Asheville’s newest beer festival will soon make its debut, powered by a jolt of clean, green energy.
The inaugural Brew Horizons Beer Festival is set for Saturday, Feb. 23, at the U.S. Cellular Center exhibition level. It’s presented by the nonprofit Green Built Alliance, which also produces Asheville’s Ciderfest NC event.
Cari Barcas, community engagement director for the Green Built Alliance, says planning for the festival began last fall with proceeds intended to help fund the group’s Blue Horizons Project clean energy resource hub. “We were looking for a new fundraiser that would support the work of the Blue Horizons Project,” she says. A beer celebration made sense, she adds, given Asheville’s fame for craft brewing, and the GBA’s experience with Ciderfest also helped make Brew Horizons a reality.
About 20 Western North Carolina breweries and cideries will pour multiple beverages at the festival, which will also feature live music and food vendors. Asheville-based breweries compose roughly half of the current lineup, though regional operations rarely seen on the local front — including 7 Clans Brewing of Cherokee, Currahee Brewing Co. of Franklin and Mica Town Brewing Co. of Marion — will also be in attendance. Mead maker Wehrloom Honey of Robbinsville is also on board, as is Asheville ginger beer brewery Ginger’s Revenge, and Barcas expects a few more beverage makers to join the list prior to the event.
“This is a great community for breweries and cideries that are collaborative and passionate about the craft — and supporting causes like ours,” she says. “We exclusively invited Western North Carolina craft beverage makers to participate. And it’s raising money to support our region’s clean energy future. Those are the unique things [about the festival].”
Music for the event will be by local bands Gypsy Grass and Queen Bee and the Honeylovers.
Tickets are $40 (general admission, 2-6 p.m.) and $55 Very Important Tasters (admission at 1 p.m., includes festival pint glass). They can be purchased online or without a Ticketmaster service fee at the U.S. Cellular Center box office.
Barcas expects a turnout of 800-1,000 people. “It’s great to have a destination event like this for the winter,” she says.