Hi y’all. Here are a few recent tidbits about Western North Carolina’s hopping and happening beer scene.
Hops Farm Tour: Last Saturday, I attended part of the Hops Farm Tour organized by the Buncombe County Cooperative Extension Office. The inaugural tour started at Landfair Farms in Weaverville, then stopped at Hop n’ Berry Farm in Black Mountain, ending with a tasting at Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mountain. More than 100 folks attended, including hops growers, home brewers, and brewers. Doug Riley, head brewer at Asheville Pizza and Brewing, and the two man and one woman team from soon-to-open Craggie Brewing Company made an appearance. I’ll have more about the ins and outs of hops growing in the region in the Sept. 30 edition of Mountain Xpress.
Speaking of Craggie Brewing Co.: Craggie’s Jonathan Cort says the business hopes to receive its temporary license soon. If the paperwork’s approved before Sept. 19, the Craggie crew hopes to be handing out tastes of their craft brews at Brewgrass. Craggie’s also sponsoring a road cycling event to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The Sept. 12 event offers 35 and 62 mile rides, starting at 8:30 a.m. The event starts and ends at Craggie’s brewery at 197 Hilliard Ave. After the ride, taste some of Craggie’s brews and eat pizza from Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company, also a sponsor.
Local food and local brew: Yummy partnerships are being formed between small local businesses. Crooked Condiments has produced Ninja Porter Mustard, whose primary ingredient is the beloved Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company beer. Jars are for sale at both Asheville Pizza and Brewing locations on Merrimon and Coxe Aves. Both places also serve the mustard in-house with three lovely soft pretzels. Also, in from Craggie Brewing Company: The Hop Ice Cream Café at 640 Merrimon Ave is combining Craggie’s Antebellum Ale with ice cream for a freezing sweet beer-infused special.
Bruisin’ Ales beer tastings: Hoppin’ Frog Brewey of Ohio will offer tastings of five of their craft beers on Thurs., Sept. 3. Victory Brewing Company from Pennsylvania will be in the store Thursday, Sept. 10. Tastings are from 5-7 p.m. at 66 Broadway.
The Thirsty Monk beer news: This is Dogfish Head week at the Thirsty Monk. On Thursday, Sept. 3, the Monk will tap Dogfish Head’s Sah’Tea, a Finnish juniper and chai tea beer and hold a Punkin Ale release party throughout the evening.
Oktoberfest: Leigh Lewis of Asheville Pizza and Brewing tells me that tickets for Asheville Oktoberfest are selling fast. The party happens on Saturday, October 10, on Wall St. downtown from 1 to 5 p.m. Buy tickets from ashevilledowntown.org.
Brewgrass cometh: The 13th annual Brewgrass takes place on Sat., Sept. 19, at MLK Jr Park from noon to 7 p.m. It’s been sold out for months, but Xpress will still preview the sudsy gathering in our Sept. 16 issue. We’ll also have an updated guide to area craft breweries.
Did you know? There’s no such thing as Happy Hour in North Carolina. Drink specials must be offered from the time the business opens to the time it closes, according to state ABC laws. Free drinks or reduced price drinks cannot be offered during limited hours. Thus, no happy hour.
Which got me to wondering about the origins of “Happy Hour.” According to Wiki, the term originated with the U.S. Navy in the 1920s. “Happy Hour” was slang for drunken on-ship performances. The idea of drinking alcoholic beverages before dinner has its roots in Prohibition. When alcohol consumption was banned, illegal speakeasies would host “cocktail” or happy hours” for folks who wanted a drink before eating at an alcohol-free restaurant.
Of course, now we can drink both before and during dinner, thank goodness.
Have you got some area brew news? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.