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Blind Tasting League

Lou Collichio came to Metro Wines with twenty eight years of experience in the spirits industry. He started his career in New Jersey first managing a small wine shop and then working for a chain of discount beer, wine, and liquor stores as a beer buyer and assistant store manager. After moving to Asheville in 2006, Lou worked for both...

Asheville Brew Blog

Blind Tasting League

Lou Collichio came to Metro Wines with twenty eight years of experience in the spirits industry. He started his career in New Jersey first managing a small wine shop and then working for a chain of discount beer, wine, and liquor stores as a beer buyer and assistant store manager. After moving to Asheville in 2006, Lou worked for both Greenlife Grocery, and Whole Foods as a beer and wine buyer. His passion for all things craft beer started at the dawn of the American craft beer movement and has continued unabated to this day.

Lou says he is a "recovering musician." We haven't heard his music yet but what we do know is that Lou has stories! He plans to share some of his greatest hits with us and you on "Brewing UP a Storm" our beer blog. did you know that Lou was in a 7th grade play with James Gandolfini and lou stole the show? Stay tuned!

Anita Riley is the cellarman at Mystery Brewing in Hillsborough, NC and continues to blog for "Brewing Up a Storm." She holds the title of Certified Beer Server through Cicerone, USA, and is a native of WNC.



Brewing Up a Storm with Jessica Reiser

Brewing Up a Storm with Jessica Reiser

Everyone asks me the same question when they hear that I’m pursuing a career in the craft beer industry, “Don’t you need a beard for that?”

My answer is a resounding “No” followed by a blank stare and awkward silence.  There are actually a lot of women in this industry, and I got to talk with one of them recently!

Everyone, meet Jessica Reiser, Co-owner of Burial Beer in Asheville’s South Slope Brewing District.  She was kind enough to take time out of her cramped schedule to talk with me on the phone. But enough about me, let’s talk about Jessica!

Jessica started Burial in June of 2013 with two other co-owners.  She handles the marketing and PR, event planning, HR, and accounting for the brewery.  This trio moved to Asheville from Seattle, where they had been beer bloggers, gaining an in depth knowledge of the industry and beer styles.  They spent a lot of time visiting other breweries and taking note of what resonated with them, what styles they wanted to make, and what experience they wanted their patrons to have.  Their head brewer also gained several years of commercial brewing experience before the move.

The style that stood out to all of them, and Jessica’s favorite, is the Saison style.  Today about 40% of Burial’s taps are saison taps!  This Belgian, fermentation style is growing in popularity, which is great for Jessica and Burial.  So great, in fact that Burial just expanded their one barrel South Slope brewery to a 10 barrel system, and they will also open a new 30 barrel farmhouse brewery off site next spring!  This new facility will allow Burial to feature more flavor options for their saison-loving patrons as well as to begin canning and distributing down the road.  

I asked Jessica what obstacles she’s faced that are specific to being a woman in the brewing industry.  The hardest part, she said, was juggling being a mom to two young children, ages one and three.  She was quick to point out that this was more specific to owning a business of any sort, not just a brewery.  While her husband faces the same work/life balance struggle, this age in her children’s lives is mommy-focused.  With the two expansion projects in full swing, things tend to stay hectic for her these days.  She said she is looking forward to the near future when the dust settles and Burial can get back to business as usual.  She is also hopeful that she’ll have more employees to delegate to in the not-so-distant future. 

Good luck to Jessica and Burial! We are excited for your success! If you want to learn more about Burial, hop on over to their website

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Beer for Wine Lovers

Beer for Wine Lovers

I hear it all the time: "Oh, I'm just not a beer drinker. I much prefer wine."
I get it. In fact, until a few years ago, I would have said the same thing. I still love wine. It is elegant. It is timeless. I could pair wine with anything. Any. Thing.
But sometimes I'm out at a concert or Thirsty Thursday at the Asheville Tourist Stadium, and all they have is beer. What's a girl to do?
Well, first you have to weigh your options:
A) Cross your arms and pout while all your friends have a good time with or without you.
B) Make an educated leap of faith into the wonderful, and just as delicious, world of beer.
All you need is a little insight and an open mind, and I promise you can find a beer out there that is just as good as the wines you already love.
What kind of wine do you usually drink?


Sauvignon Blanc – Try an IPA
I love SB for its tart, citrusy burst of goodness. Light and refreshing, it's perfect on a hot day with some fruit or anytime with lighter fare like a delicate fish. IPA's (India Pale Ales) are heavily hopped, and do you know what hops taste like? Oranges. Pineapple. Grapefruit.

Chardonnay – Try a Hefeweisen
These German wheat beers are light and creamy with a hint of citrus and floral. If you appreciate a well-crafted Chardonnay with all its nuances, you will certainly enjoy a hefe for all the same reasons. They are very similar in flavor and character, and hefes are usually naturally carbonated, which makes for smaller bubbles and fewer burps.

Viogner – Try a Saison
What comes to mind when you think of Viogner? Fruit and flowers, right? The same is true for Saisons! The secret is in the yeasts! Weird, eh? But each strain of yeast will produce a different aroma, and when it comes to saisons, it's all floral all the way! This style is also known for its fruitiness. Plums, oranges, raspberries...the options are pretty endless.


Pinot Noir – Try a Lambic
These tart and often fruity Belgian beers can come in a variety of styles, so I hesitate to put such a narrow label on them. Find a raspberry or blackberry lambic, close your eyes, and enjoy! In fact, we have a cava rose made from Pinot Noir that makes me think of a raspberry lambic right away. They are that similar.

Malbec – Try a Belgian Dark Stout
I love malbec for its dark fruits, rich texture, hints of cocoa, and sometimes a little smoke or tobacco. A Belgian dark stout can have some or all of these characteristics! Look for subtle hints of plum, banana, and chocolate.

Cabernet or Merlot -Try a Stout
Sometimes you just want something rich. Stouts evoke descriptors like chocolate and coffee because of their rich tannins. Forget the fruit. We're going bold! Want something that goes with a steak? Stout! Want something that can hold its own against a rack of ribs? Stout! Want something that tastes good even after it warms up? Stout! How about to go with that chocolate cake? Guess what? Stout!

But don't take my word for it, come try some of these styles for yourself! That's right, all the fun without the commitment! Metro Wines will be hosting a Beer for Wine Lovers happy hour tasting event on Friday, January 23rd from 5-6:30pm! I can't wait to see some of you there and share some delicious brews with you!

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Women in Brewing: A Few Fun Facts

Women in Brewing:  A Few Fun Facts

What images come to mind when you hear the word "Brewster"? If you're like most of the population, the immediate response has something to do with a beard and overalls. This couldn't be further from the truth! "Brewster" is the technical term for a woman brewer! In fact, making beer, until recent history was always done my women, never by men. Need to know more? Me too! So, I did a little research, and here are five fun facts that I can't keep to myself:

5. The history of women making beer goes back as far as the first written records! Yes, really! Cuniform tablets discovered in Sumeria that contain the story of Gilgamesh also contain stories of women brewers, recipes for various styles of beers, and prayers of thanks for the miracle of fermentation.

4. Women have more taste buds than men, giving us an unfair advantage when it comes to detecting the subtle characters of a finely crafted beverage or picking up on off flavors. Any brewery would be lucky to have (and many do have) at least one woman in their quality control department.

3. Beer is probably the reason civilization began, and women did the brewing! The cultivation of grains for baking and brewing was the catalyst for ancient people to settle down in one spot. Women took sole responsibility for making sure there was enough sweet elixir for everyone.

2. Even in today in remote areas of Africa and some parts of the Amazon, a brow would be raised if men even attempted to brew. Making beer is still very much a woman's job in these regions. So if you're a guy, the best advice is to sit back, relax, and enjoy a homebrew.

1. During the historical witch hunts, many Brewsters were accused of being a witch. Picture it, a boiling kettle, a broom, a cat, a pointed hat – all were used in the making of beer, and all are used in our cartoon representations of witches! The cat protected the grains from would-be attackers like mice and beetles. The ale stake, which doubled as a broom, was a marker of a brewery before reading and writing were common place. When beer was ready to be sold, the Brewster would hang foliage on the ale stake. It was the predecessor of Krispy Kreme's Hot Now neon light. But what about the pointy hats? Those were used in the market to stand out in the crowd! Amazing, right?! Who knew?!

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