For millions of football fans, Feb. 3 is Super Bowl Sunday, when the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams will battle it out for the game’s ultimate prize.
The gang at Pisgah Brewing Co. in Black Mountain has its own party that day when Stout Hog Day returns for a 10th year at the brewery tasting room. According to Pisgah spokesman Benton Wharton, the celebration of stouts and porters is intentionally scheduled early in the day so merrymakers and the brewery crew can be home to catch the big game.
Starting at 11 a.m., Stout Hog Day draws hundreds of craft brew fans to Pisgah to savor a wide selection of dark beverages available a la carte, including beers made by Pisgah as well as guest selections. There’s also live music by the Asheville reggae band Chalwa on the indoor stage, plus a Brewer’s Breakfast with free pancakes, two of several updates the event has experienced over its decadelong run.
“Originally, it was around Groundhog Day,” Wharton says. “As it grew, we realized we wanted to welcome as many people as we could without the [public’s] limitations of work and whatnot. One of our favorite Stout Hog Days had occurred on a Sunday — it’s a perfect day for folks to have an available afternoon, and we realized that the first Sunday of February tends to be Super Bowl Sunday. That seemed to be a great tie-in to get people warmed up for the game.”
He continues, “The other big change is the Brewer’s Breakfast, where our staff cooks pancakes for everyone there. The pancakes are free, and our staff cooks for maybe three or four hours.” The pancakes are cooked on a flat-top grill on the loading dock, and while syrup and butter are provided, attendees are welcome to bring additional toppings.
“The line is usually out the door,” Wharton says. “We try to make [the pancakes] the size of your head.”
He adds that pancakes tend to pair well with stouts. “If you’re really smart, buy a flight of stouts and pour them on the pancakes,” he says. “That’s [Pisgah] owner Dave Quinn‘s idea.”
This year, Pisgah selections are Nitro Chocolate Raspberry Stout, regular Nitro Stout, Nitro Latte Stout, Mole Stout, Chocolatized Russian Imperial Stout (a 2014 gold medal winner at the prestigious Great American Beer Festival), Valdez Coffee Stout, Pisgah Porter, Vanilla Porter, Butcher’s Babe Smoked Porter, Cherry Cordial Porter and Red Hot Porter.
Guest taps are Burial Beer Co.’s Skillet Donut Stout; Fonta Flora Brewery’s Blackish Oyster Stout; Boojum Brewing Co.’s Barrel-aged Total Cave Darkness Imperial Stout; Wicked Weed Brewing’s Silencio Sour Black Ale; Green Man Brewery’s Moe Goes Camping Bacon S’mores Imperial Stout; Hi-Wire Brewing/Revelry Brewing Co.’s Blonde Brunch Stout collaboration; Olde Hickory Brewery/Fonta Flora’s collaboration Imperial Stout with Toasted Coconut; and a collaboration by Atlanta Brewing Co. and Wrecking Bar Brewpub called Kahuna Matata Barrel-fermented Milk Stout with Orange Peel, Pineapple and Coconut.
Wharton says planning for Stout Hog Day started around Thanksgiving, and some of the beers were made just for the event, like Latte Stout. “That’s the beauty of Stout Hog Day — folks getting to try many, many kinds of stouts up against each other,” he says.