Bucking the bake sale tradition, West Asheville’s Hops & Vines will host a “brew sale” fundraiser on Friday, Nov. 21, to benefit students of the Francine Delany New School for Children. The donation-based beer-tasting event, led by FDNSC teacher and award-winning homebrewer Brian Pesci, will help offset the cost of FDNSC’s annual sixth grade field trip to the Outer Banks — a four-day excursion aimed at exposing students to North Carolina oceans and maritime forests.
“This event is about raising money so that children can experience an amazing, enriching trip,” explains Pesci. “The overnight field trip involves hands-on learning that I cannot provide here in Asheville. [It] ends up being many of the sixth graders’ favorite and most memorable part of the year.”
On tap for the tasting will be a variety of local brews. At the event, Pesci, who informally brands each of his own concoctions with a prominent “B,” will offer up a fall seasonal, Just B Hopped Up amber ale (a traditional American amber ale with a healthy dose of Amarillo, Cascade and Chinook hops), along with his B Lucky Irish stout (an impressively drinkable dry stout, according to Pesci).
Alex Buerckholtz, Hops & Vines owner and Pesci’s brew mentor, will debut his latest Alt-style beer (a German brown ale) alongside Hops & Vines “beer engineer” Rob Wise’s homemade hard cider. Several nonalcoholic beverages will be available, but the event is geared toward adult attendees due to the alcohol component.
“I am good teacher and a good brewer,” says Pesci, listing his formal qualifications for organizing the fundraiser. “I have worked at Hops & Vines and also homebrewed for 10 years. I thought this would be a great way to use my skills to raise money.” Ideally, fundraising efforts will both reduce the $250 per person trip expense and create several partial scholarships for students.
Although Pesci has never organized a brew sale before, the educator has already secured food donations from Roots Hummus and Marco’s Pizzeria for the event. Amassing raffle items was also a community-sourced effort, with prizes including a Brew-ed pass tour, a personal homebrew class and gift certificates from Universal Joint, Ultimate Ice Cream Co. and The Middy hair salon.
“Early word is that parents are excited about going to the event and tasting the homebrews,” says Pesci, but he hopes the event will appeal to an even wider audience. “This event is really about getting adults, especially outside our community of parents, to help children,” he adds. “People will really enjoy trying these beverages.”
Pesci’s brew sale takes place at Hops & Vines, 797 Haywood Road #100, 4-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21.