Brews News: New tasting room, summer releases and more

Highland Brewing's new party space
Highland Brewing Company will open a new 12,000 square-foot tasting room next to their brewery at 12 Old Charlotte Highway. Part of the expansion includes three former shipping containers — which fit inside the warehouse space — that will contain the brewery's staff offices. The containers will be independently wired and insulated. Each is spacious enough for at least two people to have a dedicated workspace. Highland found and purchased the containers just down the road in Fairview. "Part of the allure is that this is a warehouse. It's got an industrial feel. The containers fit in well," says Steve Schwartz, Highland's marketing and events manager.

Brewmaster and co-owner Spike Buckowski of Terrapin Brewing Company in Athens, Ga., visited Asheville for American Craft Beer Week. At The Thirsty Monk downtown, he showed off eight of his craft beers plus a cask lager called Boom Shaka Lager. Photo by Anne Fitten Glenn

Highland also will add a separate three-barrel brewery next to the new tasting room (their main brewery is a 50-barrel production system). This brewery will offer Highland's brewers a place to be creative and come up with new and small-batch beers, says Schwartz. Plus folks hanging in the tasting room will be able to watch the brewers at work in the smaller brewery. Currently, Highland's tasting room is open on Fridays from 4:00 until 8:00 p.m., though Schwartz says they'll add more open days when the new tasting room is completed — hopefully by mid-summer.

Beer City, USA, brings in Terrapin Beer
One of the benefits to being Beer City, USA, and, dare I say, the craft brewing center of the Southeast, is that brewers and beer tourists want to visit us. During American Craft Beer Week, Spike Buckowski, brew master and co-owner of Terrapin Beer Company in Athens, Ga., came in town to celebrate. Spike attended a number of local beer events, culminating with a cask tap of his new "Side Project, number 11" at The Thirsty Monk downtown. That would be an Imperial high gravity lager that Spike christened the Boom Shakalager (nine percent ABV). While he loves brewing in Athens, Spike says he's impressed with Asheville's beer scene. "The whole farm to table and buy local movements are huge here," he says. "That's great for small breweries."

For more on Asheville's Beer City, USA win, and this weekend's Beer City Festival, see beercityfestival.com.

Summer releases on tap
Craggie Brewing Company just released Toubab Brewe (4.2 percent ABV), an unfiltered Bavarian lager. The beer is named for Asheville-based afro-beat band Toubab Krewe. For each keg of Toubab Brewe sold, Craggie will donate $5 to Instruments4Africa, a non-profit selected by Toubab Krewe that facilitates artistic development for underprivileged kids and works to preserve music and arts in Africa.

Highland's seasonal organic, Cattail Peak Wheat, will be released this week. It's Highland's first seasonal to be released in 12-packs (other Highland beers in twelves are the Gaelic Ale and the Mountain Medley). It's a great summer beer flavored with a touch of hibiscus (4.7 percent ABV).

With the summer release of Cattail, Highland has announced an alliance with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. "We'd already named all of our seasonals after mountains in their bailiwick, so it's seems natural for us to help raise awareness about the organization through the sale of our beers," Schwartz says.

The 12-pack boxes of the Cattail display information about SAHC, the mountains, and some of the rare and endangered flora and fauna that live round here.

Highland and SAHC will be leading a group hike up Cattail Peak on June 12. Anyone interested in attending can e-mail steve@highlandbrewing.com. Throughout the year, the brewers and the conservationists will lead hikes up each of the mountains that Highlands beers are named for, including Clawhammer, Cold Mountain and Black Mountain.

Happy birthday to our favorite organic brewery, Pisgah Brewing. They'll release their Fifth Anniversary Ale, a hoppy beer made with Amarillo hops in the next week or so. Drink it at Downtown After Five and Bele Chere—and, of course, at the brewery. Pisgah also will be releasing their Red Devil Ale soon—it's a nine percent ABV Belgian brewed with cherries and raspberries. It might just be my favorite summer beer.

Pisgah Brewing stage and Celtic Fest
The Pisgah folks are building an amazing outdoor music venue in the grassy field behind the brewery. The stage includes big, unfinished slabs of tree trunks that will hold up the roof. The first event held there will be the WNC Highlands Celtic Festival, which will take place on Friday, June 18, and Saturday, June 19. Purchase tickets here (only $10 for both days): celticheritageproductions.com. The festival will include live Celtic music and dance, food, Pisgah beers (of course), Celtic vendors, Highland athletic demonstrations and more.

All-grain brew demo
Asheville Brewers Supply will host their first all-grain brew demo and gabfest on Saturday, June 12, at their 712 Merrimon Avenue store. Attendees can see brewing from barley done before their very eyes, ask questions and learn a lot, according to owner Andy Dahm — and it's free.

Send your Brews News to Anne Fitten Glenn at brewgasmavl@gmail.com.

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2 thoughts on “Brews News: New tasting room, summer releases and more

  1. Ryan

    Not true about Cattail Peak being the first Highland Seasonal available in 12 packs. Cold Mountain 12-packs were all over the place last winter…

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