Not to be outdone by New York City, Asheville is about to introduce its own Beer City version of the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop. The ever-innovative folks at Thirsty Monk will ring in 2014 by dropping a decorated and illuminated beer keg down a 20-foot cast-iron pole at the stroke of midnight at the brewery’s newest location in Biltmore Park.
Chall Gray, Thirsty Monk vice president, says he and owner Barry Bialik were specifically looking for something a little different for their Biltmore Park celebration. “We were kicking some ideas around about what would be cool to do and we said, ‘What would be more apropos than a keg drop?’” Gray says.
The keg will be wrapped in Christmas lights and is rigged with a pulley system and electric winch that will lower it slowly for the traditional New Year’s countdown. Gray says people should be able to see it from the traffic circle in Biltmore Park Town Square.
The keg descending the pole will be empty, but there will be a full keg of Highland Brewing Company’s sought-after Cold Mountain Winter Ale – possibly the last one in the area, according to Gray – ready to be tapped at midnight.
Thirsty Monk South at Biltmore Park is also offering a stick-to-your-ribs New Year’s Eve brunch menu at midnight with choices that include a breakfast sandwich made with Foothills Brewing Seeing Double IPA angel biscuits, maple black pepper bacon and a white-cheddar and tomato omelet; chicken and waffles; sweet waffles; potato cakes with cabbage, poached eggs and bacon; and a Ploughman’s Platter.
The brewery also plans to host celebrations at its other locations: Thirsty Monk at Gerber Village will welcome the new year with the release of a single keg of Thirsty Monk Aged Imperial Amber. (According to a press release from Thirsty Monk, the beer has “hints of vanilla and butterscotch and subtle warmth which doesn’t betray its 8.8 percent ABV.”) Top of the Monk, at the downtown flagship location, will feature a 1920s Parisian soiree with Belle Epoque décor and cocktails. Guests are encouraged to come in 1920s attire.
Thirsty Monk Biltmore Park: 2 Town Square Blvd, Suite 170, 687-3873
Thirsty Monk Gerber Village: 20 Gala Drive, 505-4564
Thirsty Monk Downtown: 92 Patton Ave., 254-5470