festivities this week in honor of its anniversary: The party will run until 10 p.m. and include three bars, three casks, two bands and free raffle tickets. There's no cover charge.

Highland Brewing Company is located at 12 Old Charlotte Highway, next to Blue Ridge Motion Pictures. For more information, call 299-7223.

Stovetrotters: Another local restaurant succumbed to the recession this month, with Stovetrotters announcing its closure.

Chef/owner Jenny Kommitt told the Citizen-Times, "It's a survival of the fit and the survival of the strong and I just wasn't strong enough."

According to the Citizen-Times' report, the restaurant's profit margin was assaulted by the Interstate 40 detour and wintry weather throughout December.

Stovetrotters opened on the edge of Biltmore Village in 2007, with an ambitious business plan that included private events, cooking classes and culinary tours.

Blue Ridge BBQ Festival: Proving a lack of customers isn't the only reason to close up shop, the Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce recently announced its annual barbecue festival had become too popular to sustain.

"We are getting out of the festival business," chamber president Andy Millard said in a press release.

According to Millard, the festival — named the fifth-best barbecue festival in the world by the Travel Channel — annually absorbed 700 volunteers' time and cost nearly $300,000.

"The festival's profit has trended downward to a point where it is no longer commensurate with the time and resources it consumes," Millard explained in the release.

Asheville Independent Restaurant Association: The Asheville Independent Restaurant Association's signature fundraiser will take a seat this year, as ticketholders are invited to partake in a six-course plated dinner at the Doubletree Biltmore Hotel.

The Culinary AffAIR, hosted in partnership with the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, will open with a cocktail hour featuring hors d'oeuvres prepared by The Colorful Palate, The Lobster Trap, Frankie Bones Restaurant & Lounge, and Luella's Bar-B-Que. Fiore's, Corner Kitchen, Savoy, Bouchon, the Blue Ridge Dining Room and the French Broad Chocolate Lounge will handle appetizer, soup, salad, entrée and dessert duties.

Tickets to the Jan. 28 event are $125. For more information, call 232-2247.

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