Brews News: LAB Expansion, Hash House Harriers, Home Brew Fest, Beer Masters

Lexington Avenue Brewery to expand

The massive 35,000-square-foot building adjacent to the Lexington Avenue Brewery in downtown Asheville is getting a major overhaul, with a new taproom, restaurant, beer production facility, condos and stores likely to open by the end of the year, reports LAB co-owner Mike Healy.

The new taproom at 37 N. Lexington Ave. — tentatively called the “LAB Annex” — will feature the same beers as its mother brewery, as well as some as-yet-unknown additional offerings made possible by the new production space, Healy says. Healy and his business partner, Steve Wilmans, are also hoping to launch a canning line.

“The craft brewing industry right now is sort of exploding. And craft cans are exploding. Asheville Brewing is canning. And we’re diving in headfirst,” says Healy. “We won 11 awards last year for our beers. We’re constantly trying to make improvements. … People seem to like it, so we’re rolling with it.”

The 4,000-square-foot tasting room and restaurant will have a communal vibe, with Healy planning to build long cherry-topped, Oktoberfest-style tables that groups of patrons can share. It will have a separate entrance, but a kindred feel to that of its larger neighbor, with a similar awning and semi-outdoor area, he says. The idea for the food is to have a small menu of quick and tasty items that go well with beer, he adds.

“The latest plan is to run the kitchen down all the way to the front wall so that people can walk right up during their lunch break and snag a taco or bratwurst, something simple but really delicious, and keep going — like a really quick, easy downtown lunch,” he explains.

The demolition and construction process is already in progress, and Healy is hoping the new room will open for business by the end of the year.

“I never thought I’d be doing this, but we’re just going for it. The opportunity presented itself, and we are choosing to go that direction,” he notes. “We’re excited about it. It’s quite a challenge.”

Hash House Harriers raise cash for American Heart Association
More than 80 drinkers with a running problem showed up at Asheville Brewing Company on Saturday, February 11, to raise money for the American Heart Association. The group’s annual Red Dress Run raised $430 for heart health.

The Asheville Hash House Harriers organized in 2008, although there are H3 groups all over the world. The non-competitive drinking, running and social clubs got their start back in the late 1930s when bored British Colonial Officers were looking for fun while stationed in Malaysia. The Asheville “kennel” has a particular fondness for local craft beer, and this year’s Red Dress Run included stops at several downtown breweries and brewpubs. One “hound” calls H3: “A chance to get exercise and drink beer with a fun group of decadent adults.” To learn more about Asheville Hash House Harriers, check the group’s Facebook and Meetup pages.

Asheville Beer Masters Tourney
Steve Howard of Asheville won the first qualifying round of the 2012 Asheville Beer Masters Tourney. Howard won in the blind beer tasting round at Barley’s Taproom after pulling out only a two-point lead in the trivia rounds. The next qualifying round will take place at Pack’s Tavern on February 29 at 6:30 p.m. Along with lifelong glory, the overall tournament winner will receive two tickets to both Brewgrass and Beer City Fest, plus lots of sudsy swag. For more information check out Asheville Beer Masters on Facebook or email

Homebrew Fest returns for Asheville Beer Week
The third “Just Brew It” Homebrew Festival will be returning to Wedge Brewing (the locale of the first Fest) on Saturday, May 26, the first weekend of Asheville Beer Week. The first 50 home brewers to get in touch with Mark Hebbard at get a spot at the festival and a chance to have a beer brewed by a local brewery. This Festival offers locals a chance to taste of the best home brews in the U.S., in my opinion.



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