Beer today, gone tomorrow: Asheville beer happenings Jan. 3-9

THIRST FOR KNOWLEDGE: This week, Brew-ed owner Cliff Mori teaches a class on sours at Hi-Wire Brewing Co.'s Big Top and an off-flavors training at Highland Brewing Co. Photo by Cindy Kunst

Beer Today, Gone Tomorrow is the one-stop home for Asheville-area beer news. Check back throughout the week for updates and send your own to

Bottle/can releases

  • On Wednesday, Jan. 4, from 4:30-8 p.m. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. will hold its largest product launch since the advent of Torpedo Extra IPA. Two new beers, Sidecar Orange Pale Ale and Tropical Torpedo, will be released at the Mills River brewery with a special party to celebrate the launch. Sidecar is a variation on the brewery’s classic flagship pale ale with a revamped hop profile and the addition of orange peel. Tropical Torpedo is a new twist on its popular double IPA with a hop profile that showcases passionfruit and orange blossom aromas.
  • On Friday, Jan. 6, Burial Beer Co. will release Billows Hoppy Kolsch on draft and in 12-ounce cans at the taproom. A sessional 4.9 percent ABV kolsch, Billows is brewed with pilsner and flaked wheat, fermented with kolsch ale yeast and dry-hopped with Mandarina Bavaria and Centennial. Billows kolsch glasses will be for sale the day of the release, and six packs will be available for $10 each.

Small-batch beers

  • Burial Beer Co. will release three new beers this week. On Wednesday, Jan. 4, Ammunition Horchata Dark Ale will be tapped, followed on Thursday, Jan. 5, by the return of The Rosary Export Stout and the release of Billows on Friday, Jan. 6. Ammunition, a 4.5 percent ABV dark ale inspired by the grain-based beverage of Mexico, is brewed with Maris Otter malt, toasted rice, flaked oats and chocolate and honey malts then finished with lactose, Ceylon cinnamon and Madagascar vanilla beans. The Rosary is a traditional 7.5 percent ABV Belgian-style stout brewed with black and brown malts.
  • Catawba Brewing Co. will host a release party for a new Chocolate Saison on Thursday, Jan. 5, at its South Slope tasting room from 4-10 p.m. Chocolate Saison was brewed in collaboration with Guardian Ad Litem, a Buncombe County organization that equips community volunteers to serve abused and neglected children in court. For each pint of Chocolate Saison sold, $1 will be donated to GAL.
  • **NEW** On Friday, Jan. 6 at 5 p.m. Asheville Brewing Co. will release the first of its small-batch Luchador series of beers, Santos El Magnifico Mole Stout. Brewed with roasted barley and Asheville Brewing’s in-house Mole sauce, which contains several different varieties of French Broad Chocolate Lounge cacao nibs, toasted cinnamon, a specially-made chili pepper blend, and additional special spices including a light touch of Carolina Reaper, the world’s hottest pepper, and ancho chillies. This 6 percent ABV stout will be available on draft only at the brewery’s taprooms, as well as in take-out 64 and 32-ounce growlers from AVL Tacos & Taps, at 705 Merrimon Avenue, adjacent to Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co.
  • **NEW** Bhramari Brewhouse is currently pouring its small batch Rise of the Spruce Imperial IPA brewed with locally foraged spruce and Haw Creek Honey. This weekend it will release Beaucatcher Nut Brown Ale, and on Monday Jan. 9 the brewery will tap Ride the Tiger Persimmon Braggot, brewed with Haw Creek wildflower honey.

Special events

  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. will host the first in a month-long series of Bigfoot Barleywine Ale vertical tastings on Friday, Jan. 6, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Mills River Brewery. This guided tasting will focus on the history of the barleywine beer style and includes a vertical tasting of Bigfoot vintages that have been aging in the brewery’s temperature-controlled cellar for up to eight years, including the newly released 2017 batch and a special barrel-aged version. Tickets are $30 each and can be purchased here.
  • Hi-Wire Brewing, in collaboration with Brew-ed owner Cliff Mori, will host the January installment of Hi-Wire’s monthly beer education courses on Monday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m. at Hi-Wire’s Biltmore Village Big Top production facility and tasting room. This month’s class will focus on sour beers, including an overview of the history, brewing process, organisms at work and modern resurgence of the style. The class is free and open to the public. Mori will also teach a beer off-flavors training course in association with the Cicerone Certification Program on Tuesday, Jan. 10, from 1:30-3 p.m. at Highland Brewing Co. Six different common off flavors will be tasted, including LightStruck, DMS, Diacetyl, Trans-2-Nonenal, Infection and Acetaldehyde. Tickets, which are likely to sell out in advance and will not be available at the door, cost $49 each and are available through the Cicerone website.

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About Scott Douglas and Edwin Arnaudin

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