Brews News

Liv Ehrhardt of Hendersonville won the qualifying round of The Asheville Beer Masters Tournament at The Thirsty Monk downtown. She'll be joined in the semi-finals by Adam Reinke, Curt Arledge, Trevor Reis, Travis Hartley, Mark Vanderhoff, and her husband, Jeff Ehrhardt. This is Ehrhardt and her family just after her win. Photo by Anne Fitten Glenn

Asheville for the hat trick

The votes have been tallied, and guess who won? For the third year in a row, Asheville voters propelled us to victory as Beer City, USA (although year one consisted of a tie for first with Portland, Ore.). The victory comes after a week long online voting period in a the unscientific but fun poll administered by beer guru Charlie Papazian. There will be a second Beer City Festival, held on June 4 at Roger McGuire Green downtown, to celebrate Asheville's beer industry and to drink some fine craft brews. A few hundred tickets are still for sale at Barley's Taproom and local breweries for $40.

American Craft Beer week approaches

Need another excuse to drink U.S. craft brews? If you do, you’re in luck — American Craft Beer Week takes place Monday, May 16, through Sunday, May 22. Organized by the Brewers Association, the week gives us all a chance to toast the growing community of craft beer lovers with events, beer tastings and more.

In Asheville, there are a number of beer specials and events. Here are a few:
Monday, May 16: Five-course beer dinner pairing Craggie Brewing’s beers and Café Azalea’s food (1011 E. Tunnel Road). Herkulean IPA with smoked chicken ravioli and beer cheese sauce is just one of the courses. Cost is $40 per person (plus tax and gratuity). Dinner starts at 6 p.m. For reservations, call 299-3753.
Wed., May 18: French Broad Brewery will tap a cask of dry-hopped 13 Rebels at Barley's Taproom, 5 p.m.

The Thirsty Monk
will offer special events pretty much every night of American Craft Beer Week, but the Monday night tapping of kegs of Stone Vertical Epic (10-10-10) and New Belgian Lips of Faith Metric (10-10-10) will draw in the beer geeks. For other events at the Monk, visit
Friday, May 20: Thirsty Monk Canned Craft Beer Friday with specials on canned beers and swag giveaways.
Saturday, May 21: Bruisin' Ales will pour samples of beers from their private cellar (beers otherwise not available in North Carolina) from 6 to 8 p.m. Cost is $5 per person, while supplies last.
Sunday, May 22: Beer dinner pairing Wedge Brewing beers and The Admiral's eclectic dishes. Details to be announced.

Just Brew It homebrew winners

Just Economics’ second home brew festival and competition attracted more than 65 home brews from 50 home brewers to Roger McGuire Green on Sunday, May 1. A number of awards were handed out, including the Brewgasm Award (given by me) to Thom O’Hearn of Asheville. I chose his Tropical Wheat Ale, an American Wheat, because of its unusual flavor — light, fruity, but with a bit of hops bite on the end.

O’Hearn says he didn’t use any fruit to produce the brew’s fruity aroma and taste, just lots of Citra hops (he used a mix of Citra and Sorachi Ace hops for brewing). O’Hearn and his assistant, Heather Kinlaw, also received an honorable mention from the Celebrity Judges for this brew.

Just Brew It is local nonprofit Just Economics’ annual membership drive, and according to organizer Mark Hebbard, the organization gained an additional 500 members that day, more than doubling their membership. Attendance at the brew-off was between 700 and 750 members.

Other homebrew winners are:

The Tony Kiss Award to Adam and Missy Reinke for their Princess Peach Belgian Wit;

The Hops & Vines Award to Will Reed for his Sparkling Apple Cider;

The Celebrity Judge Award to the Reinkes for their Hop Salad American IPA and honorable mentions to O’Hearn and to Rebeka French for her Downtown Chili Brown;

The People’s Choice Award to Daniel Wright and Chris Carson for their Obtuse Orange Amber;

Best Presentation Award to Heidi Dunkleberg for her Beaverdam Flattail Wheat; and

Best Name Award to James Stamey and Phyllis Overcash for their Ying Yang Twang, an American Hefeweizen with lemongrass.

Six local breweries also chose a beer that they will brew (don’t hold your breath, though, it may not be for several months, depending on the brewery). Those winners are: Altamont Brewing Award to Bernie Kessel for his Belgian Ale; Craggie Brewing Award to Chad Noteboom for Liquid Sunshine DNA, a coconut brown; Green Man Brewery Award to Brent Manning for his American Pale Ale; Highland Brewing Award to Melissa Atallah for her Hop On It, Honey, a honey IPA; Thirsty Monk Brewery Award to John Kledis for Jesus, The Reason for the Saison, a saison; and Wedge Brewing Award to Dave Keller for his alt-bier. 

Congrats to all the amazing home brewers who entered the competition!

Southern Appalachian Brewery and tasting room open

Hendersonville finally has its own brewery and tasting room. Because of city laws, Southern Appalachian Brewery must operate as a private club. If you’d like to go imbibe some of the Brewery’s delicious craft brews, you can do so by filling out a membership application at the brewery (822 Locust St.) or download it from their Facebook page. The new tasting room will (most likely) be open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays starting at 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit

— Send your brews news to Anne Fitten Glenn at


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