Brews News: This week’s roundup of what’s happening in the world of beer

Second Annual Hops Farm Tour

It’s time to check out a couple of up-and-coming WNC hops farms with all your hophead friends.

The Second Annual Hops Farm Tour takes place on Saturday, July 31, starting at 8 a.m. at Winding River Hops Farm in Clyde. The tour features two local growers in their second year of production and one premier local brewer. Cost is $10 (cash only) per carload. After checking the hops at Winding River, the group travels to Hop’N Blueberry Farm in Black Mountain for more educational chat. The tour ends at French Broad Brewing Company in Asheville for a brewery tour and tasting. This is an all-day affair, running till 5 p.m. For additional information, call Erin Bonito at 255-5522.

Hops Farm Festival

If you only have a few hours on July 31, you can visit another hops farm, Echoview Farm, to celebrate their first annual Hops Festival from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. This farm was on the Hops Tour last year (used to be called Landfair Farms), and has since become one of the larger hops farms in the region. You can learn about their trellising and weed control systems. Plus, it’s free — including lunch and homebrews (while supplies last).

Echoview Farm is located at 534 Old Mars Hill Highway. Call 645-7667 for more information.

Draught boarding

There’s a definite trend, particularly in Beer City, USA, for brewpubs and restaurants to offer beer menus that are as detailed and extensive as their food menus.

I’m particularly enamored of the beer menus at Barley’s Taproom, the Thirsty Monk (both downtown and south locales), Pack’s Tavern and Universal Joint.

In addition to the creative descriptions on the beer lists (and even food and beer pairing suggestions at the Monk and Pack’s), I so appreciate when the draughts are written somewhere where they’re easy to read and drool over. Lots of brewpubs use chalkboards to show off their taps, which rocks. However, my favorite brew display in town (so far) has to be the amazing Draught Board at Universal Joint in West Asheville (see photo).

It’s big. It’s bold. It’s easy to read. Plus, they offer a great selection of draught beers. I think draught boarding is my new favorite sport.
Universal Joint is located at 784 Haywood Road.

Asheville Brewing Infused Brew schedule

Beers infused with fresh ingredients have been a hot Thursday night hit at Asheville Brewing Company on Coxe Avenue. The beer is uniquely flavored by running it through a container — or infuser — that holds special ingredients. For example, this Thursday, July 15, starting at 5 p.m., try the popular Moog Filtered Ale infused with grilled apples and lemon rinds. For a hot and spicy brew, ABC’s new Escape Artist Ale will be passed through roasted jalapenos on July 22. Then, look for the Red Light Pale Ale, infused with bananas and cloves, on July 29. ABC’s Mike Rangel says he’s starting to take the infuser on the road as well. It’ll be in residence at Universal Joint on Wednesday, July 14; the West Asheville bar will feature the Red Light run through fresh peaches. I hope they’re Georgia peaches.

Medals and organic brews in eastern NC

The U.S. Open Beer Championships took place Fourth of July weekend in Atlanta, and one North Carolina brewery brought home two gold medals and a bronze. Mother Earth Brewing won a gold medal in the German Kolsch category for their Endless River Kolsch, a gold in the Dunkel category for their Dark Cloud Munich-Style Dunkel, and a bronze in the IPA category for their Sisters of the Moon. More than 700 beers in 50 different categories were submitted to the championships.

Mother Earth Brewery is a 20-barrel craft brewery that bottles and kegs beer for sale from its Kinston, N.C., taproom. The brewery’s beers currently are available in 25 bars, restaurants and retailers in Asheville.

“I would be flattered to have a handful of accounts in the beer geeky city of Asheville, but I’m blown away to have 25, and all the positive feedback we receive on a weekly basis. I have a lot of respect for Asheville as a beer city. That’s why when we package a minimal amount of a new beer, you guys get it first. MEB loves Asheville,” says head brewer Josh Brewer.

Congrats to MEB and thanks for bringing more attention to our quality craft brewing scene in North Carolina. Learn more about MEB at www.motherearthbrewing.com.

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