Small Bites: News from the WNC food and beer scene

Whee! Highland brews ride the conveyer belt. Highland is having a busy month, what with Beer Week and the Asheville Chamber of Commerce’s Bites and Sips event. Photo by Max Cooper

More breweries?

In even more big brews news, WNC is getting another big name craft-beer maker to add to the fast-growing list. Oskar Blues Brewery of Longmont, Colo., makers of Dale’s Pale Ale and Little Yella Pils, will open a location in downtown Brevard. Oskar Blues started as a small restaurant/brewpub in 1997 in Lyons, Colo. near Boulder and is well-known for being one of the first craft breweries to can its brew.

The brewery's production facility will be located in a warehouse on Railroad Avenue in Brevard. Oskar Blues is also looking at spots in downtown Brevard for a restaurant and music venue, according to John Felty, owner of Looking Glass Entertainment and Mountain Song Productions. Oskar Blues has long been a sponsor of Mountain Song Festival, a bluegrass music festival held annually in Brevard in September.

The new venue should be up and running by December.
—Anne Fitten Glenn contributed to this report

Asheville Chamber of Commerce debuts Bites and Sips

On Thursday, May 17, from 6 until 9 p.m., the Asheville Chamber of Commerce will feature 40 restaurants as well as breweries in its first Bites and Sips Event, to be held at the Wilma M. Sherrill Center at the UNCA campus.

Said "bites" include tastes from unique and diverse Asheville eateries, including Gypsy Queen Cuisine, Sunny Point, The Junction, Plant, Vincenzo's and others. On the "sips" side of things, expect Highland Brewing Company, New Belgium, Asheville Brewing Company and more.

The Chamber has hosted an annual culinary event for years, but is making a move toward a more casual and affordable experience this year, says Erin Leonard, director of communications. "This time, rather than having a sit-down event, we wanted something a little more uniquely Asheville — something that would appeal to a wider base," says Leonard. "Our mission is building community through business, so we wanted to really let people come, get a taste of Asheville restaurants and facilitate that mingling with one another throughout the evening."

Tickets are $50 and include food, alcohol and music from various local buskers. They can be purchased at Proceeds go to the Asheville Chamber to support its work of "fostering the success of the business community, creating environments for business and growing jobs … as well as fostering our members’ success," says Leonard.

Asheville Beer Week is almost here

Asheville Beer Week will take place Thursday, May 24 through Sunday, June 3 (yes, we know that’s 11 days … when the beer’s that good, the time flies). The beer celebration will crawl through myriad local restaurants, breweries and brew-loving hot spots, culminating on Saturday, June 2, with Asheville’s third Beer City Festival (though don't forget about the LaZoom beer tour the very next day). More than 40 breweries are slated to appear at the festival.

Beer Week will include seminars such as a speaking engagement featuring Greg Engert, a beer sommelier and writer for Tastings will take place at various venues around town, including the Thirsty Monk, recently featured in Garden & Gun magazine. There's even a rootball championship at the Root Bar in Swannanoa. And on the culinary side of things, various dinners will take place across town, including a beer-centric feast at Cúrate.

Ready to plan your brew-centric celebration? Xpress has the schedule posted here:

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