Brews News

Beer City celebration redux: Some of Asheville's beer luminaries gathered at Barley's Pizza & Taproom last spring to celebrate Asheville's winning the Beer City, USA, title. Beer guru and Beer City, USA poll organizer Charlie Papazian is coming to visit in February. L to R: Tim Schaller of Wedge Brewing, Mike Rangel of Asheville Brewing, Bill Drew of Craggie Brewing, Paul Rollow of Highland Brewing and Jason Caughman of Pisgah Brewing. Photo by Anne Fitten Glenn

Charlie Papazian to visit Asheville

Even non-beer-geeks around here recognize the name Charlie Papazian — because he’s the guy who runs the Beer City, USA online poll, which Asheville tied with Portland, Ore., in 2009, and won in 2010. What you might not know, unless you’re a home brewer, is that Papazian is widely considered one of the founders and most tireless advocates of the modern homebrew movement. He’s also the author of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing and a number of other books on the subject. Papazian currently is president of the Brewers Association and beer columnist for examiner.com.

And he’s coming to visit Beer City, USA in February. He’ll be speaking at Highland Brewing Company on Wednesday, Feb. 23, on the topics of beer styles and his personal experiences with brewing-yeast. He’ll also present updates on governmental affairs and legislative developments in the beer industry. Two other speakers will precede Papazian’s presentation:  Kevin Sudderth of Hach, who will be talking about oxygen testing, and HopUnion, LLC, who will offer an update on the hops market.

The event is free to members of the North Carolina Brewers Guild, who are cosponsoring the beer-y night with the Asheville Brewers Alliance. Nonmembers will need to pay $25, but the ticket comes with a barbecue feast and two drink tickets for Highland brews.

Mike Rangel, president of the ABA, will introduce Papazian. “2010 was such a great year for local beer and the ABA,” says Rangel. “2011 couldn’t start any better than having Charlie here. On a scale of one to 10, this is a 10-and-a-half.”

Xpress will have an interview with Charlie Papazian in mid-February and regular updates about this awesome event. Tickets are available at charlieinasheville.eventbrite.com. Join or learn more about the N.C. Brewers Guild at ncbeer.org.

Locally made beer-related swag

Some smart folks in the region are complementing our excellent craft beers by making and selling beer-related swag. Here are a few items you might want to check out around town:
Craft-brewed Soap: Local entrepreneur Pauline Sweetman is making and selling handmade soaps infused with hops grown in the area. The soaps come in standard bars for $4, or beer-bottle shaps for $12. They’re made of pure glycerin, and currently available at Bruisin’ Ales beer store or by emailing craftbrewedsuds@gmail.com. You know you’ve always wanted to bathe with hops.
Beer passport book: Local cartoonist and beer lover Phil Juliano has created a little beer souvenir book called the “Best In Show Anytime, Anywhere Beer Passport.” It's a passport-sized book that you can easily carry around and use to collect beer and brewery memorabilia such as stickers, stamps and phone numbers. You also can take notes and list the beers you taste. The beer passports are being sold at French Broad Brewery for $3.
Leather pint-glass coozies: You may have seen Oowee Koozie’s leather pint glass holders at your favorite local brewery or beer shop. The hand-stitched coozies are made from recycled leather scraps. Then a laser-etched metal plate is added displaying the name of a brewery or business. The coozies are $15. Get a free pint glass of your choice when you buy one from Bruisin’ Ales. ooweekoozie.com.

Dry County Brewing Company opens

If you’re looking for hand-crafted beer and pizza out in Spruce Pine, you should check out new-ish craft brewery Dry County Brewing Company. Owners Chad Mohr and Jennifer Rambo opened the brewery in August out of The Pizza Shop restaurant. So far, their beers are only available at the restaurant. Rambo says they already have 13 beers on rotation, plus some seasonals. “Each brew seems to have its own fan club, but we have people begging for the Scotch Ale on a regular basis,” she says. I haven’t tried their beers yet, but the brewery name is already one of my favorites. They’re located at 615 Oak St., Spruce Pine. Also, you can check out their Facebook page at The Pizza Shop & Dry County Brewing Company.

Third Rail

Wedge Brewing Company will soon re-release their Third Rail Double IPA at their tasting room in the River Arts District. This one was a hophead favorite last year. wedgebrewing.com.

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