What’s new in food: American Sign Language series promotes education and empathy at Highland Brewing Co.

SIGNS OF HOPE: Earlier this year, Hope Turpin, left, an accomplished ASL educator, created, in conjunction with Highland Brewing Co., a free event series called Tap into ASL. Also featured, starting left, are interpreters Kat Oviatt and Sherilyn Joy Small. Photo courtesy of Turpin

North Carolina is home to 1.2 million adults with hearing loss, a number the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services projects to increase to 1.6 million by 2030. American Sign Language use is also on the rise to give Deaf and hard-of-hearing community members their own voice.

Earlier this year, Hope Turpin, an accomplished ASL educator, created a free event series called Tap into ASL to educate, entertain and create empathy for the growing community. Created in conjunction with Highland Brewing Co., Turpin’s series occurs every second Tuesday of the month, with the next event taking place Dec. 12, 6:30-9 p.m.

“Ever since I moved back to Asheville after a 20-year hiatus, I’ve been wanting to continue a similar series I did in Charlotte called Wine ‘n’ Sign,” says Turpin. “With it being such a successful event, I knew I wanted to start something similar [in Asheville].”

Turpin received her master’s degree in Sign Language Education from Gallaudet University in 2021 and has previously taught at the N.C. School for the Deaf and Blue Ridge Community College while also providing private ASL instruction and tutoring. She is currently serving her second term on the N.C. Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and preparing to pursue a doctorate in Deaf Studies from Lamar University.

She says when she met Highland Brewing taproom assistant manager Annie Mullen, they “immediately connected” over their passion for ASL and decided to create a regular event to share it with the public. While predominantly used by the Deaf and hard-of-hearing to communicate, ASL can also be used by parents or family members of an autistic and/or nonverbal individual. ASL is recognized by many high schools and higher education institutions as a credited world language.

All Tap into ASL classes include segments on Deaf culture and face-to-face teaching of 25 ASL words along with review and feedback. Playing ASL charades also helps to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in effectively communicating without using their voices.

“Most of the folks who attend have this unique mindset and desire to learn ASL, not just for their own personal betterment but as a way to communicate with the Deaf,” says Turpin. “I hope people take away a better understanding of how Deaf culture is a big part of ASL and a newfound respect for how ASL can truly bridge the hearing and nonhearing worlds together.”

Highland Brewing Co. is at 12 Old Charlotte Highway, Suite 200. Visit avl.mx/d7a for additional information.

Champagne extravaganza

Bottle Riot invites Champagne enthusiasts to attend a sparkling soirée and exclusive tasting event Wednesday, Dec. 6, 6-9 p.m., at its Champagne Extravaganza.

“This event promises to feature an array of labels, each contributing to a celebration of the artistry and craftsmanship that defines the world of Champagne,” says Bottle Riot owner Lauri Nichols. Attendees can look forward to world-renowned labels such as Louis Roederer, Bollinger, Henri Giraud Grower and Juillet-Lallement Special Club Grand Cru.

In addition to providing tastings, Bottle Riot has partnered with multiple distributors to offer take-home bottles of rare Champagne at discounted prices. The event will also feature a theatrical demonstration of the centuries-old tradition of skillfully opening bottles using a saber.

A variety of food items will be paired with the Champagnes to highlight their tasting notes and characteristics, including freshly shucked oysters, fried chicken, and caviar and potato chips.

“The goal is to create a harmonious fusion of flavors, textures and aromas, ensuring that each bite enhances the overall enjoyment of the Champagne tasting,” says Nichols. “It’s going to be an incredible evening!”

Bottle Riot is at 37 Paynes Way. Visit avl.mx/d77 for tickets ($125 per person) and additional information.

Oskar Blues Brewery celebrates Brevard

Oskar Blues Brewery hosts a “Brevardaversary” event to celebrate 11 years in business Tuesday, Dec. 12, 5 p.m., at its Brevard taproom.

Founded in 1997 by Dale Katechis in Lyons, Colo., Oskar Blues brewed the first Dale’s Pale Ale at its Brevard taproom on Dec. 12, 2012.

Brewers and brewery owners from several regional and local breweries who got their start at Oskar Blues will attend the celebration, bringing their own brews to mark the occasion. Former Oskar Blues employees currently representing Noblebräu Brewing, Salt Face Mule Brewing Co., Big Pillow Brewing, Silos Brewing Co., Blue Ghost Brewing Co. and Whiteside Brewing Co. will also be on hand.

“Craft beer is undergoing a lot of change in 2023, but one thing that remains as true today as it did in 2012 is the power of community,” says Oskar Blues brand manager Aaron Baker. “We’ve been lucky to have a ton of great people pour their heart and soul into brewing, canning, serving and sharing beer at Oskar Blues over the years. After attending the Brevardaversary, we hope people will feel proud of the bonds of community that we’ve forged in our industry and a pride in the place we all call home.”

Food trucks will be on-site throughout the event, and live music will begin in the taproom at 6 p.m.

Oskar Blues Brewery & Taproom is at 342 Mountain Industrial Drive, Brevard. Visit avl.mx/d7b for additional information.

TRVE Brewing heads to Asheville

Denver’s TRVE Brewing Co. has officially announced plans to open its first Asheville location in early 2024. The brewery will fill the recent vacancy left by Eurisko Beer Co. following its closing at 255 Short Coxe Ave. in November.

“After four years of planning, hunting, navigating and jumping over our fair share of hurdles along the way, we are FINALLY proud and elated to officially announce that TRVE Brewing is coming to the South Slope of Asheville,” the brewery says in a social media announcement.

The opening of TRVE Brewing’s first out-of-state brewery and taproom in Asheville has been a poorly kept secret for some time, with the brewery nearly finalizing a different location in town before the pandemic, and yet another Asheville space near Biltmore Village falling through due to federal floodplain restrictions. When news of Eurisko’s closing reached TRVE chief operating officer and co-owner EJ Nunns, who knew Eurisko founder Zac Harris from her time in the industry, the stars aligned for a passing of the torch.

“We’re excited to be a member of yet another incredibly strong beer city,” says TRVE Brewing in the same announcement. “Asheville has impressed the hell out of us over the near decade we’ve been visiting, and we’re excited to be able to call it a new home away from home.”

TRVE Brewing’s Asheville location will retain Eurisko’s 3-vessel 15-barrel brewing system, and Harris will collaborate on one final lager with the TRVE Brewing team to be debuted at the grand opening on a date to be determined.

Follow TRVE Brewing at avl.mx/d76 for news and updates.

Homegrown gin collaboration

Asheville’s Chemist Spirits and Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands have collaborated to create a new botanical gin made with native wild juniper. A portion of the proceeds from each bottle will benefit the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, North Carolina’s oldest land trust, in its efforts to protect and conserve more than 4,000 acres across the Southern Appalachians.

“Our founder embarked on a foraging expedition in the mountains near Highlands, N.C., to handpick the treasured mountain juniper native to Western North Carolina,” says Chemist Spirits in a social media announcement. “Every bottle weaves a tale of the rich Highlands soil.” The juniper was harvested on a protected parcel of land under the stewardship of the land trust. 

Named the Old Edwards Discovery Gin, the limited-edition gin blends sweet birch bark, hemlock, pitch pine, multiflora rose and Chemist Spirits’ own sourwood honey.

Bottles of the gin are available for purchase at the Chemist Spirits Bottle Shop at 151 Coxe Ave. and exclusively available by the glass at Old Edwards Inn at 445 Main St., Highlands.

Visit avl.mx/d78 for additional information.

Chai Pani raises mental health awareness

Chai Pani recently raised over $1,000 for the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Western Carolina in honor of Peter McPherson. McPherson was a Chai Pani team member who recently died by suicide.

“Our hope with this fundraiser was to shine a light on the major rise we are seeing in our communities of deaths by suicide, especially among men,” says Charlotte Stack, Chai Pani Restaurant Group chief operating officer. “We were touched by this personally with the recent death of our dear team member, Peter McPherson. Having access to consistent, quality mental health care saves lives. We will continue to use our resources to ensure our team members, and our community at large, is able to access this vital care.”

If you are struggling with your mental health or are having thoughts of suicide, call 988 for immediate help. If you are in the Asheville area and looking to establish a relationship with a counselor, Chai Pani recommends All Souls Counseling Center, a leading nonprofit provider and community partner for quality mental health counseling, outreach and education, with a focus on those who are underinsured and uninsured in WNC.

Chai Pani continues to encourage donations in memory of Peter McPherson. Visit avl.mx/d79 to donate directly to NAMI. Chai Pani is at 22 Battery Park Ave.


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.

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.