The Beer City Festival is a Barrel of Fun!
By Charlene & Richard Mixa
Roll out the barrel for a Beer Extravaganza! Asheville’s 2015 Beer City Festival! Celebrating a growing craft-brewing industry this mountain town cheerfully claims being the Examiner’s “Beer City, USA” poll four years running. Hailing more breweries per capita than any U.S. City! With our commemorative beer mugs it’s time for ample samplings of over 30 craft-breweries, all members of Asheville Brewers Alliance. Downtown Asheville’s Roger McGuire Green is a barrel of fun as it transforms into a Beer Paradise. Jam packed with brewery tasting tents, youngsters delighting in the splash pad, and plenty of live music ringing out songs of good cheer, beer enthusiasts sample awesome craft-brews at the Beer City Festival. Today, beer lovers rejoice and throw all their cares away. The Beer City Festival is the finale to Asheville Beer Week that rolls out an eclectic line up of beer-related activities of Pint Nights, Beer Dinners, Home Brew Events, Special Brews, and more.
Our wrist bands and mini-mugs allow us unlimited samplings of new, rare, and classic beers. Wow! Asheville easily boasts a 100 different styles of beer! Strolling the grounds, we find a creative and diverse selection of breweries from around Asheville and North Carolina. Big names such as Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues and New Belgium are represented having made Asheville their second home while local breweries of Highland Brewing Company and Wicked Weed are gaining in popularity. Tastings vary from mouth-puckering sour beers, hops bombs, barrel-aged brews, and a wide range of other beers that make the Western North Carolina mountains one of the best beer producing regions in the world. Beer styles include India Pale Ale, Lager, Pale Ale, Pilsner, Porter, Stout and Wheat Beer.
Pacing is ultimate to assure we enjoy the beer festival and stay sober. Happy faces bloom here and there is definitely no gloom as beer fans of all ages get in the swing for a barrel of fun, beer, song and good cheer. In a wacky spirit some tasters are dressed in fun-loving costumes while others sport the “Pretzel Necklace” – sip your beer and enjoy a tasty pretzel from the necklace. Arriving early has an advantage as we avoid long lines and some breweries that ran out of beer in the late afternoon. At Burial Beer Co. tent, owners Jess and Doug are hopping as they pour samples. Having just visited the Catawba Brewing Company’s tasting room in Biltmore Village, we sample their Brown Bear Brown Ale. Sipping the beers we learn they just opened their Rickhouse which ages beer in scotch, bourbon, whiskey or wine barrels on Asheville’s South Slope. A must visit while in town. Other favorites are Highland Brewing Company, Lexington Avenue Brewery, Green Man Brewery, Wicked Weed Brewing, Pisgah Brewing, and Asheville Brewing Company.
Sitting in the cool shade of an old oak tree, we relax, sip beer, enjoy the music, and the ambiance of this mountain setting. Later on another break, sharing a tasty slice of pizza, we meet the Brewmaster, Carl, of the Wedge Brewing as he takes a break. He educates us on the Wedge’s special IPA. The Asheville Beer Festival is a “Barrel of Fun!” A way to sample the local brews in an easy going setting. An extremely well run event, they have a special ticket for designated drivers and all proceeds go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina.
If you go:
Having visited Asheville the past few years we continue to check out the newest and latest breweries. On prior visits, brewery tours introduced us to Asheville’s local microbrews. The Asheville Brews Cruise educated us on the great beers and fun setting of the totally organic Pisgah Brewing and French Broad Brewery. Asheville Brewery Tours opened doors to Wicked Weed, Altamonte Brewing Company and Burial Beer Co. Then our BREW-ed Brewery Tours of Asheville gave us in-depth insight into beer and its extensive history while we sampled beers at Hi-Wire Brewing Company, Green Man Brewing Co., and Twin Leaf Brewery. Brewery tours are an awesome for visiting the local micro-brews. The insight gained into the history of the micro-brew as we sip their beers adds an extra element to the beer tasting experience. Plus on many of the tours, the owner or brewers share their passion for beer making and the microbrew industry bringing that personal touch to the tour.
Asheville Brewers Alliance, http:www.avlbrewers.com (Beer Week -May 22-May 30, 2015, Beer City Festival – May 30, 2015.
Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau, http:www.exploreasheville.com
Western North Carolina Beer Guide, http:www.wncbeer.com