Small bites: PubCorps promotes volunteerism in Beer City

VOLUNTEER CITY: PubCorps director John Richardson, right, works alongside volunteer Bill Buchanan at a recent event in preparation for the organization's official Sept. 15 launch. Photo by Steve Wittenberg

“I really feel like most Americans are desperate to be involved in the greater good,” says John Richardson, director of the nonprofit PubCorps and owner of Black Mountain Ale House and Black Mountain Brewing. “Yet we have not made it easy, and we have not prioritized giving back like we should.”

PubCorps intends to change all that. The online platform makes it simple to sign up for local volunteer opportunities. In the process, the organization hopes to build a stronger community. Richardson says the nonprofit will accomplish this, in part, by inviting volunteers to gather at participating local restaurants, breweries and bars for a complimentary glass of beer, coffee or soda after their shift is completed.

PubCorps will formally introduce itself to the Asheville community on Sunday, Sept. 15, with a launch party hosted at the Asheville Masonic Temple. During the event, volunteers will help package over 100,000 meals donated by the Rotarians Against Hunger to be distributed by local nonprofits MANNA Foodbank and Bounty & Soul to food-insecure children throughout the region.

Tickets to the party are $5 each, and attendees will get a free T-shirt plus complimentary coffee provided by Dynamite Roasting Co. Afterward, all volunteers are invited to an afterparty at Wicked Weed Brewing, where PubCorps will buy the first round.

Though still in its infancy, Richardson has high hopes to expand the model beyond Asheville. “In three years, we’d like to be in 10 cities, and in five years we’d like to be in 50 cities,” he says.

In the meantime, he looks forward to debuting the concept to local residents. “I hope that folks get excited about giving back,” he says. “And I hope that they get excited about connecting, whether it’s through the volunteering or while having a beer afterward.”

Above all, Richardson adds, “I hope [participants] get excited about the potential to show the rest of the world what it means to be Beer City.”

PubCorps’ launch party runs 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, at Asheville Masonic Temple, 80 Broadway. To register to volunteer, visit

Cheese pairing

Looking Glass Creamery and Tasty Beverage Co. will team up for a cheese pairing on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Sean Stanley, retail manager at Looking Glass, will lead the evening event. Featured cheeses include Fromage Blanc (fresh, tangy and buttery cow’s milk cheese), Bear Wallow (a savory and dense European Alpine style), Ridgeline (a gouda/tomme hybrid), Chocolate Lab (with rind washed in Highland Black Mocha Stout and coated in French Broad cocoa nibs) and Green River Blue (a soft-rind blue cheese). Cheeses will be paired with beer, wine and cider; a complete list of beverages was not available at press time. Tickets are $35.

The pairing runs 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 162 Coxe Ave., suite 101. For more information and tickets, visit

Spanish tapas dinner

Metro Wines and Grapevine Distribution will partner for a Spanish tapas wine dinner at Celine and Company on Wednesday, Sept. 18. Spanish garlic shrimp, lamb meatballs and a churro with dark chocolate fondue are among the menu highlights. Featured Spanish wines include 2016 Can Petit cava, 2017 Blanco Neiva verdejo, 2018 Laxas albarino, 2011 Ochoa Reserva and Lustau Capata Andres cream sherry. Tickets are $79 and include tax and gratuity.

Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, at Celine and Company, 49 Broadway. To reserve a seat call 828-254-9902.

The Bountiful Bonanza of Bitters

Local herbalist and botanist Abby Artemisia will host the Bountiful Bonanza of Bitters at Villagers on Wednesday, Sept. 18, focusing on herbal formulas that support digestion while simultaneously spicing up cocktails, mocktails and other beverages. Enrollees will walk away with a better understanding of what bitters are and how they function. Students will also take home concoctions made during the class. Advance tickets are $35-$45 on a sliding scale. The price includes materials. There is an additional $5 fee for on-site registrations.

Bountiful Bonanza of Bitters runs 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, at Villagers, 278 Haywood Road. To purchase tickets, visit

Donuts + Cocktails

DoughP Donuts will collaborate with Cultivated Cocktails on Thursday, Sept. 19, to present an evening of (you guessed it!) doughnuts and cocktails. Featured combos include kabocha squash and ginger with Hazel 63 rum cocktail; Meyer lemon and cardamom with Highway 9 gin cocktail; everything doughnut with Asheville Coffee Liqueur; and raspberry sriracha with Shades of Rosé red wine barrel-rested gin. Prices were not set at press time, however distillery manager Leah Howard says the the total price for all four pairings should be between $20-$25.

Donuts + Cocktails runs 4-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, at Cultivated Cocktails Distillery, 29 Page Ave. For more information, visit

A Taste of the Vineyard

On Friday, Sept. 20, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Henderson County will host A Taste of the Vineyard at Point Lookout Vineyards. “Every dollar raised goes toward our mentor programs through volunteer recruitment and training, program services, and supporting and sustaining current matches,” says program coordinator Shelbie English in a press release. The evening will include a barbecue dinner catered by Flat Rock Wood Room that will feature charcuterie trays, mini-hushpuppies, barbecued chicken thighs, slow-smoked pulled pork, bacon, apple coleslaw and more. A free glass of wine will also be included, and there will be live music and a live auction. Tickets are $50 per person or $375 for a table of eight.

Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, at Point Lookout Vineyard, 408 Appleola Road, Hendersonville. To purchase tickets, visit


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

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.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.