The Asheville Fermentation Association, which launched as a Facebook group in June, has planned its first community meetup event for Friday, Aug. 12, to coincide with a brief Asheville appearance by author and brewer Derek Dellinger.
Dellinger, who is brewmaster at Connecticut-based Kent Falls Brewing Co., is making a stop in Asheville to do a collaborative brew with the folks at Burial Beer Co. He also happens to be on tour promoting his recently released book about his yearlong experiment with eating nothing but fermented food — The Fermented Man: A Year on the Front Lines of a Food Revolution.
AFA organizer Hardie Duncan says a primary goal of the group is to create a free forum for Asheville fermentation enthusiasts and the fermentation-curious to share knowledge and resources and learn together. But bringing Dellinger into the mix for the club’s first event — and staging that get-together at Burial Beer Co. — speaks to another aim. “I’m hoping to promote some cross-pollination between the brewing industry folks and the folks who are into food fermentation to explore the literal culture culture a little.”
Duncan has been inspired and informed in his own fermentation adventures not only by the work of author and self-described “fermentation revivalist” Sandor Katz, but also by his personal experiences during eight years spent living in Russia. “Fermented foods are more integrated into the culture there, he says. “They are more a part of daily life, like kefir, kvass and other things.”
Referencing the issue of food waste and the traditional Russian practice of turning scraps of stale rye bread into the refreshing drink known as kvass, Duncan says, “It’s about using up something you’d get rid of and making something that, hopefully, tastes good and is good for you.”
“I hope [through the AFA],” he continues, “to create a community where people can exchange ideas, a free and easy place where people can experiment and get other people interested in fermentation. … It’s also a way for people to get in touch with some traditional ferments from other cultures and create local connections with people who have brought interesting ferments from their own cultures [to Asheville].”
Following the inaugural meeting on Aug. 12, Duncan plans to host regular get-togethers at various Asheville locations. In addition to providing a venue for networking among enthusiasts, these meetups will also include free educational talks and “cultural exchanges” where attendees can share materials required for fermenting, such as kefir grains, kombucha mothers, yeast starters and other items.
The Asheville Fermentation Club’s first meetup featuring Derek Dellinger takes place at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12, at Burial Beer Co., 40 Collier Ave. Dellinger will have copies of his book for sale and the author will be available for autographs. The event is open to all and admission is free. Details on the meetup are available at the event’s Facebook page. Like the Asheville Fermentation Club’s Facebook page for updates on future events.