Mountains to sea, North Carolina brew stars in locally made road-trip documentary

What happens when seven guys, including four who comprise a band called Rat Jackson, hit 27 breweries and play five gigs during a two-week road trip from North Carolina’s mountains to its coast? Watch the movie Beer Y’all and find out.

Cheers, mates: Asheville’s Curt Arledge and friends make a real fun film called Beer Y’all. Photo special to the Mountain Xpress.

“I’d say the movie’s about 50 percent beer, 30 percent road trip and whatever’s left, it’s rock and roll,” says Curt Arledge, a resident of Asheville and a member of the merry bunch that set out last summer in a seatless cargo van to capture the state’s booming handcrafted beer culture.

The documentary captures everything from a “grain to glass” tour of a microbrewing operation to partying at Rat Jackson shows and beer drinking, according to Arledge. Lots of beer drinking.

“We wanted to celebrate the state. We didn’t really know that much about beer and beer-making, and it really surprised us how much was going on in the eastern part of the state,” says Arledge, noting Asheville’s status as the hub of a hugely popular local-beer scene.

The movie highlights all of Asheville’s local breweries in existence in July 2008, according to Arledge—Green Man, French Broad, Pisgah, Wedge, Asheville Pizza and grandaddy Highland. Sylva-based brewery Heinzelmannchen and Catawba Valley Brewing in Morganton also made the cut.

Arledge says the guys, including his brother Will, used sound and video equipment from URTV, Asheville’s public access channel, to record the adventure. Arledge, a paid staffer at URTV, said the film was edited using other facilities. The result is an amateur, independent documentary that captures the good times.

Arledge says he’s also selling a DVD containing the 75-minute movie an a 20-minute featurette called A Brewed Awakening: Interviews on North Carolina Beer.

“We wanted to celebrate the state,” Arledge says. “It was just a really good time.”

what: Beer Y’all: A Rock & Roll Road Trip Across North Carolina
where: Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company, Merrimon Avenue location
when: Thursday, May 21 (9 p.m. Advance $5, $7. www.beeryall.com. Tickets at Bruisin’ Ales, Weinhaus and Hops and Vines on Haywood Road)

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