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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Community > Brewing Events & Local Gatherings > South East USA > North Carolina HomeBrew Forum > BeeGee's Brewgrass Report (Asheville)
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Old 09-25-2008, 02:15 AM   #1
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Default BeeGee's Brewgrass Report (Asheville)

September 20th was the 2008 Brewgrass Festival (Brewgrass Festival, Asheville, NC) in Asheville, NC, and I head up every year with a few friends to enjoy some mountain air, camping, mountain biking, dining, and, of course, copious quantities of beer.

Friday morning and herded the family into the car and began the 4hr drive to Asheville from the Raleigh area. As most of the crew was arriving ~6 we decided to do some riding/hiking on the Blue Ridge Parkway which is a gorgeous drive through the southern Appalachians. Heading south from Asheville (~2200ft) the Parkway climbs steadily and passes through a number of tunnels (a big hit with Olivia, our 2y.o.) before arriving at Mt. Pisgah (~5300ft). It's always a bit airy at that altitude, and that particular day called for at least a sweater, while it was perfectly pleasant in Asheville. A short hike to the overlook from the Parkway yielded a rare clear view into the valley.

That evening the rest of the crew showed up, we pitched camp at Lake Powhatan/Bent Creek, an Asheville mountain biking mecca. Later we had a forgettable meal at a local restaurant/tavern, the highlight being the tall Highland Gaelic Ale I ordered. We retired to camp to sip on some Highland Kashmir IPA's and rest up for Saturday.

Saturday started off brisk! However, by 9 when we got organized it was tolerable in shorts and a jersey so we were off for a 6-7 mile loop which would get us back in plenty of time for a quick shower before the festival. The wives/children meandered around camp and did a quick hike around Lake Powhatan.

By the time we got everybody corralled and ready to ride it was around noon which was when the festival started, and the queue to get in was enormous! I was getting worked up, but we noticed the line was moving pretty well and it only took 30 minutes to get in. The crowds still weren't bad, as they had been the year before, so we took advantage. This is where the beer comes in...



http://picasaweb.google.com/billygra...37212027754882

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Old 09-25-2008, 02:35 AM   #2
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Half the crew needed to empty their gerbil bladders (again...), so Chuck and I bee-lined for Asheville Brewing Company which we could easily see and grabbed some Shiva IPA's. Shiva IPA is one of the old Asheville standbys, and 2008 was no disappointment! Not double, or oaked, or any of that mess, just a straight up awesome IPA. I suck at descriptions, so suffice it to say, I liked it. They also had roasted peanuts which was a plus.

What we were really looking for was Highland Brewing...every year they double one of their regular offerings, sample it at the festival, and sell it as a limited release the day following the festival and no other day. Last year was their incredible Kashmir IPA which created a superlative double IPA, but alas, they didn't take credit cards at the brewery and I came away empty handed This year I had cash in hand in case they hit on something else. Well, they doubled their Black Mocha Stout and it was indeed fantastic....but not fantastic enough to wait in line for an hour at the brewery with my wife and kid in the car. It was worth 3 samples of this 10.2% delectable beverage, however.

I then tried a King Don Pumpkin from Catawba Valley Brewing. Now, I like pumpkin ales. A lot (at least this time of year). This one, however, didn't really scratch my itch. Chuck and I both found it heavy on the nutmeg and thin on the body. Oh well. It was voted best of show last year, I'm not sure about this year.

Followed that up with an Old Ruffian barleywine from Great Divide that was good, if a little sweet. I wanted to ask some technical questions about this one, but alas, the pourer was only a pourer. You get that a lot with the out-of-state brewers that exhibit. Rogue was also around where I also had an Old Crustacean which I think I liked a little better. OTOH, that was much later in the day and all objectivity had been lost hours before!

Let's see, what else was notable in no particular order (actually, alphabetical order)...

Appalachian Brewing: Black Bear Stout and their IPA were both quite quaffable.

Azalea Coast Brewing: don't touch the stuff. The three times I tried it were not pleasant, and the brewers weren't interested in hearing it...pass.

Big Boss Brewing: this is my local, but I had to stop by and say hi and have a few! Their Harvest Time Pumpkin is a pumpkin I like. Sadly, they've laid off the hoppy beers until they're cost effective again.

Dogfish: Festina Peche(?) and 60 minute...I took a pass for less esoteric samples.

Duck Rabbit: One of my faves, their stout and amber ale always please. A dark beer specialist from the eastern part of the state. OTOH, apparently BOSTON went their for a tour or look around, and didn't even get a sample! I'd be pissed and probably boycott them.

Foothills Brewing: Hoppyum IPA, a great dry-hopped aromatic IPA. Not double or triple, just an IPA.

French Broad Brewing: 13 Rebels ESB. I love this beer and it has a super cool label, so I bought a t-shirt:

Their Ryehopper was also intriguing. Some thought the rye was a little too subtle, but I thought it was just right and really complimented the hop profile.

Green Man Brewing: I hadn't tried their beers before (that I remember), but their IPA was solid.

Lagunitas: skipped as I've had a bunch of it, although being from CA it was semi-exotic at this locale...

Old Hickory Brewery: the Table Rock Pale Ale is solid. Hickory Stick Stout ain't bad.

Pisgah Brewing: The Valdez stout was very nice, and on beer gas if I recall correctly. Their pale ale was also very drinkable.

Terrapin Brewing Co: One of my favorite, favorite beers is their Rye Pale Ale. I could drink that beer the rest of my life. So I obviously sampled it. They also had their Big Hoppy Monster which was a big hoppy monster and awesome!

Thomas Creek Brewing: saw they had a Doppelbock and had to try it...it was okay, but not as malty as I would have expected.

Victory Brewing: at some point I had a Prima Pilsner to cleanse my palate a bit, and of course followed up with a Hop Devil IPA.

There were many others we tried but I didn't note. Lots of high gravity beers this year, especially IIPA's and imperial stouts. I just can't keep track of them in my head and after 4 hours of drinking, well...

Oh, the weather was incredible...clear skies, 70-75F, light breeze, just ideal.

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Old 09-25-2008, 02:37 AM   #3
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Sunday we packed up. Chuck and Ed hit the trails for a bike ride while I went hiking with my women. Everybody showered for the ride home and we made our traditional Waffle House stop to get a little hangover grease remedy.

Now...haven't brewed in a while, but got the itch. It's time to get that house stout palatable so that I can double it...

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Old 09-25-2008, 02:54 AM   #4
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Ummm...
you missed the Wolfpack upset ECU!

Just kidding, glad you had a good time with your "other" friends.

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Old 09-25-2008, 03:07 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Baron von BeeGee View Post
That evening the rest of the crew showed up, we pitched camp at Lake Powhatan/Bent Creek, an Asheville mountain biking mecca. Later we had a forgettable meal at a local restaurant/tavern, the highlight being the tall Highland Gaelic Ale I ordered. We retired to camp to sip on some Highland Kashmir IPA's and rest up for Saturday.
WOW!

I grew up there, literally. We lived in the Bent Creek neighborhood and would go over to Lake Powhatan all the time to swim and bike. It has been 12 years since I lived there, and no way near drinking age when we moved. We can get some Highland beer here in Atlanta, but I have heard Asheville is a great beer town.

I really need to get up there for a visit. I will be heading to Brewgrass Festival next year.
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Old 09-27-2008, 01:30 PM   #6
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Ummm...
you missed the Wolfpack upset ECU!

Just kidding, glad you had a good time with your "other" friends.
I was getting minute by minute updates; also, I've been telling you you should go for 2 years now!
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Old 09-27-2008, 01:31 PM   #7
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WOW!

I grew up there, literally. We lived in the Bent Creek neighborhood and would go over to Lake Powhatan all the time to swim and bike. It has been 12 years since I lived there, and no way near drinking age when we moved. We can get some Highland beer here in Atlanta, but I have heard Asheville is a great beer town.

I really need to get up there for a visit. I will be heading to Brewgrass Festival next year.
Cool...that's actually a neat little neighborhood, and uber-convenient to downtown Asheville.

Look for tickets to go on sale March 2009. They were sold out by July this year when I looked again, but may have sold out even before that. Somebody in line said they bought their ticket on ebay for $150!
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Old 09-27-2008, 02:09 PM   #8
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I was getting minute by minute updates; also, I've been telling you you should go for 2 years now!
I was spreading love & joy at Paulthenurse's party in Massachusetts. Tell you what- give me a heads-up when tickets go on sale next year and Beth and I will go. Maybe we can get the "family" house in Little Switzerland for the weekend. Camping? Oh, we do that in a large way, too.
See you at the campfire tonight.
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Old 09-27-2008, 04:33 PM   #9
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I was spreading love & joy at Paulthenurse's party in Massachusetts. Tell you what- give me a heads-up when tickets go on sale next year and Beth and I will go. Maybe we can get the "family" house in Little Switzerland for the weekend. Camping? Oh, we do that in a large way, too.
See you at the campfire tonight.
Well, now we have a topic for tonight.
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