AVL Beer Week 2018: Events highlight a range of craft beverages

LET'S TALK ABOUT IT: Oak & Grist Distilling Co. of Black Mountain joins the AVL Beer Week celebration with an invitation for visitors to learn more about the production of whiskey and gin. Pictured is the company's president and head distiller, William Goldberg.
LET'S TALK ABOUT IT: Oak & Grist Distilling Co. of Black Mountain joins the AVL Beer Week celebration with an invitation for visitors to learn more about the production of whiskey and gin. Pictured is the company's president and head distiller, William Goldberg. Photo courtesy of Oak & Grist

Although the North Carolina Craft Beverage Museum is still in its development stages, it will have a presence at this year’s AVL Beer Week. Organizers will highlight the effort at the Beer City Festival downtown on Roger McGuire Green on Saturday, June 2, says Asheville Brewers Alliance Executive Director Kendra Penland.

But the museum will be about more than just beer — it will showcase the gamut of Tar Heel-made craft beverages, including ciders, wines, spirits and soft drinks. A website and social media sites have already been launched, says the museum’s executive director, Kimberly Floyd, and the next step is to raise money for a traveling exhibit. “We hope to open our permanent location in 2021,” she says. “We took in our first set of artifacts from Jimi Rentz at Barley’s.”

And like the museum concept, the 2018 Asheville Beer Week encompasses more than just area breweries. This year, two local distilleries, one cidery and a couple of cocktail bars will also join the festivities with drink specials and activities.

Asheville’s H&H Distillery will team up with Post 70 cocktail and tapas bar to serve shandies made with a locally made lemonade and H&H Highway 9 Gin, says distillery co-owner Leah Howard. H&H, which has been open since 2015 in East Asheville producing both gin and Hazel 63 rum, sees AVL Beer Week as a good way for local distilleries to connect with a broader audience.

“The beer industry here has paved the way [for craft distilling], and we have learned a lot from that,” she says. “This is a good way to reach out to people who may not have heard of us.”

Bold Rock Hard Cider in Mills River has long been a player on the craft beer scene: Bold Rock’s products can often be found in beer tasting rooms, and the cidery has offered local beers in its own taproom. “We don’t make beer, but we love and support craft breweries,” says taproom manager Dylan McLean.

To celebrate Beer Week, Bold Rock will serve snakebites, which will include area beers mixed with Bold Rock ciders. Available blends will include Asheville Brewing Co.’s Ninja Porter with Bold Rock’s Carolina Draft and Green Man Brewery’s ESB with Orchard Frost cider. Bold Rock will also offer cider specials throughout Beer Week, McLean says.

Other interesting beer mixes can be found at Sovereign Remedies. The downtown craft cocktail bar will offer a variety of boilermaker specials 2 p.m.-2 a.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-2 a.m. weekends throughout AVL Beer Week. The specials begin Friday, May 25, with a choice of Allagash Belgian White, Ommegang Three Philosophers Quad or Mother Earth Weeping Willow Wit accompanied by a shot of Old Forester Bourbon. Other highlights from the lineup include a Mikkeller beer with Elijah Craig bourbon on Saturday, May 26; a Burial Beer with a yet-to-be-announced tequila on Sunday, May 27; and a Highland Brewing Co. beer with Jim Beam bourbon or rye Thursday, May 31.

Oak & Grist Distilling Co. plans to bring an educational element to AVL Beer Week with the intention of shining a light on the connections between craft brewing and spirits-making. The Black Mountain distillery will offer discussions about its production process, which begins with malted barley from Asheville’s Riverbend Malt House, 2-3:30 p.m. Friday, May 25, and 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 26.

Oak & Grist brews a single-malt beer that later becomes its whiskey and gin, explains owner William Goldberg. Visitors will be able to taste that beer during the discussions, and the gin will be available for purchase. “I think this will be an eye-opener for people,” he says. “I don’t think a lot of people realize a lot of the same science that goes into the manufacture of beer also goes into making spirits.”

For more on the North Carolina Craft Beverage Museum, visit ncbevmuseum.com. For more details on featured drink specials and activities, visit avlbeerweek.com.

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About Tony Kiss
Tony Kiss covers brewing news for the Xpress. He has been reporting on the Carolina beer scene since 1994. He's also covered distilling and cider making and spent 30 years reporting on area entertainment. Follow me @BeerguyTK

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