Carolina Beer Guy: AVL Beer Expo moves to Masonic Temple, Feb. 24

MEETING OF THE BREW MINDS: More than three dozen breweries and cider makers will be at the third AVL Beer Expo, including Whistle Hop Brewing of Fairview.
MEETING OF THE BREW MINDS: More than three dozen breweries and cider makers will be at the third AVL Beer Expo, including Whistle Hop Brewing of Fairview. Photo courtesy of Asheville Brewers Alliance

The AVL Beer Expo is more than just another brew festival. The third yearly event, organized by the nonprofit Asheville Brewers Alliance, is a showcase of local beer and cider with panel discussions on brewing-related topics. The 2018 expo will be held Saturday, Feb. 24, 2-7 p.m. at the Asheville Masonic Temple.

Along with the new location (the last two events were held at The Venue on North Market Street), the 2018 edition adds a VIP lounge with a rolling selection of small-batch and rare beers. “At different times, different beers will be opened,” says Kendra Penland, executive director of the ABA, which represents Western North Carolina craft breweries, cider makers and beer-related businesses.

The AVL Beer Expo serves as Asheville’s primary winter brew event this year after the long-running Winter Warmer festival opted to take a year off. Six hundred tickets will be available for the event, which will occupy most of the building. “The auditorium is where all the panel discussions will take place,” Penland says. “And there is a suite between the auditorium and the general admission area — that’s where the VIP area will be.”

Over 30 breweries are confirmed along with three area cideries: Urban Orchard Cider Co., Bold Rock Hard Cider and Noble Cider. The Mountain Ale and Lager Tasters homebrew club will also be there serving nonalcoholic beverages.

“We have five different flavor profiles for beer, so it won’t just be all IPAs or whatever style,” Penland says. “There’s a malt section, a roast section, a hops section, a tart-and-funky section and a crisp section.” Each brewery will pour one beer selection.

The panel discussions will focus on models for brewery growth, local ingredients, beer style trends and media trends in coverage.

General admission is $30, which includes five tokens for beverage samples. VIP tickets are $60 and come with 10 beer tokens. Tickets are available at avlbeerexpo.com. Pay parking is available at nearby garages and lots, including one next door to the venue. Visitors are encouraged to carpool, use Uber or Lyft or take a taxi.

Breweries confirmed for the event are:

  • Ginger’s Revenge
  • Bhramari Brewing Co.
  • Lazy Hiker Brewing Co. (Franklin)
  • Mountain Layers Brewing Co. (Bryson City)
  • Hillman Beer
  • BearWaters Brewing Co. (Canton)
  • Twin Leaf Brewing
  • Homeplace Beer Co. (Burnsville)
  • Mad Co. Brewing (Marshall)
  • UpCountry Brewing Co.
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Mills River)
  • Highland Brewing Co.
  • French Broad River Brewery
  • Peaks and Creeks Brewing Co. (Brevard)
  • Nantahala Brewing Co. (Bryson City)
  • Wedge Brewing Co.
  • Innovation Brewing Co. (Sylva)
  • White Labs, Sanctuary Brewing Co.
  • Archetype Brewing Co.
  • Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery (Chimney Rock)
  • Asheville Brewing Co.
  • Turgua Brewing Co. (Fairview)
  • Ben’s Beer
  • Habitat Brewing Co.
  • Lexington Avenue Brewery
  • Zillicoah Beer Co.
  • Catawba Brewing Co.
  • Hi-Wire Brewing
  • Green Man Brewery
  • Pisgah Brewing Co. (Black Mountain)
  • Whistle Hop Brewing Co. (Fairview)
  • Currahee Brewing Co. (Franklin)
  • Thirsty Monk Brewery
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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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