Sustainability, whimsy and craft beer: Clips of Faith film and beer festival returns to Asheville

Brew and view: Clips of Faith brings 20 short films and an array of small-batch beers to pack Square Park this week. Photo courtesy of New Blegium

Although the name, at first glance, suggests otherwise, New Belgium’s Clips of Faith festival is not a spiritual event. It is, according to the brewery’s website, “a beer-toting, film-traveling, nonprofit-benefiting show.” Though, Clips of Faith manager-at-large, Christie Catania, says she gets that question “constantly, especially in the Southeast.”

And really, beer, for some, can be a religious experience.

Catania explains, “Our Lips of Faith series is small-batch beers,” says Catania. “It requires a leap of faith to brew them and to taste them. So, Lips of Faith comes from leap of faith, and we added a C and got Clips of Faith, because it’s a film festival.”

Here’s how it works: Film and beer enthusiasts are invited to Pack Square Park’s Roger McGuire Green. Bring a lawn chair and a picnic (leave the alcohol to New Belgium, though). You can even bring your dog (but you’ve got to keep it under control). The film screenings are free, and beer (both in three ounce samples and 12 ounce sizes) and food are available for cash (don’t forget to bring your ID).

This year marks the third anniversary for the traveling show, which makes its way to 18 cities between May and October. Asheville has been a stop for all three years, and with New Belgium building a facility in town, the bond is pretty much established. But there’s another perfect match in this story: Clips of Faith and urban cycling advocacy group Asheville on Bikes.

“This will be our third year working with Asheville on Bikes,” says Catania. When it comes to finding nonprofits to benefit, Clips of Faith seeks out partnerships. “We usually approach them in each city. We try to find out who’s doing great work and what’s happening before we get into a town,” says Catania.

Locally, “we get a good amount of support from the Asheville Downtown Association,” she says. “They work with Asheville on Bikes and help them get the liquor permit. And Asheville Greenworks keeps the festival green. They do our composting and recycling. But the beneficiary of the entire festival and the beer proceeds is Asheville on Bikes.”

Which brings us to the craft brew: On the menu at the Pack Square Park festival is Cocoa Mole Ale, Biere de Mars,Tart Lychee, La Folie, Fat Tire, Ranger, 1554, Trippel, Abbey, Blue Paddle, Belgo IPA and Shift, with others to be announced. These are special beers — Cocoa Mole involves cocoa, of course, but also ancho, guajillo and chipotle peppers. Biere de Mars has “tones of ripe mango and lemon verbena,” says And 1554 is an “enlightened black ale” that takes its name from the year that its recipe was perfected, according to an ancient Belgian text. Food for the festival will be sold by Avery’s Hot Dogs.

The Clips of Faith films are every bit as adventurous as the libations. “What we reach out for are films of a whimsical nature,” says Catania. Themes are “sustainability, whimsy and craft beer, and this year we added arts and adventure.” New Belgium received more than 100 film submissions (guidelines state that the movies must be seven minutes or less, and clean — as in appropriate, because there’s likely to be mud, grit and grime) and these were vetted by a team of viewers.

While none of the 20 films selected come from WNC, they’re sure to appeal to regional viewers. “We have ski films, we have bike films we have films of projects,” says Catania. Speaking to Xpress from Missoula, Mt., the manager-at-large said that a local film being shown at that Clips of Faith screening followed a sawdust mandala project.

“We have mural painting in Mexico, we have a woman talking about canning food, and we have a spoof about a barbecue,” says Catania. There are also animations. “We’re pretty all over the place,” she says. “With the beer and the films, there’s something for everyone.”

Alli Marshall can be reached at
what: Clips of Faith
where: Roger McGuire Green at Pack Square Park
when: Friday, Sept. 7 (7 p.m. Admission is free, beers are $1.25/$5 for 3 oz./12 oz.


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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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