Saturday, September 23, 2006

Brewgrass report

The 2006 Brewgrass festival has come and gone, and what a time it was. The weather cooperated and things went well in spite of the somewhat cramped location in "the Block." Space limitations made it next to impossible to approach booths on the upper level without forcing one's way through crowds. Despite this, people milled throughout the area enjoying fine brewgrass music and beer from over 40 breweries.

Highlights in my book were Allagash Double, a new double IPA from Oskar Blues, and Pisgah Pale from our own Pisgah Brewing in Black Mountain. I enjoyed the chance to try some other beers that aren't usually available in this area.

I saw Asheville bloggers Brainshrub and Screwie Hoolie but missed Edgy Mama. I also enjoyed meeting other folks, including a fellow University of Maine alum who noticed my Gritty McDuff's T-shirt. Gritty's is a brewpub in Portland, Maine which has the distinction of being Maine's first.

Despite shortcomings with the location this fest was the best of the eight I've attended. I'm already looking forward to next year.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fall is here

The last few days have seen cool, dry air and clear blue skies that remind us once again that we're lucky to be in western North Carolina. As one of my politically incorrect friends in college used to say, it's Pearl Harbor weather - there's a nip in the air. It's time to drink up those hefeweisens, pilsners, and wheats and make room in the fridge for Octoberfests, stouts, porters, and barleywines. It won't be long before we'll be sipping a winter warmer beside a crackling fire while listening to the wind outside.

My growing supply includes:

Victory Hop Devil
Cottonwood Endo
Allagash 11th Anniversary Ale
He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.
Weyerbacher Autumnfest

What's in your fridge?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Asheville beer stores

Living in Asheville offers a number of advantages not available to many other similarly-sized communities around the US. Not the least among these, in my view, is the sheer number of stores offering great beers. Just a partial list would include:

Greenlife Grocery
Asheville Wine Market
Six Pack Smoke Stack
Fresh Market

Even my local Ingles on Leicester Highway has a good section of imports and craft beers. Contrast this situation with many communities around the country where good beers simply cannot be easily obtained. On my recent trip to Florida even the otherwise-outstanding Publix supermarkets in Orlando had only Sierra Nevada and a few other common beers alongside the ubiquitous BMC.

Congratulations to all the Asheville store owners and managers who make these beers available to us, and thanks especially to the Ashevilleians who buy them, enjoy them, and keep the demand strong.