Beer Scout: Cold Mountain and more

PARTY ON: Highland Brewing Co. will celebrate this year's release of its bellwether holiday seasonal, Cold Mountain Ale, with four days of events. Photo of last year's Cold Mountain release party courtesy of Highland Brewing Co.

You never know when winter will hit in Asheville. This year, with early November snow, it seems the upcoming release of Cold Mountain from Highland Brewery is right on time.

Community liaison Drew Stevenson says there’s even more to look forward to this year as the company plans to expand the release celebration at the brewery to four days.

The official release event starts with a party 4-9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, which will be the first chance to buy Cold Mountain in bottles. However, Highland has invited a few local radio stations to visit on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 14-15, with giveaways, more live music, food trucks and, of course, fresh Cold Mountain for sale.

On Friday and Saturday, Cold Mountain bottle sales will start at 2 p.m., but no matter which day you head to the brewery, bottle sales will be limited. On-site purchases will be restricted to one of each package — the liter, the 22-ounce bottle or a 12-pack of 12-ounce bottles — according to Stevenson. “We want more people to enjoy [Cold Mountain] and take it home, so we reduced the maximum amounts you can purchase,” says Stevenson.

He says the brewery has more bottles to sell and more kegs to tap than in years past as well. It’s clear Highland is trying its best to make sure anyone that wants a bottle of Cold Mountain this year is able to get one.

For superfans of Cold Mountain, Highland will wrap things up with a Cold Mountain Brunch on Sunday, Nov. 16, where each guest gets a signature 1-liter blue bottle along with their multi-course meal. (To buy one of the remaining $50 tickets, visit

Pisgah to Rerelease GABF Winning Chocolatized

Last month, a few Asheville breweries brought home medals from this year’s Great American Beer Festival. Pisgah Brewing in Black Mountain not only won its first medal, it also brought home a gold for Chocolatized Vortex II.

Pisgah now has plans in place to rerelease its medal-winning beer, which has been renamed simply Chocolatized. According to events and public relations director Benton Wharton, Pisgah has brewed about 40 cases, and the company is setting up a pre-order with its ticketing partner, TicketBiscuit, for presales of the bottle at $12 each. The presale will begin on Friday, Nov. 14, at 10 a.m. Wharton says to note that the purchaser’s credit card must match the ID of the person picking up the bottle.

The release party will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, at Pisgah’s taproom. According to Wharton, the event will feature a chocolate pairing from French Broad Chocolate Lounge, which supplies the nibs used to age the base beer for Chocolatized.

If you make the drive out, look for some of the first cans of Valdez Imperial Stout as well. The brewery plans to package it and release it on Tuesday, Nov. 25.

Wicked Weed and New Belgium Release Tributary

Also on Nov. 15, New Belgium and Wicked Weed will debut Tributary, an imperial brett saison.

The beer is designed to pay homage to North Carolina, Colorado and clean water, according to the breweries. To do this, Tributary includes malt from both Riverbend Malt House in Asheville and Colorado Malting, and it’s fermented with both Wicked Weed’s house saison yeast and New Belgium’s strain of brettanomyces, a wild yeast. However, there’s another crossover ingredient not often discussed on beer labels: water.

“We wanted to create an ale that truly represents both locations,” says Luke Dickinson, head brewer at Wicked Weed. To that end, a few barrels of water were transported from Colorado to Asheville. In the brewers’ minds, this is what led to the name for the collaboration beer as well — two smaller tributaries came together to make a larger river.

Since the beer has such a strong water theme, it makes sense that a portion of proceeds from the bottle sales will benefit the Western North Carolina Alliance’s French Broad Riverkeeper program. While the beer will be released at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, at Wicked Weed’s new Funkatorium (147 Coxe Ave), the WNC Alliance is organizing a service event to take place before the release. Those who want to volunteer can meet at the Funkatorium starting at 11 a.m. to help stencil storm drains in the South Slope area.

King Winterbolt Returns

Highland’s Cold Mountain may be the area’s signature winter seasonal, but Catawba’s cold-weather beer, King Winterbolt, has plenty of fans as well. Catawba head brewer Kevin Sondey brews Winterbolt with English crystal and black malts for a rich, dark base. However, he hops the beer with Cascade, East Kent Golding and Sorachi Ace for an unusual and complex hop aroma. Look for it at the Catawba tasting room and on draft or in cans around town. 

About Thom O'Hearn
Thom O’Hearn is a writer, book editor and homebrewer. Twitter: @thomohearn

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2 thoughts on “Beer Scout: Cold Mountain and more

  1. Pisgah Brewing Company

    One note…Pisgah will be releasing Valdez Coffee Stout in cans on Tuesday November 25th (not the 15th). Look for them at the brewery, independent retailers as well as both EarthFares, Greenlife, and Wholefoods. Cheers!

    • Gina Smith

      Thanks for the heads up about the date of the release! I’ve made that change in the story.

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