Brews News

Hi y’all. Here are a few recent tidbits about Western North Carolina’s hopping and happening beer scene.

Hops Farm Tour: Last Saturday, I attended part of the Hops Farm Tour organized by the Buncombe County Cooperative Extension Office. The inaugural tour started at Landfair Farms in Weaverville, then stopped at Hop n’ Berry Farm in Black Mountain, ending with a tasting at Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mountain. More than 100 folks attended, including hops growers, home brewers, and brewers. Doug Riley, head brewer at Asheville Pizza and Brewing, and the two man and one woman team from soon-to-open Craggie Brewing Company made an appearance. I’ll have more about the ins and outs of hops growing in the region in the Sept. 30 edition of Mountain Xpress.

Speaking of Craggie Brewing Co.: Craggie’s Jonathan Cort says the business hopes to receive its temporary license soon. If the paperwork’s approved before Sept. 19, the Craggie crew hopes to be handing out tastes of their craft brews at Brewgrass. Craggie’s also sponsoring a road cycling event to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The Sept. 12 event offers 35 and 62 mile rides, starting at 8:30 a.m. The event starts and ends at Craggie’s brewery at 197 Hilliard Ave. After the ride, taste some of Craggie’s brews and eat pizza from Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company, also a sponsor.

Local food and local brew: Yummy partnerships are being formed between small local businesses. Crooked Condiments has produced Ninja Porter Mustard, whose primary ingredient is the beloved Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company beer. Jars are for sale at both Asheville Pizza and Brewing locations on Merrimon and Coxe Aves. Both places also serve the mustard in-house with three lovely soft pretzels. Also, in from Craggie Brewing Company: The Hop Ice Cream Café at 640 Merrimon Ave is combining Craggie’s Antebellum Ale with ice cream for a freezing sweet beer-infused special.

Bruisin’ Ales beer tastings: Hoppin’ Frog Brewey of Ohio will offer tastings of five of their craft beers on Thurs., Sept. 3. Victory Brewing Company from Pennsylvania will be in the store Thursday, Sept. 10. Tastings are from 5-7 p.m. at 66 Broadway.

The Thirsty Monk beer news: This is Dogfish Head week at the Thirsty Monk. On Thursday, Sept. 3, the Monk will tap Dogfish Head’s Sah’Tea, a Finnish juniper and chai tea beer and hold a Punkin Ale release party throughout the evening.

Oktoberfest: Leigh Lewis of Asheville Pizza and Brewing tells me that tickets for Asheville Oktoberfest are selling fast. The party happens on Saturday, October 10, on Wall St. downtown from 1 to 5 p.m. Buy tickets from

Brewgrass cometh: The 13th annual Brewgrass takes place on Sat., Sept. 19, at MLK Jr Park from noon to 7 p.m. It’s been sold out for months, but Xpress will still preview the sudsy gathering in our Sept. 16 issue. We’ll also have an updated guide to area craft breweries.

Did you know? There’s no such thing as Happy Hour in North Carolina. Drink specials must be offered from the time the business opens to the time it closes, according to state ABC laws. Free drinks or reduced price drinks cannot be offered during limited hours. Thus, no happy hour.

Which got me to wondering about the origins of “Happy Hour.” According to Wiki, the term originated with the U.S. Navy in the 1920s. “Happy Hour” was slang for drunken on-ship performances. The idea of drinking alcoholic beverages before dinner has its roots in Prohibition. When alcohol consumption was banned, illegal speakeasies would host “cocktail” or happy hours” for folks who wanted a drink before eating at an alcohol-free restaurant.

Of course, now we can drink both before and during dinner, thank goodness.

Have you got some area brew news? E-mail me at


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9 thoughts on “Brews News

  1. thedj

    Correct, NC has no happy hour. I’m saddened every Friday evening by this fact.

  2. Tracy D. Hyorth

    NC used to have a “happy hour”. The law was changed in the mid ’80s – 1985, maybe 1986.

  3. Mister Blister

    No Happy Hour?? That’s just unamerican! Please write your representatives and congressmen! What kind of Socialist Law is that anyway? Let’s be capitalist and get rid of the ABC! I thought only
    Socialist nations controlled such things.

  4. “Blue Laws” in general are kinda silly. No beer in grocery stores before noon on Sunday? Is there actually a contemporary rationale for this? It’s darned inconvenient for folks who go to church early and stop at the grocery store on the way home…how are they supposed to get ready for the big game? Silly, I tell you.

  5. Mister Blister,

    I’m terribly sorry if someone put religion in your bourbon. Everyone knows that the only thing to put in bourbon is a splash of branch water or the occasional ice cube. On the other hand, the list of things to put bourbon IN is longer, since it includes Kentucky Bourbon Balls and Mint Juleps. I also have a recipe for Honey-Bourbon glazed salmon, if you’re interested. Religion is occasionally served with bourbon on the side, but many people feel strongly that beer (especially local microbrews) are the appropriate beverage to be served with contemporary protestantism, while wine goes better with Catholicism. Buddhism can be accompanied by a variety of spirits, though not as many as Shinto. Mead goes well with many earth-based religions. Clearly, bourbon only goes well with one religion, and that is University of Kentucky basketball.

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