Brews News: What’s new in the world of local beer

Beer City seeks Beer Master

The qualifying rounds for the inaugural Asheville Beer Masters Tourney are coming up. If you haven’t heard yet, the tournament’s goal is to find the person most knowledgeable and passionate about beer, and crown him or her Asheville Beer Master.

The one true master will be given two tickets to Beer City Fest and two tickets to Brewgrass, plus other beery gifts. (If you’re not confident in your own mastery, there are still Beer City Festival tickets available at area breweries and Barley’s Taproom — $30 cash only).

There will be eight different qualifying rounds (you only have to win one to move into the semi-final round). The competition will include a true/false quiz and a multiple choice/fill-in-the-blank quiz. The top competitors will move on to enjoy a blind local beer tasting. The highest scorer will compete in the semi-final representing the restaurant where he or she won. Got it? Good. Here’s the list of dates and restaurant/bars that are holding qualifying rounds:

April 4: Mellow Mushroom, registration 7:00 p.m.
April 18: Brixx Pizza, registration 7:00 p.m.
April 25: The Thirsty Monk, registration 6:00 p.m.
April 26: Jack of the Wood, registration time TBD.
April 28: Pack’s Tavern, registration 7:00 p.m.
May 2: Barley’s Taproom, registration 6:30 p.m.
May 4: The Bywater Bar, registration 7:00 p.m.
May 10: The Universal Joint, registration 7:00 p.m.

Semi-finals will be at Wedge Brewing on May 25, and the final will be at Asheville Brewing Co. on June 2.

The Tourney is open to anyone who wants to participate, except for the “primary owners and head brewers of breweries, brew pubs, restaurants, bars, retail beer outlets, distributors, beer importers, homebrew supply shops and tournament sponsors and organizers.” So, if you work on the bottling line, work on the sales floor, are the assistant brewer, wait tables, bar manager, or anything else that is not mentioned in the previous sentence … you can compete.

Check out Asheville Beer Masters on Facebook for more information.

Hickory Hops approaches

Lots of beer lovers from around here make their way over to Hickory, N.C., for the annual Hickory Hops Beer Fest. This year’s festival will be on April 16, from 1 until 7 p.m. More than 40 craft breweries will represent. The fest usually sells out, so purchase your $30 tickets here: ($10 for designated drivers).

Mustache March Madness

Many of the Highland Brewing crew are men. And these men have an annual tradition of growing the biggest, baddest mustaches possible during the month of March. Why? Stay with us here, but it started three years ago, when brewer Joey Justice’s love for both Tarheel basketball and brewing pilsners became apparent. The Highland folks started calling his pilsner test batches “Pornstache Pilsner,” and the tradition of Mustache March Madness was born.

According to Steve “The Heat” Schwartz, “Over the years, mustache creativity and size have been trending upwards, and it seems to be catching on with our fans. I walked into The Thirsty Monk last week, and a random guy said to his wife, ‘That guy must work at Highland,’ though I wasn’t wearing any visible Highland merchandise.”

And while Mustache March Madness is winding down, if you spot any giant ‘staches around town within the next day or so, you may know why.

Highland’s 2011 Mustache March Madness, before (top) and after (bottom). Left to right: Adam DeBoer, Paul Rollow, Jamie DeJohn, Ben Wicker, Nate Keller, Justin Haughney, Joey Justice, Steve “The Heat” Schwartz.
Photos courtesy of Highland Brewing Company


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6 thoughts on “Brews News: What’s new in the world of local beer

  1. dpewen

    I love the local beers and support all .. but can’t drink the Craggie stuff.

  2. Josh Benson

    I second dpewen, I have yet to drink a Craggie that didn’t taste off to me. French Broad Brewery, however, has yet to make a beer I don’t love!

  3. BrewNerd

    Craggie was tops on my list until they stopped making the Antebellum Ale and put it all into ice cream. That, and they had a sweet Sunday scene with vinyl records playing in the tap room, but no more. Tuesdays now? Too bad it’s a work day. Highland continues to rule and the new Little Hump is very tasty! Love those guys over there!

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