Suds and fests

Suit’s on: French Broad Fall Fest will not only showcase folks in river-wet bathing suits, but also a (mostly craft) beer tasting tent. Photo by Anne Fitten Glenn

Brewgrass cometh

It’s time again for the Southeast’s biggest and best beer fest, Brewgrass. The celebration of brews and bluegrass will be held on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, from noon until 7 p.m.

Organizers had planned to hold a number of tickets to sell to locals from Barley’s Taproom. Unfortunately, all 3,500 that were available sold out online in a matter of hours — despite multiple server crashes from the onslaught of craft-beer lovers (if they aren’t golden tickets, they should be).

If you did score a place in the beer lines, here’s the deal: More than 45 breweries from all over the country will be represented, including Dogfish Head, Weeping Radish, Bison and Lagunitas, just to name a few nationally known crafters.
There will be five brewgrass-y bands (Sanctum Sully, Bloodroots Barter, Jett’s Creek, Cumberland River Band and Mountain Heart), some local food and lots and lots of Porta-Johns.

My advice is to keep your ears open for tappings of special casks and off-the-wall brews. It will happen, and that beer will disappear quickly. Also, have fun talking to brewers — many of them come to the festival, so it’s a unique chance to get some insights into the biz. Oh, and try to avoid sliding into home plate or vomiting in public (both occur pretty much every year). For more information, see http://www.brewgrassfestival.com.

French Broad River (Fall) Fest adds a beer tent

Wait, it’s September. Isn’t French Broad River Fest held in the spring time? Why yes, it is. But organizers decided to add a fall festival this year.  They’ve also added a beer-tent tasting.

The first French Broad Fall Fest will be held at Hot Springs on Saturday, Sept. 24. Currently, there are eight breweries participating — seven craft breweries and one Anheuser-Busch knock-off (Shock Top). North Carolina breweries include Highland Brewing, French Broad Brewery and Natty Greene’s. Other craft breweries (so far) are SweetWater Brewing from Atlanta, Starr Hill of Virginia, Abita of Louisiana and Appalachian Brewing Company of Pennsylvania. Organizer Sid Border says the fest will provide up to five taps for each brewery, so there should be a variety of brews available. Sampling will run from 2 to 10 p.m.

“Some of the things we love about this area are the outdoors and craft beer,” Border says. “We don’t think there’s anything else like it — where people can come to a beer fest and camp.”

He adds they’ll have a beer tent at the spring version of the festival as well.

Tickets to the tasting tent are $15 per person. That’s in addition to your $60 festival pass (which includes camping). The music lineup includes The Lee Boys, Eyes of the Elders, Josh Phillips Folk Festival, Woody Wood, Sons of Ralph and more. For tickets and more information, go to http://www.frenchbroadfallfest.com. Beer-tent tickets will be available at the festival.

Green Man Hop Fest Tap Takeover

WNC is not only blessed with more craft breweries than most entire states, but the region also is rich with stellar home brewers. To celebrate this, Green Man Brewery on Buxton Avenue will host a Hop Fest Home Brew Tap Takeover on Saturday, Oct. 1, from 2 p.m. until closing (the brewery is locally known as Dirty Jack’s).

There will be 14 taps dispensing only hoppy beers brewed in small batches by Green Man assistant brewer Mike Karnowski and other local home brewers (Karnowski brews for both work and pleasure. In fact, he pretty much brews all the time). Karnowski promises India Red Ale, India White Ale, India Brown Ale, India Black Ale, Imperial Pilsner, Hoppy Black Saison, Imperial ESB and more (I didn’t even know there are that many types of India ale). Admission is free and half pints will cost $2.

And…Oktoberfest

Once again, Asheville’s Wall Street will be transformed into “Little Germany” on Saturday, Oct. 8, for the Asheville Downtown Association’s third Oktoberfest.

The event features beer tastings just from local breweries including Highland, Asheville Brewing Company, Pisgah Brewing, Green Man Brewery and French Broad Brewing Company.

Many brewers are featuring seasonal ales for Oktoberfest — including Highland’s Clawhammer Oktoberfest and Green Man’s new The Fall Guy Oktoberfest.

Only 1,800 tickets are available at $25 per person at http://www.ashevilledowntown.org. Get them soon, as this party is likely to sell out. I’ll have more information about the day in the next Brews News.

— Send your brews news to Anne Fitten Glenn at brewgasmavl@gmail.com.

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