Beer, Beer and More Beer! It’s time for Asheville Beer Week 2013 #AvlBeerWeek

May 26, 2013

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Ever since last year’s inaugural Asheville Beer Week, I’ve been looking forward to the second one. With every month, week and day that has passed, my excitement has grown. Now here I am, a mere day away from my week long beercation, and I can’t wait to be back in the Paris of the South. Last year I had so much fun that I knew that no other vacation would even come close. Why waste my precious vacation days from work on anything else? A trip to the beach? I grew up near them in Florida. Look at me, out in the sun I practically burst into flames like the vampires on True Blood. PASS. Camping in the woods? For a weekend, maybe, but a whole week living like some burnt out hermit? PASS. How about going to Europe? What kind of high roller, made-of-money, jet-setter do you think I am? PASS. What about going to the West Coast? Sure sounds like fun, but costs a whole lot more in travel than a trip across the Smokies.

Craft beer is my hobby and my passion. Combine that with a world-class city full of great restaurants, bottle shops, breweries, interesting architecture and incredibly kind and generous people… THAT is my kind of place. It’s what brings me back every chance I get.

Unfortunately, Katie and I won’t be there until Monday. We know we are missing Just Economic’s Just Brew-it Homebrew festival on Saturday and LaZoom’s Sunday Beer Run. I know from personal experience from attending many beer festivals that the ones that have homebrewers serving their creations are always the best. I did the LaZoom’s Beer Run last year and it was truly a highlight of beer week for me.

We do plan on making up for missing these events by attending as many things as possible between the Monday through Sunday that we’ll be there.

K and I were able to make a quick trip to Asheville and back on Friday night to attend Asheville Scene’s VIP kick-off party. We got to hang out and have a few beers with some good friends of mine, and make many new ones. I finally met several people I know from twitter in real life such as Thom O’Hearn, the beer writer for Mountain Xpress. I also met my fellow ABW guest blogger, James Raiford (we’re in the same shirt/media pass club). The rest of the crowd consisted of the beer-luminati of Asheville, from other bloggers and beer writers, to the Asheville Beer Week organizers, brewery owners, brewers and the godfather of the Asheville beer scene, Oscar Wong. It was a really short stay, but a great time. Katie drove us back to Knoxville afterwards. We both had a lot to do this weekend to prepare to be away from home for so long.

So here it is, my Sunday evening. Saturday, we hiked up Alum Cave Trail with a small cooler full of canned craft beers to sip while enjoying the view. I traded a rare beer yeast strain to a buddy in St. Pete and he sent me back a box full of Cigar City Deliciousness (Thanks Tom!). Sunday, I knew I needed to pack for the weekend, but had to brew a batch of my very much in demand Chocolate Covered Strawberry Stout. Tommorrow morning I will be going on a packing and loading the car rampage.. I hope I can remember to bring everything, including the homebrew I promised to a few Asheville friends.

I’ll be blogging every day for Asheville Beer Week. My plan is to start every morning by writing a recap and posting pictures of the previous day’s events. I will be tweeting as much as possible and posting my beer check-ins to Untappd. So, to my Knoxville friends who are planning on coming up at anytime during the week, text me so we can meet up. The same goes to any of my Asheville friends, I hope we get the chance to share some great brews and conversations.

There are so many events, there’s no way Katie and I can do them all. Here are some of the major ones that we have tickets to or are planning to go to:

Monday: Green Man for the ABA Hoppy Saison release, Asheville Brewing Company for the Perfect Day IPA release, possibly a beer or 2 at LAB, French Broad flight night at Barleys and of course, Thirsty Monk.

Tuesday: A beer here, a beer there and then BELGIAN BEER AT THE BALL PARK MINI-FEST! Nine innings, 9 breweries, 27 beers. Thank goddess that there’s a free shuttle. With this kind of drinking, it’s doubtful we’ll do anything but pass out at the hotel afterwards. I’m ready to drink until I find baseball interesting.

Wednesday: Bell’s Tap takeover at Thirsty Monk, Stone’s Mitch Steele meet and greet book signing at Bruisin’ Ales, and App Vintner’s mini-fest (Sexual Chocolate, OMG!).

Thursday: Thirsty Monk’s NC v SC Craft Beer Civil War, Highland’s 6 Barrel Shoot Out, Wicked Weed’s Saison Tap Takeover, a quick pint at the Winehaus (free OB glass), and the Premier of Crafting a Nation film at Asheville Brewing Company’s Merrimon location.

Friday: Beer Marketing that Doesn’t Suck workshop at Hotel Indigo, High Wire brewing release at Thirsty Monk, Greenlife grocery beer and cheese pairing and Asheville Rare and Wild Beer Tasting.

Saturday: Touring Riverbend Malt House, Beer City Festival and beers afterwards at various bars/ breweries around town.

Sunday: Searching for replacement liver, last minute bottle shopping and going home.

Enjoy the pictures below from the Scene VIP party. I am also linking this Video of Beer Guy Tony Kiss interviewing a few people. If you look closely, you’ll see Katie and me in the background of a few shots.

We’ll be in Asheville by Monday afternoon, see you then.

-Ratchet


Surprise beerday birthday trip from @JuneBugBatticus to Asheville #AvlBeer @WickedWeedBeer @AVLBeerWeek @ChocolateLounge

May 7, 2013

By Asheville Beer Week guest blogger Ratchet, Ratchetbrews.com

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday. Honestly, I didn’t make plans and figured I would just go have a drink at one of my favorite local bars here in Knoxville, maybe catch a movie and generally be low key about it. The older I get, the less important celebrating my birthday is to me. I mean, who wants to grow old? If I wasn’t for my amzing drop dead gorgeous girlfriend, I probably would just stayed at home, cleaned my house and organized my beer cellar. BOR-RING! Luckily I have DO have an amazing, drop dead gorgeous, craft beer loving, travel companion of a girlfriend. Staying at home and not celebrating wasn’t an option. She told me that I only turn (insert random number here) once and she was determined to help me make the most of it and drink some beer! She gave me a great birthday gift by booking us a short get away to our favorite BEER CITY, Asheville.

Beer City USA, 90 minutes that way!

Beer City USA, 90 minutes that way!

The plan was to leave Saturday after seeing some friends at the kick off of Knoxville’s Market Square Farmer’s Market. For various reasons, we didn’t leave town until after lunch. That was totally fine with me since I was able to have nachos and a White Mule pale ale at The Downtown Grill and Brewery before hitting the road.

We arrived to a rainy Asheville. After checking in to the hotel we always stay at, Downtown Inn and Suites, it was time for some bottle shopping! The first (and my favorite) bottle shop we stopped at was Bruisin’ Ales.  As soon as I knew we were going to Asheville, I reworked my budget so I could buy rarities not available at home to replenish my cellar. Shopping at Bruisin’ is great. Not only is it owned by 2 of the coolest people in Beer City, Julie and Jason Atallah, but they also have great selections to try with their sip and shop. You also never know who you are going to run into there. As was the case when this time when I ran into local emcee/street poet/ artist by the name of Chachillie. We spoke for a little while and he ran an idea for a music video by me. He also kicked a freestyle rhyme out on the sidewalk in front of the store. I saw Julie on her way out and got a birthday hug. After going over our options Katie and I made our purchases and decided to head up the road to our next stop, Appalachian Vintner.

App Vintner as it’s known also boast an amazing selection of beer, wine and other libations. Located in the outskirts of what’s considered the Biltmore Village area, they have a bar with an expanded tap selection. They go out of their way to have rare and tasty beers on tap. I purchased a half pour of a 2011 vintage Uinta Labyrinth.  My primary loyalty will always be to Bruisin‘ but the great thing about having multiple bottle shops in town is that there is always something different. Some shops sell out of certain brands and varieties sooner than others. Katie and I spent even more money and I was able to pick up a few things to share with my friends. I also got a gift for my buddy Richard Groves so he can have something special for his 1000th Untappd check in.

Well with 2 bottles shops down, we thought that we might as well hit one more just to see what else we could find. Hops and Vines is a homebrew store with a limited bottle selection. Since it’s primarily known as a place to buy brewing supplies, they sometimes have a few rare craft beer bottles that are sold out elsewhere else. I picked up a 6 year vertical of Sierra Nevada’s BigFoot Barley wine at a decent price and 1 or 2 other things. At this point it was getting late and we still hadn’t hit any breweries. It was time to go a few blocks up the road to Altamont Brewing Company.

Altamont Brewing on a rainy day in May.

Altamont Brewing on a rainy day in May.

Katie enjoying beer at Altamont

Katie enjoying beer at Altamont

The last time Katie and I visited Altamont they had just started brewing. At that time they only had their porter on draft. This time around they’ve been at it for a while and had a great variety. Since we were brewery hopping and planned on hitting as many places as possible, we only stayed for one drink. I had the Hopped Red and Katie had the Amber. Both were delicious and well crafted. We drank our beer while listening to live music and soaking up the local vibe. I really like the neighborhood bar feel of Altamont and will make sure to always fit it into our itinerary.

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Drinking and winking at Altamont Brewing Company.

The next stop of the evening was another must visit when in Asheville, Wedge Brewing Company. Everyone knows I love Wedge’s beers, location and complimentary peanuts. We found a table inside by the bar looking towards the fermenters. We drank half pours of the Hellesbock, Derailed Hemp Seed Ale, Witbier and a Saison of theirs that I hadn’t had before. By the time I ate a whole bowl of free peanuts, I realized a little too late how hungry I was and how I hadn’t eaten since lunch. It was time to leave and head for dinner (and another round of drinks) at Wicked Weed.

We arrived at Wicked Weed through the pouring rain. It was a Saturday night, so we knew to expect a wait for a table. We checked in with the hostess and got a pager to tell us when our seats would be ready. Down the stairs we headed to  grab a drink. As I walked towards the Downstairs bar I heard “Hey Ratchet!” I turned around and who did I see but Wicked Weed’s head brewer Luke! We spoke for a while and he talked about the brewery’s success, the sour and barrel programs and introduced me to his brother Walt who is in charge of those. All this time I was sipping on their Genesis Blonde Sour. After some great conversation with the Dickinson brothersKatie and I headed upstairs to have a meal. By this time my stomach wasn’t doing so great. All the beer I had drank throughout the day combined with Wedge’s peanuts was not a good combination. I ordered fries and a beer and could not finish them. This was my fault for not eating anything substantial since earlier in the day. I know better but in the excitement of everything, I had just plain forgot. I alternated between watching my darling nom on one of Wicked Weed‘s epic burgers and going outside to walk off my discomfort in the rain.

After leaving Wicked Weed it was time for a nightcap at Thirsty Monk. I still wasn’t feeling up to putting anything else in my belly, so I just went and sat with Katie at the downstairs bar as she sipped a few tasty Belgian style ales.

The next morning the weather was still rainy and chilly. It was Cinco De Mayo which Katie is big on, (must be ’cause she’s originally from Texas) so she insisted on tracking down some great Mexican food. First things first, we had to get coffee. Much like I am with beer, I am a coffee connoisseur. I usually only drink fair trade organically grown coffee fertilized with crystalized free range unicorn tears and hand roasted by Norwegian elf spirits. I would rather have a headache from not getting my morning cup-a-joe than drink hotel coffee. Over the years I have had coffee from many places all within a walking radius of the hotel. I’ve been searching for that perfect cup. I finally found it. From now on it’s only French Broad Chocolate Lounge‘s Counter Culture French press coffee for my morning fix. They also have the best selection of pastries, cakes, liquid truffels and other tasty treats to go with it. I got my french press light roast and Katie opted for the Oaxaca Hot Chocolate. I saw they had Highland Mocha Stout cake and couldn’t pass up getting a slice.

Oaxaca and Highland Mocha Stout cake at French Broad Chocolte

Oaxaca and Highland Mocha Stout cake at French Broad Chocolate

After coffee and my decadent snack, it was time to get a solid meal. Looking up Mexican fare on our phones, Katie found Limones. It seemed like exactly what she was looking for, so we headed over. I’m really glad we went. The service, decor and food was all top-notch. I didn’t need a big meal having had cake previously. I knew I wanted a cervesa so I could earn my Cinco De Mayo badge on Untapped. I chose Bohemia after looking up reviews for it online. It’s was a very decent Czech style pilsner brewed in Mexico. It was light, refreshing and paired great with my scrambled eggs and home fries. We ate and ended up boxing plenty of food for later.

The day was getting on and I had things to do back at home in Knoxville. My friend Vanessa was up from Florida visiting my son and his mom, and I didn’t want to miss her before she left. After a quick stop at Earth Fare to look for more beer, Katie and I hopped back on the interstate for the drive home. Our trip to Asheville this time was short but sweet. We are already looking forward to our week-long vacation for Asheville Beer Week. There are so many events during that time that we’re still trying to decide which ones to go to.  We already have tickets to a few things such as the Asheville Rare and Wild Beer Tasting and Beer City fest.

Thanks for reading about my Asheville birthday trip. I highly encourage everyone reading this to get your friends to go online and VOTE. Let them use your tablet, your smart phone, you sister’s mac, your weird brother’s Linux, the library computer or that 56k modem your grandma is still has hooked up to go vote for Asheville to retain the yearly title of  Beer City USA. The polls are private this year but Grand Rapids is being very vocal in the comments. Let’s help Asheville win the bragging rights for the 5th year in a row. Once again, Click here to vote.

Enjoy my photos below. Click on them to enlarge.

Until next time, Cheers,

Ratchet
Until next time, Cheers,

Ratchet


My last day of #AvlBeerWeek and Sunday @LaZoom ride w/ @FeralChihuahuas

June 4, 2012

Well here it is, Monday morning afternoon. My beercation ended, I’m back at work. I arrived back in Knoxville yesterday evening. After filling up all my beer fridges with the spoils of my Bruisin’ Ales purchases, I settled in for a long 8 1/2 hours of solid “back in my own bed” slumber.

I truly had a great time in Asheville. According to my Untappd check ins, I had 68 unique beers during the 5 days I was there. That’s not counting beers that I drank, but had previously logged into. I also posted to this website every day of my beercation. Here is Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s post. I want to thank the Asheville Beer Week Committee for doing a superb job of organizing events and promotion for beer week. I want to give a big shout out to everyone I met this week, and all the new friends I made. Thanks for the retweets, the invites, the converstations and the toast. Beer isn’t what makes Asheville great. It’s the people behind the beer.

That being said, I want to recap the last day of my Asheville Beer Week beercation. It started with me going to the lobby of the Hotel Indigo and buying a cup of coffee. I got the website updated, went back upstairs and started packing. I had to figure out how to get everything in the car, and still have access to put things in the cooler. After the car was packed, I headed to Asheville Brewing Company at Coxe Avenue. I had brought a few bottles of my homebrewed Rauchbier for Mike. When I saw him at Beer City Fest, I asked how I could get them to him. He said that if I dropped it off in the walk in cooler with a note that he’d get it and share it with Doug. So I did that and I headed to Bruisin’ Ales for a little more shopping and to say goodbye to Julie, Jason and the crew. I made my last minute purchase, including a cool bottle to drink on the bus tour. I put everything in the my remaining cooler space in the car. I then realized that I had less then 10 minutes to get all the way down the block on foot for the LaZoom Sunday Beer Run.

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Bruisin Ales, or as I like to call it “Heaven”.

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More of the selection at Bruisin Ales

Let me stop right here and tell you about the LaZoom Comedy bus tour. Everyone loves them. They do a regular comedy tour of Asheville that is highly rated. Mary and my son, Orion went on the tour on Saturday while I was at Beer City Fest and they had a great time. If you ever go to Asheville, this is a must do. For Asheville Beer Week they teamed up with a local comedy group, the Feral Chihuahuas to do 2 special Sunday Beer Run tours. One on Sunday May 27th and one on Sunday June 3rd.

Knowing that I was leaving on Sunday, I thought this would be the perfect end to my beer week experience. I was not disappointed! I jogged all the way (with beer in hand) from Bruisin’ Ales to the bus pick up point at French Broad Co-op. I got there and as soon as I got on the bus I saw Mike and Allison from Asheville Brewing Company. I sat right next to them on the other side of the isle. I told them about the beer I just dropped off for them. They were grateful. I forgot to bring a bottle opener for my beer, but knowing that it was a bus full of drinkers, all I had to do was ask. Mike gave me his Asheville Brewing Company credit card sized bottle opener that I could keep in my wallet so I wouldn’t find myself without one again. Well the tour started and it was laughs from start to finish. There were skits all the way through. Since it was a beer-centric ride, they had a cooler full of complimentary cans of beer from Asheville Brewing Company and Catawba. Below are pictures from the tour.

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My first beer of the LaZoom Sunday Beer Run

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John Barley Corn on the LaZoom bus

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The self proclaimed “Mayor of Beer City”

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Asheville’s beer poet laurete, Hopcorn Sutton

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The Reading of the will on the LaZoom Bus. Drink everythime you hear the word “boner.”

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The dead guy left everything to his douchey frat bros (in the background)

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“The Procastinator”, he’s from the future. We did drunken ab-libs with him.

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This guy stood motionless like this for a good 2 city blocks.

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A prop comic that used really bad beer label puns.

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second stop of the LaZoom Sunday beer run, at Green Man Brewery’s tap room aka “Dirty Jack’s”

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Green Man’s limited edition Summer Wheat Beer “The Traveler”

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10 minutes until we get back on the bus!

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Fermentors at Green Man

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Another shot of the bar at Green Man aka Dirty Jack’s

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Yay!

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The Beerstie Boys

We rode around Asheville while they did skits while stopping and picking up different characters. Both the jokes and the beer were flowing. We had our 1st 20 minute stop at Wedge Brewery, just long enough to have a beer, take a much need restroom break and hop back on the bus. We then drove around while a character with a bad accent called “The Procastinator” told us about the future where he was from. He got words from the riders and we did a drunken version of Ad-libs. We then stopped at Green Man Brewery where I found out that their tap room is also called Dirty Jack’s. I had yet another beer and some pretzels. They did one last skit before ending the tour. The told us at the beginning that we could take pictures, but no video recording. Well for the last skit they said we could record it as they presented “The Beerstie Boys”. Here it is from the video I took on my iPhone.

The tour ended and my face hurt from smiling and my sides were sore from laughing. It was time to head home. Mary and Orion picked me up, but Orion wanted to go to the toy store over on Wall Street. Great! That gave me time for one last beer at The Thirsty Monk before leaving town. I went and had a half pour of my last official beer of Asheville Beer Week on the front patio. A few minutes later my ride pulled up to the curb. It was really, finally, time to go. I took one last picture as we left downtown and headed towards the interstate.

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Asheville is such a tourist friendly town. They even printed guides to beer Week.

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Me on the front patio of The Thirsty Monk, looking in. My last beer of Asheville Beer Week.

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The outside of the Thirsty Monk, where I did a lot of my Asheville Beer Week drinking.

I’ll miss Asheville, but I take great comfort in knowing that it’s only 2 hours away and that I’ll return again soon. For now it’s back to work to build back up my decimated savings account so I can come back for my next beercation in Beer City USA.

Hope you enjoyed reading these post full of mistakes and typos over that last couple of days. I know I had fun writing them. I’d like to hear from people I met, so let me know your thoughts or just say hi in the comment section below.

Cheers,

Ratchet


Last day of #AvlBeerWeek and recap of @BeerCityFest

June 3, 2012

Well last night was the earliest I’ve been to bed since I came to Asheville for Beer Week. Every night I’ve been out drinking and enjoying the food, libations and culture that Beer City USA offers. Last night, I wanted to stay out late, but my body wouldn’t let me. C’mon liver, just one more day. You can do it! Anyway Let me recap what I can remember of yesterday and what I have planned for the last day of my beercation.

The day started out as the previous ones, with me waking up and heading downstairs for breakfast and the all important coffee. Using a combo of my wordpress app and my laptop, I was able to get yesterday’s post up quickly. I then packed up everything to go check into Hotel Indigo for the last night of my stay. I arrived at this hotel and walked in, kind of overwhelmed on how posh it is. Thanks again Mom Linda for getting me this room for my birthday. Once I was situated, it was time to walk down to Roger McGuire Green to wait in line for the festival. Once in line I met some Knoxvillians, and their Asheville friends. I am so sorry I forgot y’alls names. I am horrible with names and have to hear them repeatedly before they stick. It’s a serious flaw of mine and it’s something I struggle to overcome every day.

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Roger McGuire Green downtown where the festival was held

The festival was sold out, but when I looked on my Craigslist app, I saw that many people still had them listed for sale. I gave the number of one seller to a person in line without a ticket. I saw him later in the festival. Once I got in, I made a quick round just to see what there was before I actually even got a beer. My first one was Brown Shugga by Laqunitas. There’s no way I would have remembered that on my own, thank goodness I logged every one of them into untappd.

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This was my favorite beer of the festival

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Once again, Todd (& his epic beard) from Catawba brewed my favorite beer fo the festival

I saw many people I know from the beer scene at festival. One of my favorite people in the regional beer scene is the brewer from Catawba Brewing Company, Todd. Him and his buddies (sorry the whole names escape me thing) are really cool and down to earth. Todd makes absolutely amazing “special edition” or “one offs” beer. The last beer festival I was in Asheville for (see my Winter Warmer post) my favorite beer was his Pumpernickle Rye. We spoke for awhile and I had his Belgian Blonde brewed with cantalope and cayenne. The combo was unbelievable and set the back of my throat tingling. Someone please let the owners of Catawba know that they need to let Todd bottle some of these rare beers so we can take them with us!

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The best swag of the festival was Holy City’s squirt guns filled from a keg full of water

I walked aroung the festival collecting stickers, coasters and other swag for my beer cave, and to share with friends. New Belgium had cool stuff such as bike tube patches, lip balm and ranger patches. The coolest swag at the fest went to Holy City Brewing out of Charleston, SC. They had squirt guns! Someone was filling them up with water and handing them out. I got one, but it was apparent that carrying it in my pocket was not a good idea since it was leaking. I used it to rinse my glass between rounds. Someone suggested filling it with beer, but I took a pass on that idea.

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Crowd at Beer City Fest

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Myself with Doug, the head brewer from Asheville Brewing Company

I walked around enjoying beer and talking with brewers and other people I knew from the beer scene. I went to the Asheville Brewing Company booth where I saw Mike Rangle. Always a pleasure to speak with him. He introduced me to the brewer, Doug. I had seen him before, but this is the first time we had actually met. I told him how much I enjoyed his beer and that Ninja is my all time favorite porter. After seeing him, I ran into Dieter from Heinzelmannchen. It’s always a pleasure to speak with the friendly Dieter. My only regret is that I don’t have time to visit his brewery this trip. I’ve have to make a point of next time taking a quick trip to Sylva, NC.

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Me with Dieter from Heinzelmannchen

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The Heinzelmannchen booth

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One of the many beers I enjoyed at Beer City Fest

Near the end of the festival I waited in a super long line for Thirsty Monk’s Coconorm porter that they released at 3pm. I liked it very much, but it still wasn’t as good as Tennessee Valley Homebrewers Club member Jay Schrade’s toasted Coconut Porter, but it was a close second. Next I spent some time hanging out talking beer with Greg and the crew from Nantahala Brewing Company. They had their newest Trail Magic release, an imperial IPA with lemon grass. They are having a bottle release at their brewery on June 8th. Bryson City is not that far of a drive, and it’s a beautiful one. If you haven’t been to Nantahala Brewing Company, you should go. You are seriously missing out if you don’t.

Beer City Festival ended at 6 pm, but I made plans to leave early to go take a power nap at the hotel. While I was at the Festival, many of my Knox Beer Crew Friends were out in Asheville bar hopping. I planned on hanging out with them in the evening, but I knew if I was going to do more drinking, I would need to recharge. So around 4:30 I grabbed a couple of slices of Barley’s pizza and headed back to the hotel. I drank some tea, took a vitamin and set my alarm for an hour long nap. Waking up feeling refreshed, I hopped in the shower, got dressed and walked over to Thirsty Monk where I met up with Nick, Jeff, Matt and his wife Chrissy and her friend. I could tell the guys were feeling a little on the drunk side. I had half a pour of Evil Twin’s Imperial Biscotti Break. While hanging out there I saw someone posted on twitter that Tom Selleck was at Craggie Brewing company, just a few blocks away. I casually mentioned this to the guys. In their inebriated state, they thought it would be hilarious if we had our drunken pictures taken with him. The next thing I know we are on our way. We get there, and Tom Selleck WAS there. Just in Velvet painting form, behind the bar. We had been punked! Well played twitter, well played. We had a round anyway and Matt and I posed for the below picture.

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We saw on Twitter that Tom Selleck was at Craggie Brewing, so my Knox Beer Crew friends thought it would be funny to go get our picture taken with him. It was funny!

After 1 drink at Craggie I convinced the crew that walking a mile away to Wedge Brewing company wasn’t going to kill them, so off we went. Wedge is one of the most popular places for craft beer lovers in Asheville to hang out, so sometimes they run out of some styles of their beeer. I had a half pour of a hoppy Hellesbock. After sitting around, talking and eating peanuts and Nick nommming down on tamales from the food truck, we decided to head back. As we walked I got a text to meet with Mary and Orion for dinner. I said goodnight to the crew, and when to meet them on Wall street downtown. We walked around trying to figure out what we were in the mood for. We ended the night at the Noodle Shop. I was pretty much done at that point, and my stomach hurt. I could only eat a few bites. As much as I wanted to go back to Thirsty Monk, I knew there was just no way. As we walked back to the hotel we heard a women yell out “He stole my purse!” On the other side of the road a guy was running down the sidewalk. A couple of people tried to stop him. He pushed one guy down. There was a crowd chasing him. I hope they caught him, the women got back her purse and no one (but the thief) got hurt.

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On our walk to Wedge, Matt found time for one of his favorites. Hurricane HIGH GRAVITY!

This is my last day, and the official last day of Asheville Beer Week. I have so much beer and beer swag, I am worried I don’t have enough room in the car for it all. I still need to stop by Bruisin’ Ales and pick up a few more things for myself and for friends back in Knoxville. I get to end my beercation by going on the LaZoom Beer Run tour today. I heard it’s hilarious and I’m really looking forward to it. I will post about it tomorrow. If we met this week, or you’ve been reading my blog, I’d really like to hear from you. Please leave me a comment.

Cheers,

Ratchet


Day 4 of my #beercation to #AvlBeerWeek @BeerCityFest !

June 2, 2012

Ok today recap of yesterdays adventures at Asheville Beer Week will be short. I don’t have time to sit around all day and wait for my hotel’s slow internet to upload. I have to pack up the enormous amount of brewery swag and glasses, and all the beer I bought. I am checking out of Downtown Inn and Suites and Into The Hotel Indigo, a fancy hotel stay I was given as a birthday present (thanks Mom Linda!)

So yesterday started out as the previous. I made my own coffee I brought and ate in the hotel’s dining area. I lounged around afterwards and wrestled with getting the website updated. I was able to clean myself up and head down to an ESB brewing workshop at Fifth Season Garden Supply. I already know how to brew an ESB, but I didn’t have anything else planned and figured it would be good to hang out with people interested in homebrewing. The garden shop also doubles as a homebrew supply store and is right behind Green Man’s brewery. Honestly, that was my main reason for going, because the workshop promised a tour of Green Man afterwards. Since I love Green Man’s ESB, I figured maybe the workshop was using their recipe and I would get to know how to replicate it. Well, they did a more basic recipe, but I did get to meet and hang out with some pretty cool people, a few who are already extract brewers. The workshop was very basic. When it ended, we did go to Green Man for a quick tour. I did get a run down of the hop, grain and yeast bill of Green Man’s ESB, but not amounts. I am touring them again tomorrow, so maybe I can get more specifics.

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A basic homebrewing workshop at Fifth Season Garden Company

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Sign up at the Green Man tasting room

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Fermentation Tanks at Green Man

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A few looking out from the Brewing area of Green Man

Well after a pint of Green Man’s Session fest Scottish Stout, I headed for the next event. On the way I stopped and got a tofu Spring wrap from on of Asheville’s Many food trucks. It was amazing. If you see this truck on the streets of Asheville, get food from them, you won’t be disappointed.

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The next Beer Week event I went to was the Mystery Brewing release party at Bruisin’ Ales. Eric Lars Myers is a writer a former homebrewer and the current head brewer, owner and CEO of Mystery Brewing Company of Hillsborough, NC. He brought along copies of his book, North Carolina Craft Beer and Breweries. He also brought along for of his brews to sample. I spoke with him about brewing, got him to sign a copy of his book for me and had a great time at Bruisin’ Ales. I hung out for awhile before heading to the next event.

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One of Mystery Brewing’s selections.

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The 1st Mystery Brewing beer I sampled. Very light and refreshing. Eric brews good beer.

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For another angle of this picture, see Bruisin’ Ales’ twitter feed @bruisinales

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Mystery Brewing has great descriptions and unique beer names

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Eric of Mystery Brewing, Myself and Julie from Bruisin’ Ales. Probably my favorite picture taken of me at Asheville Beer Week so far.

   Well, I went off to the next event. Barley’s was having what they called “Sexual Lychee Night” which consisted of them tapping a keg or New Belgium’s Tart Lychee and Foothills Brewing Company’s Sexual Chocolate. I already have had Tart Lychee several times, seeing how we have it on tap at Suttree’s. I have only had Sexual Chocolate once, from a bottle. I had never had it before on Draft. I got there and spoke with the bar tender and he advised me that they were waiting on the brewery reps to get there before they tapped the keg. I had another beer while I waited. By that time a twitter/ untappd friend of mine, Jeff Haws arrived in town. He met me at Barley’s. I was able to get a pour of the ultra rare Foothills beer and replenished my tank with a slice of Pizza, before heading back to Thirsty Monk.

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Foothills Brewing Company’s ultra rare and highly sought after beer, Sexual Chocolate.

I had to stop back and drop off my book and a few things at the hotel first. When I got to the Thirsty Monk, they were at capacity and couldn’t let anyone else in. Downtown Asheville was packed and I could see from all the untappd check ins that many people arrived into town for Asheville Beer Week &  Beer City Festival. They did allow me on the front porch and I sent Jeff in to get me a beer. I was eventually able to go in, but at that point I already had a comfy bench seat out front where I spent the rest of the night slowly sipping my beers. Jeff eventually headed back to his hotel. As I set that, I met the brewer for Mother Earth Brewing company while he waited for them to let more people in. We talked for a minute and then Aaron from Brewer’s Summitt arrived to hang out and drop off some promotional material. We headed downstairs, where I ran into Greg from Nantahala Brewing Company. It seems like every brewer in town for today’s Beer City Fest made their way to the Monk at some point yesterday. It was getting late so Aaron gave me a ride back to the hotel. I have a ton of Brewer’s Summit posters and other promotional material I need to distribute, so if anyone would be willing to give me a hand, it would be very much appreciated. 

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@JeffHaws at The Thirsty Monk.

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Super Rare Sierra Nevada Beer that was brewed for Brian Grossman’s wedding. “Love at First Bike”.

Well I am going to now start getting ready for today’s Beer City festival. I need to pack this hotel room, and get some food. I should also hit up a grocery store to stock up on provisions like sun block, water and snacks to help me make it through. Once again, if you read this and use twitter, I’m on there as @RatchetBrews . I also wanted to give a big shout out to whoever is doing the @AvlBeerWeek twitter feed for all the retweets. See y’all at the festival. #AvlBeerWeek continues…