Carolina Beer Guy: Burnsville hosts town’s first brew fest

PIONEER DAYS: The No Place Like Homeplace Beer Fest on Sept. 29 in Burnsville looks to promote the town and its first brewery, Homeplace Beer Co. Art by Chad Fox

Burnsville, a town that’s still somewhat new to having its own craft beer, has thrown out the welcome mat for its first brew festival.

The No Place Like Homeplace Beer Fest, which will be held downtown on Saturday, Sept. 29, 5-9 p.m., quickly sold out the 500 tickets initially offered for the event. There may be a few more available at the gate, says festival producer John Silver, who also owns Burnsville’s Homeplace Beer Co. In the meantime, interested parties should email info@homeplacebeer.com to be added to the waiting list.

The festival joins a growing number of local fall beer events as more mountain communities embrace brewing as an economic booster and a draw for tourists. Originally, however, Silver wasn’t sure that the event could happen.

“We sort of kicked around the idea with town leadership,” he says. “We’re in a very conservative area, for the most part. But since we opened [the brewery] last year, we’ve shown that we run a very respectable establishment.”

At first, Silver thought he would hold the festival at the historic Nu Ray Inn in Burnsville, but the size of that area would have limited attendance to about 200. “Then the town offered to let us set up on South Main Street,” he says, noting that the event will be staged both on the street and at the inn. “It’s the first time that anything remotely like this has happened in Burnsville.”

Silver invited just 15 breweries to participate because he initially thought that would be all he could accommodate in the courtyard at the Nu Ray. “We wanted to have a lot of our friends who helped us in our first year in business,” he says. “And we wanted to include a lot of up-and-coming breweries that haven’t done many festivals that could benefit from the exposure.”

Taking part with Homeplace are Fonta Flora Brewery, Catawba Brewing Co., Hi-Wire Brewing, Archetype Brewing Co., Ginger’s Revenge, Habitat Brewing Co., Hillman Beer, One World Brewing Co., Blue Ghost Brewing Co., Eluvium Brewing Co., Mad Co. Brew House, Mica Town Brewing Co., Turgua Brewing Co. and Zillicoah Beer Co. Each brewery was asked to bring three beers.

The $25 admission includes a glass, six beer tokens — additional ones can be purchased for $3 each — and music by Momma Molasses, Nick Gonnering and the Christy Lynn Band. The Homeplace Beer taproom will be closed during the festival, but will reopen at 9 p.m.

Burnsville will be unusually busy on Sept. 29, with the Old Timey Fall Festival happening 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on South Main Street as well. “There will be a quick changeover,” Silver says.

Beyond the celebration, Silver wants to promote both Burnsville and the Homeplace Beer brand. Part of the festival proceeds will go the Toe River Arts Council, and given the strong response for the festival, he hopes to make it an annual celebration.

For late ticket availability, watch the Homeplace Facebook page.

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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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