Brews News

My take on Asheville’s Oktoberfest celebration: I didn’t stay long as I had a sick kid at home, but I saw folks having loads of fun on Wall Street in downtown. Beer games rock, and I commend the Asheville Downtown Association for fostering an appropriately Bacchanalian atmosphere. Two caveats: One, the food line was way too long. I’d suggest having at least two food stations in the future and more food options (German cuisine offers more than pretzels and bratwurst. Really.). Two, 12-ounce cups filled to the brim with beer offer more than a taste—in order to “taste” all the local beers there, you’d have to down more cups of brew than healthy (you could share, but with the swine flu around, beware). I condone the use of biodegradable cups made from corn syrup (best use ever for the stuff, I think), and for offering clear, well-marked recycling bins (see photo), but I think a smaller reusable glass would decrease both waste and wasted. Here’s local blogger Ashvegas’ take. Here are some of my photos from the event.

LAB fills the tanks: Twitterati royalty and Mountain Xpress publisher Jeff Fobes tweeted last week that Lexington Avenue Brewery received its temporary brewing license. Yes, indeed. I talked to brewer Ben Pierson, who says all his permits are in, and he hopes to start brewing next week. Hallelujah! All Pierson’s beers will be unfiltered, which is how Pierson thinks beer should be. He’ll start by brewing an American Pale Ale, then a Bohemian-style Pilsner, then a German Marzen (Octoberfest) beer. His line-up will round out with a robust Porter, an IPA, and a Belgian-style White. They’re not making any promises, but Pierson says he hopes to be selling beer from an open gastropub in early December.

Christmas Jam Ale and guest brewers: Asheville Brewing Company’s guest brewer for a day program has been postponed until after the New Year. ABC co-owner Mike Rangel says the brewery got too busy after announcing the release of their Christmas Jam White Ale to get the guest-brewer program up and running at the same time. Rangel says the brewery’s been getting calls from people all over the country who want a taste of the ale, which will be released Nov. 1. Like the Warren Haynes’ Christmas Jam concert, all profits from the beer’s sales will go to the W&S Charitable Foundation, which partners with Habitat for Humanity to provide housing for area residents. The special-edition brew will be offered locally in Asheville, as well as nationally via mail order. It will only be around until January. The beer will be available at GreenLife Grocery, Bruisin’ Ales, Asheville Brewing Company and The Orange Peel exclusively Nov. 1-8. After that, the beer will be on draft in restaurants and sold elsewhere around town.

Top secret yumminess:The crew at Highland Brewing is finalizing the ingredients for their much anticipated Cold Mountain Winter Ale this week. Here’s what Ashvegas learned about the process from founder/president Oscar Wong. When I contacted Steve Schwartz of Highland, he confirmed that flavorings for the Ale were finalized on Wednesday, but he couldn’t tell me what they are, but they’ll be super delicious. Look for the first release of Cold Mountain during the week of November 2nd.

David vs. Goliath: On Bruisin’ Ales blog, there’s a story about the latest big corporate business vs. small craft brewery spat—over of all things—the name of a beer. It’s not local, but interesting nonetheless. Two regional breweries had a similar conflict last year over a beer name (Pisgah Pale had been used by Asheville Brewing Company a few years before Pisgah Brewing started using the name for their flagship pale ale). Luckily, that one was settled outside of court. No big guns necessary for the small craft breweries. 

Homebrew classes: Plan ahead if you want to participate in Hops & Vines homebrew classes in November and December. Here are the options: Only four spots left in the all-grain/advanced class on Sunday, Nov. 1, noon-5:00 pm. This class is intended for brewers with some background knowledge. Cost is $45 per person and includes a bottling class two weeks later on Nov. 15, 11:00 a.m. to noon. You keep a six-pack of the beer you brew. The shop will offer an extract/partial grain class on Sunday, Dec. 6, noon to 4 p.m. It’s a great introduction to homebrewing. Sign up now, as the beginner classes fill up quickly. Cost is $45 per person and includes a bottling class Dec. 20 from 11 a.m. to noon. Call 252-5275 to on sign up and for more information.

Beer and bones: Finally, I wrote a column a couple of weeks ago about the correlation between beer consumption and healthy bones. Check it if you haven’t already.

Send your brews news to me (not to Rebecca) at


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