Small bites: Brews and Bears

CANS AND CLAWS: Breweries and food trucks team up with the WNC Nature Center for the third annual Brews and Bears. The monthly event kicks off its latest series on May 10 and runs through August. Photo courtesy of the Friends of the WNC Nature Center

On Friday, May 10, the Friends of the WNC Nature Center will launch its third annual Brews and Bears summer event series. As its name suggests, participants will have the chance to sip local beers while taking in the nature center’s animal exhibits. Tickets are $8 for Friends of the WNC Nature Center members and $10 for nonmembers.

“Our animals are most active in the morning or the evening,” says Kate Frost, director of development for the Friends of the WNC Nature Center. Because Brews and Bears takes place at night, Frost notes, “it’s a great opportunity for people to get to see our animals more engaged and active.”

The monthly event, which runs May through August, is also a good way to support the center. According to Frost’s projections, the four-part series has the potential to raise $40,000. Much of that, she notes, is due to the generosity of participating breweries and restaurants. “All of our food trucks and drink vendors either gifted entirely in kind, partially in kind or are donating proceeds to the event,” she says.

This year’s May 10 opening will feature Highland Brewing Co., Black Mountain Cider + Mead, Brinehaus Meat + Provisions food truck, Blunt Pretzels and The Hope Ice Cream. Future participants include New Belgium Brewing, UpCountry Brewing, Oskar Blues Brewing, plēb urban winery, Cecilia’s Kitchen, Gypsy Queen Cuisine, Appalachian Chic and Suns Out, Buns Out Hot Dogs.

“It’s a casual time to hang out with your friends,” says Frost. At the same time, she adds, Brews and Bears “provides an amazing opportunity … for people to really take advantage of learning more about the native species of this area and to learn how to help conserve them for future generations.”

Brews and Bears runs 5:30-8 p.m. Friday, May 10, at the WNC Nature Center, 75 Gashes Creek Road. Additional dates include June 14, July 12 and Aug. 9. The event is intended primarily for adults, but children are welcome; kids age 2 and younger enter free. For more, visit

Honey tasting at Rhubarb

Edible Asheville and Rhubarb are teaming up to celebrate local bees and their keepers with Home Sweet Home on Thursday, May 9. The event will include a conversation with regional bee and honey experts, as well as honey tastings. Rhubarb will also serve a selection of small plates, with complimentary cocktail pours featuring Graybeard Distillery’s Bedlam vodka paired with local honey. Beer, wine and additional cocktails will be available for purchase. Tickets are $28.

Home Sweet Home runs 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9 at Rhubarb, 7 SW Pack Square. To purchase tickets, visit

Crawfish boil at Southern Appalachian Brewery

Culture SHOCK by Vieux Carré is heading south to Hendersonville to host a crawfish boil on Saturday, May 11. The event will be led by boilmaster Matthew Bambarger of Bebettes Beignets & Coffee. Pre-orders, which include 3 pounds of crawfish with corn and potatoes, can be made online for $35. During the event, MANNA Packs for Kids will be on site accepting monetary and canned food donations for local children experiencing food insecurity.

The boil runs 2-7 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at Southern Appalachian Brewery, 822 Locust St., Suite 100, Hendersonville. For more, visit

Volunteers needed

The Community Table, a nonprofit that works to serve nutritious meals to Jackson County’s residents in need is seeking volunteers to help unload a MANNA FoodBank truck delivery on Tuesday, May 14. Interested parties should call Gary Wood, the organization’s kitchen manager and volunteer coordinator, at 828-586-6782.

Unloading happens 8:45 a.m.-noon. At The Community Table, 23 Central St., Sylva. For more, visit

Rocky’s pie at Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co.

Chef Sean Fernandez of Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack has teamed with Asheville Pizza Co.’s Nick Izzo for the pizzeria’s latest collaborative dish. Rocky’s pie includes a peach pepper jam base topped with Rocky’s fried chicken, red onions, bacon, pimento cheese and bread-and-butter pickles. A limited number of pies will be available each day throughout May. In a press release, Mike Rangel, Asheville Pizza & Brewing president, says future collaborations are in the works.

Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co. is at 675 Merrimon Ave. For more, visit

Mountain Gateway Museum farmers’ market

The Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort has launched a new farmers’ market, taking place every Thursday from 2:30-6 p.m. through Oct. 3. All spaces are free for local farmers to use; donations are accepted. Participants are permitted to sell locally grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, plants, meats, eggs, honey and other edibles from tailgates or from under self-provided tents. No craft items are permitted. Registration is required. Spaces are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

The new Mountain Gateway Museum farmers’  market runs 2:30-6 p.m. every Thursday through Oct. 3 at 24 Waters St., Old Fort. For more information and to register, visit

Farewell Tressa’s Downtown Jazz & Blues

Tressa’s Downtown Jazz and Blues recently closed. Its owner, Tressalynn Thornton, made the announcement on Facebook, noting the venue’s “22 years of good times and great music.” Her statement was followed by a deluge of online comments and well-wishes from longtime patrons and musicians.


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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