Brews News: celebrating Beer City, American Craft Beer and home brew winners

Asheville for the hat trick

For the third year in a row, our city has won the title of Beer City USA (although year one consisted of a tie for first with Portland, Ore.). The victory comes after a week-long online voting period in the unscientific but fun poll administered by beer guru Charlie Papazian. There will be a second Beer City Festival, held on June 4 at Roger McGuire Green downtown, to celebrate Asheville’s beer industry and to drink some fine craft brews. A few hundred tickets are still for sale at Barley’s Taproom and local breweries for $40. Go raise a glass of local brew. Cheers! And for more on Ashevillwe’s victory, see “Asheville retains title, dominates third Beer City USA poll”

American Craft Beer week approaches

Need another excuse to drink U.S. craft brews? If you do, you’re in luck because American Craft Beer Week takes place May 16-22. Organized by the Brewers Association/, the week gives us all a chance to toast the growing community of craft beer lovers with events, beer tastings, and more.

In Asheville, there are a number of beer specials and events taking place. Here are a few:

Mon., May 16: Five-course beer dinner pairing Craggie Brewing’s beers and Café Azalea’s foodstuffs (1011 E. Tunnel Rd.). Herkulean IPA with smoked chicken ravioli and beer cheese sauce is just one of the courses. Cost $40 per person (plus tax and gratuity). Dinner starts at 6 p.m. For reservations, call 299-3753.

The Thirsty Monk will offer special events pretty much every night of American Craft Beer Week, but the Monday night tapping of kegs of Stone Vertical Epic (10-10-10) and New Belgian Lips of Faith Metric (10-10-10) will draw in the beer geeks. For other events at the Monk, visit

Wed., May 18: French Broad Brewery will tap a cask of dry-hopped 13 Rebels at Barley’s Taproom, 5 pm.

Friday, May 20: Thirsty Monk Canned Craft Beer Friday with specials on canned beers and swag giveaways.

Sat., May 21: Bruisin’ Ales will be pouring samples of beers from their private cellar—beers otherwise not available in North Carolina from 6 to 8 p.m. Cost is $5 per person while supplies last.

Sunday, May 22: Beer dinner pairing Wedge Brewing beers and The Admiral’s eclectic dishes. Details to be announced.

Southern Appalachian brewery and tasting room open

Hendersonville finally has it’s own brewery and tasting room. Because of city laws, Southern Appalachian Brewery must operate as a private club. If you’d like to go imbibe some of the Brewery’s delicious craft brews, you can do so by filling out a membership application at the brewery (822 Locust St.) or download it from their Facebook page. The new tasting room will be open to the public Wednesdays through Fridays starting at 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. For more information, visit

Just Brew It home brew winners

Just Economics’ second home brew festival and competition attracted more than 65 home brews from 50 home brewers to Roger McGuire Green on Sunday, May 1. A number of awards were handed out, including the Brewgasm Award (given by me) to Thom O’Hearn of Asheville. I chose his Tropical Wheat Ale, an American Wheat, because of its unusual flavor—light, fruity, but with a bit of hops bite on the end. O’Hearn says he didn’t use any fruit to produce the brew’s fruity aroma and taste, just lots of Citra hops (he used a mix of Citra and Sorachi Ace hops for brewing). O’Hearn and his assistant, Heather Kinlaw, also received an honorable mention from the Celebrity Judges for this brew.

Just Brew It is local non-profit Just Economics’ annual membership drive, and according to organizer Mark Hebbard, the organization gained an additional 500 members that day, more than doubling their membership. Attendance at the brew-off was between 700 and 750 members.

Other home brew winners are: The Tony Kiss Award to Adam and Missy Reinke for their Princess Peach Belgian Wit; The Hops & Vines Award to Will Reed for his Sparkling Apple Cider; The Celebrity Judge Award to the Reinkes for their Hop Salad American IPA and honorable mentions to O’Hearn and to Rebeka French for her Downtown Chili Brown; the People’s Choice Award to Daniel Wright and Chris Carson for their Obtuse Orange Amber; Best Presentation Award to Heidi Dunkleberg for her Beaverdam Flattail Wheat; and Best Name Award to James Stamey and Phyllis Overcash for their Ying Yang Twang, an American Hefeweizen with lemon grass.

Six local breweries also chose a beer that they will brew (don’t hold your breath, though, it may not be for several months, depending on the brewery). Those winners are: Altamont Brewing Award to Bernie Kessel for his Belgian Ale; Craggie Brewing Award to Chad Noteboom for Liquid Sunshine DNA, a coconut brown; Green Man Brewery Award to Brent Manning for his American Pale Ale; Highland Brewing Award to Melissa Atallah for her Hop on it, Honey, a honey IPA; Thirsty Monk Brewery Award to John Kledis for Jesus, The Reason for the Saison, a saison; and Wedge Brewing Award to Dave Keller for his Alt-bier. 

Congrats to all the amazing home brewers who entered the competition!



Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “Brews News: celebrating Beer City, American Craft Beer and home brew winners

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.