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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.

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The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music

Few things pair with local craft beer better than good live music.  In Western North Carolina, we are spoiled with an abundance of both.  It’s no wonder that more breweries are expanding to include live music venues and others are building them into their floor plans from the beginning. Pisgah Brewing in Black Mountain has an outdoor concert venue as well as an indoor stage.  Asheville Brewing Company added the Millroom to accommodate private parties, concerts, and other live performances. Sierra Nevada and New Belgium are both planning to host live music in their East Coast expansions. Oskar Blues in Brevard has teamed up with The Steep Canyon Rangers to create Candaid, a non-profit music festival. Whether you love rock and porters, blue grass and saisons, or reggae and pale ales there’s never a shortage of entertainment and refreshment options. As I began scratching under the surface to see what makes this marriage of libation and orchestration so harmonious I began to realize that the two are more connected than I had ever imagined, and at times even inseparable.

Music and drink both weave people together.  While imbibing can break down the invisible walls that separate us, singing along with a much loved tune gives us a joyous shared experience with friends and strangers that is hard to duplicate.  It is no wonder that singing and nipping have crossed cultural boundaries hand-in-hand to be a part of a variety of religious traditions. We find it in Ancient Greece and Rome in the form of Dionysus and Bacchus, respectively.  We see it in Judaism as the Kiddush and Christianity as Communion. The list goes on, and I won’t bore you with it here, but rest assured almost every tradition around the world has at one time or another included music and drink as important community building activities. As I spoke with brewery representatives from around the area, it was clear that this phenomena of community building was exactly what they hoped to achieve with their space.

Leah Wong Ashburn of Highland Brewing Company was very deliberate in explaining that their expansion, which includes an event space with a stage and a mezzanine, is not intended to be a concert space alone.  Rather, this space would allow Highland to keep their tasting room open to the public while also accommodating private functions like weddings, conferences, trade shows, and yes, concerts. What she and others had observed is that the social thread that they so intently desired to stitch was forcing their hand to pick and choose which patches of community they could incorporate into their tartan on any given day.  When the expansion is complete later this year, Highland will be able to participate more fully with the community than ever before. 

This notion of community is echoed over and over in the brewing industry.  It’s rare to find a brewery in a shiny new building.  More often than not, breweries are repurposing older buildings that have lost their meaning as other industries have moved out of the area or shut their doors for good. Riverbend Malt, Asheville’s very own malt house, and the only maltster in the Southeast, is in high demand as more brewers are seeking out locally grown and malted barley, wheat, and rye for their beers. All of Riverbend’s grains are sourced from North Carolina.  If you watch the tap lists of your favorite brewery closely, you will see that many of them are collaborating with local farmers and seemingly un-beer-related businesses to create new flavors and exciting combinations.  For instance, Burial Brewing’s Skillet Doughnut Stout, which has as its garnish a Vortex doughnut hole.  Or Pisgah Brewing’s Chocolatized that uses French Broad Chocolate’s cocoa nibs to impart all the richness of a decadent torte. In essence, breweries are leading the way in stewardship of their local communities.  They are striving to employ as many local people as possible, not only in their facilities, but throughout the supply chain. Along the way, they are helping support other businesses that are able to grow and thrive because of each other. This doesn’t happen by accident. It is the result of many small decisions to support one another.  

When Jordan Boinest set out to start Newgrass Brewing in Shelby, NC, supporting the local community was first and foremost on her mind.  Having grown up in Cleveland County, she has a familial bond to her surroundings. She isn’t simply starting a business.  She is perpetuating the livelihood of her town. Newgrass chose a facility on the city square that is over one hundred years old and once housed a Hudson’s Department Store for their brewery.  They worked with local contractors on the renovation, local designers to create their logo, and local printers for their business cards and banners. The fabric for their t-shirts is made out of recycled plastic bottles, and the yarn is spun in a mill in Cleveland County. “I think it’ll bring a sense of community and it’ll help tie in all the businesses in town to help create a lively experience in uptown [Shelby],” Jordan says. From inception, Newgrass is as much a music venue as it is a brewery. Steel tanks flank the stage that will soon be home to the area’s surplus of musical artists. As Jordan describes it, Shelby is inseparable from music. As the home town of such notable musicians as Earl Scruggs, Don Gibson, and Patty Loveless, it would be impossible for a Shelby gathering place not to include a stage. Live music brings a crowd to the door, no question.  But the breweries aren’t simply looking out for their own interests by hosting such events. They are doing something far bigger with the instruments they possess. They are creating a harmony and a rhythm that is audible in the community, if only we will take the time to listen for it.

First published in WNC Woman Magazine

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Drink Like a Girl with New Belgium and Nikki Calloway!

Drink Like a Girl with New Belgium and Nikki Calloway!

Metro Wines is the only place to be this Friday, July 24th! From 5-7, we will be hosting New Belgium for a free beer tasting with free live music to start at 5:30!  Come to taste four New Belgium beers including Long Table, their fall seasonal!  

Nikki Calloway brings her sultry blend of jazz, folk and R&B to the shop.  Kick the weekend off with another No Cover Friday at Metro Wines!

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Drink Like A Girl Friday, July 17

The bigger they are, the harder they punch!  This week's tasting features high gravity and boldly flavored big-girl beers!  Here's what I'm pouring:

Chimay Premièré Red

Chimay Red is the oldest of the Chimay beers. It’s coppery color and sweet, fruity taste make this a particularly delightful brown beer.

Westmalle Tripel

A clear, golden yellow Trappist beer that undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle (9,5% alcohol). It is a complex beer with a fruity aroma and a nice nuanced hop scent. It is soft and creamy in the mouth, with a bitter touch carried by the fruity aroma. An exceptional beer, with a great deal of finesse and elegance. And with a splendid long aftertaste.

North Coast Brewing Old Stock Ale 2015

Like a fine port, Old Stock Ale is intended to be laid down. With an original gravity of over 1.100 and a generous hopping rate, Old Stock Ale is well-designed to round out and mellow with age. It's brewed with classic Maris Otter malt and Fuggles and East Kent Goldings hops, all imported from England.

Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose

Our Blood Orange Gose is a tart, refreshing wheat ale that is kettle-soured with lactobacillus and brewed with sea salt and coriander.  However, unlike traditional versions of the style, ours features liberal additions of blood oranges during fermentation.  This imparts tangy citrus notes that complement the champagne-like flavors, creating a complex and sessionable ale perfect for any occasion.

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Big Bottle Drink Like a Girl This Friday 5-7

This week's free tasting features Big Bottles at Metro Wines!  Try four of our beers that are rarely open for sampling.  From local favorites to authentic Belgians, we have them all!  You don't want to miss out on this opportunity to try these beers before you buy them!

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Nantahala Brewing Co.
Dirty Girl Blonde Ale

Your gateway to craft beer. Light, crisp and lager-ishly refreshing.  Brilliantly clear with sparkling carbonation, our dirty girl is a light easy - drinking - American blonde. Crisp and refreshing throughout with hints of noble hops in the aroma.

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Delirium
Deliria

Brewed by women, this heavy blonde beer has 8.5% ABV and second fermentation in the bottle. This beer has a pale blonde colour and fine, white creamy and lacing foam. The aroma is very balanced, with a fruity and flowery background and a first impression of chardonnay,that further evolves to a spicy, mild hop aroma. The flavour is very balanced with fruity notes of apple and chardonnay grapes. Deliria has a fine, mildly bitter aftertaste and a wonderful, round mouth feeling with a nice evolution.
Specialty beer, brewed once a year on the occasion of International Women’s Day

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Fullsteam Brewery
Rocket Science IPA

Rocket Science is a true-to-style American IPA inspired by the quest for harmony. We longed for an IPA that exuded confidence in its restraint, that paired well with any meal, and that wouldn’t destroy your palate. We found equilibrium in the optimal balance of sweet malts and bitter hops, an IPA both refreshing and refined.

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Lindemans
Framboise Lambic

Magnificent aroma, delicate palate of raspberries with undertones of fruity acidity; elegant, sparkling clean taste, with inviting raspberry supported by lambic complexity. Deep reddish-purple color with pink head.

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Drink Like a Girl Independence Day Edition

We have a patriotic line-up this week on the tasting that is sure to please any crowd.  It doesn't get more American than locally and regionally crafted beers to go along with your Independence Day cookout!  I hope y'all enjoy this collection as much as I do.  Watermelon, rebellion, and a bald eagle, oh my!  These beers are great on their own, but it sure is fun to have them all in the same cooler!  Come by Metro Wines tonight from 5-7 to taste these before you buy them for your guests!

Deep River Brewing

Double D’s Watermelon Lager

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Deep River Brewing Company's Double D's Watermelon Lager is a bright crisp lager that has a hint of fresh Johnston County watermelon infused flavor that is perfect for those hot North Carolina days. This refreshing brew is named after the owner's fathers who are both named 'Don' and are both fans of traditional lager style beers. 1st Place Winner in the 2011 Piedmont Brewer's Cup for Fruit Beer & 2014 Silver Award Winner at Carolina Championship of Beer 4.5% ABV

Hi-Wire Brewing

Uprisin’

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A traditional wheat ale with big ester notes of banana – backed by tones of clove and peppercorn. Brewed with 100% NC grown wheat from Riverbend Malt House in Asheville, NC, this beer is sure to become your summer favorite. 

French Broad Brewing

13 Rebels ESB

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Named for the 13 colonies, our Extra Special Bitter features generous Goldings profile and a complex malt palate.

Nantahala Brewing

Noonday IPA

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An IPA brewed with pale malts, generous amounts of crystal malts and an abundance of whole hops. The hops are showcased through a hop back process, which along with dry hopping, produces a piney, grapefruit and floral aroma and helps contribute to a crisp, dry finish.

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Educating the Next Generation of Brewers

Educating the Next Generation of Brewers

When I began my education in Brewing, Distillation, and Fermentation (BDF) at AB Tech’s Craft Beverage Institute of the Southeast I didn’t know what to expect.  I had been told by several people (not affiliated with beer or the program in any way) that a beard is a prerequisite for the program.  I had been homebrewing for only a year, but I had only taken my first actual homebrewing class a few months prior.  I had toured a lot of facilities around town, and talked with a lot of brewery employees about what their jobs were like.  They all spoke in jargon that I didn’t yet understand, about equipment that I didn’t know how to operate, to perform a process that I only understood on a very basic level.

 I knew that I love the process of gentle manipulation of ingredients and waiting patiently while the mash did its thing and while the yeasts did theirs.  There’s a Zen-like quality to that. What I didn’t understand is exactly what all that waiting was for and why we needed to wait so much.  I knew most of all that I had a lot to learn.  I spent a year working on the general education portion of the degree while I waited for enrollment into the program to open.  I trained in the school gym so that I would be able to lift kegs and bags of grain.  I was prepared in every way I could prepare myself.  But nothing could have prepared me to meet Brewmaster, Jeff Irvin. 

He is what you would expect from a college level instructor: highly educated with an impressive resume.  He earned his undergraduate degree in biology from Iowa State University and went on to complete the Master Brewers program at the University of California – Davis.  Afterward, he earned the title of Diploma Brewer from the Guild of Brewing and Distilling in England.  He spent ten years at Olde Main Brewing Company in Ames, IA as their Brewmaster, building their processes and recipes, managing the facility and training employees.  Somewhere along the way, he was also a rescue and recovery diver for a Sherriff’s Department, and worked in a lab to research the inner cochlear implant that allows people with hearing disabilities regain their hearing.  Fascinating, am I right? He had to give up that work when he developed an allergy to the mice he was working with.

Having a background like that, you may expect him to be serious, maybe even bordering on dull, but I can assure you that dull is not in his vocabulary.  In the brewing world there is a lot of German, Belgian, and British influence.  Now imagine learning this history with the respective accent to accompany the material!  There is nothing dry or dull about Irvin’s teaching style!  He is one of the most engaging instructors I’ve had.  In our Brewing Calculations class, we were assigned the task of calculating the terminal velocity of a yeast cell based on its diameter, the viscosity of the wort (unfermented beer), and the pull of gravity.  To mix it up a little, we had to do these calculations for Mars!  It’s impossible to be bored in his class. 

When I sat down to interview him for this story, there was a joke answer (sometimes two) for every real answer. Knowing Jeff, or “Puff” as he is most commonly called, I most wanted to find out what made him move halfway across the country and leave his position at Olde Main to teach at AB Tech’s CBI.  “Well, the money, of course!  Isn’t that why everyone teaches?” When we both stopped laughing, he said that he was looking for a way to challenge himself that he hadn’t had in a long time.  There was no way to grow any further at Olde Main, he was already holding the highest position in the brewery, and after ten years, the challenge was gone. When he interviewed and was subsequently offered the job at AB Tech, the BDF program was a clean slate.  The department head, Chef Scott Adams, had the course names, but the curriculum still needed to be written.  Textbooks needed to be sourced, and equipment needed to be purchased and installed. 

Irvin saw an opportunity to grow and use his education that he hadn’t had in a long while.  He recalls packing his house and moving just two weeks after the job offer came.  Two years later his first group of students have just recently graduated and are going on to promising careers in the brewing industry. In the first graduating class there are four women.  Two more (myself included) are scheduled to graduate in 2016, and as it stands, five women are set to begin the program this fall. While several of these women are focused on the brewing aspect of the industry, several are interested in other positions such as the quality assurance lab, marketing, sales, distribution, packaging, and brewery management.  All of these are skills that the associate’s degree program offers.

As for the beard prerequisite I heard so much about, it’s a myth.  Women represent about 25% of the BDF students, and Jeff reports that completion rates and GPA’s are right in line with their male classmates.  I asked him what he would say to a woman considering this education path, and immediately he said, “Do it!  Sign up now!” The twenty four seats for this fall are filled, but as he was also quick to mention, you can still get on the waiting list, and plenty of people have gotten a seat that were on the waiting list. He would like to see more women involved with the program. There is plenty of room in this industry for women.  While some of the graduates are heading to other parts of the state or country, several are staying in the Asheville area. Their education makes them highly attractive to prospective employers that struggle to find skilled labor in this region. Until very recently there were only a couple of schools you could attend to get this kind of training, and they were all on the West or Midwest. 

Irvin admits that his teaching style is more industry minded than academic focused.  He wants to see his students show a working knowledge of the equipment and techniques rather than simply memorizing books.  “Just because you’ve read a book on how to drive a car does not mean I’m going to give you my car keys,” he says.  Brewing equipment and tanks are expensive, and if you are careless, the mistakes can be costly.  He points out that he views his job as preparing students to be good employees in a brewery, and teaches at AB Tech in much the same way taught at Olde Main when he trained new employees or gave tours to the public.  

I asked Puff what his hopes for the CBI are. “To take over the world, develop mind control, and to be a Bond villain.  I used to want to be Bond, but I think I have a better chance of making it as a villain.”  The serious answer that followed was much more down to Earth. “To become the destination for this kind of education in the Southeast.  We are looking to grow our continuing education and workforce training programs.”  I always ask people I interview what their favorite beer is.  Most have a specific brand or style they like best, and it usually says something about what kind of personality they are, so I was anxious to hear Puff’s response. “Free beer.  The only beer that is better than free beer is the beer you win. I’m hoping to strategically place graduates all over the country so I can always have free beer.”

The last question I asked Irvin was what he would do if he suddenly developed an allergy to beer. He teared up, his tone softened, and he responded, “That’s the saddest thing anyone has ever said to me.”

This article first appeared in WNC Woman Magazine. 

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Brewing Up a Storm with Asheville Grit!

Brewing Up a Storm with Asheville Grit!

It's official!  I am now blogging for Asheville Grit!  I hope you all will follow Brewing Up A Storm there!  You can find Brewing Up A Storm as well as AVL Wine Geek,  Andy's wine blog  here.  

If you haven't heard of Asheville Grit yet, here's what they're all about: Asheville Grit is a collective of unique, independent local voices online, all in one place. Asheville Grit wants to be your locally based, go-to place for finding the most interesting Asheville opinions online. We want to show off all the things that make our town and those that live in it so unique. And we want you to be a part of it.

 

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Drink Like a Girl: Beer Wars Edition! Friday, June 26th

Drink Like a Girl: Beer Wars Edition!  Friday, June 26th

This Friday we are hosting Beer Wars!  This is a discussion panel event inspired by the documentary film of the same name.  For more information on the event go here: Beer Wars: Brewed in America Documentary Film and Discussion Panel We will still have our weekly beer tasting, this week the beers will all be representative of our panelists!  There is still time to get your tickets! Go here for tickets!

 Hope you'll join us for the discussion as well as the tasting. Here's what we'll be pouring this week:

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Black Mountain Ciderworks Zephyrus - Our spring cider, made with candied orange peel and fresh ginger, named for the west wind that brings in the spring.  Zephyrus offers a velvety orange-oil caress followed by a spicy, connecting slap of ginger.    

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Deep River Twisted River Wit – Deep River Brewing Company's Twisted River Wit is a full flavor Belgian Witbier with hints of orange and citrus notes weaved with a Belgian yeast strain! Great for those warm summer days. 4.5% ABV & 11 IBUs

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Green Man ESB – A malty amber ale boasting rich toasted and caramel flavors, Green Man ESB is one of our award-winning signature brews. Our blend of authentic British malts and hops creates a nutty aroma, full body, and a sweet finish. Prepare yourself for a truly exceptional interpretation of a traditional English style.

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Hi-Wire Hi-Pitch IPA – A western North Carolina West Coast IPA. Huge citrus hop aromas make this a hop head’s dream. Its full body balances well with the bitterness and allows the drinker to enjoy its depth of hop flavors and aromas.

I am looking forward to presenting some of my favorite beers to you all as well as some of my favorite people!  See you tomorrow!

 

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No, really...it's worth it!

I'm going to go a little off topic, but not really.  I've had a lot of questions about what I want to be when I grow up. With only one year between me and graduation, the pressure is on to pick a direction, a position to specialize in, a company to work for, etc.  As I have been performing a variety of tasks in the brewery during my internship this summer, the answers to all of these questions are coming into focus. 

I have decided that I want to be in the cellar.  I love brewing, but that's only a small piece of the puzzle.  I enjoy the lab work because it's mentally stimulating, but I wouldn't be able to be physically engaged.  It would feel like a desk job to me, and I am simply too wrestless for that. The cellar is where the beer is kept between brewing and packaging.  This process takes about a month, give or take.  This is where information from the lab gets turned into real world application.  

 Are you ready for a baseball analogy? Because it's going to happen whether you're ready or not! 

Brewing is like pitching.  It get's the action started.  Everybody notices the pitcher.  They are front and center.

The lab is like outfield.  They work hard, but their work is often overlooked.  If they weren't there, though, the game couldn't be played at all.

The cellar is like shortstop.  This is where the action is.  This conects the outfield with the infield. If you want to make the play, you have to have a good shortstop.

I have made this analogy to several people over the last couple of months, so when I heard this report this morning, I knew that I had to share it with you.  I hope you see the connection, even though it isn't really about brewiing...but it is...but it isn't...Oh, just listen, ok?

NPR Morning Edition Teen, Female Shortstop Could be Signed to MLB

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Pam Wellman, Tour Guide to Happiness

Pam Wellman, Tour Guide to Happiness

Happiness is a moving target.  What delights one person will not necessarily please the next.  Our definition of bliss is constantly evolving.  Ask a teenager, a twenty-something, a new mother, a retiree what makes them happy, and you will get a spectrum of answers that are as different as PBR and a barrel aged, fruit and cocoa nib infused sour!  Sometimes we just need to stop and smell the floral, malty aromas of a well-made craft beverage and appreciate the weeks of hard work that has gone into making each sip a work of art. Here in Beer City, I think it’s safe to say that if you are seeking nirvana, a brewery tour is a good place to start…or start over…or stop worrying about finding happiness like one searches for their car keys! There is nothing quite like a glass of liquid perfection in front of you while your fun-loving, knowledgeable brewery tour guide takes you behind the scenes of Asheville’s finest creators of good times.  I wanted to really dive into what these tours are all about, and what it’s like to be an Ambassador of Beverages, so I met up with Pam Wellman to talk about her experience as a tour guide first for Highland Brewing, and most recently with Asheville Brewery Tours.

  I can see right away why she makes a great tour guide.  I had never met her prior to our meeting, but she has that personality that allows her to instantly befriend anyone.  I was surprised when she admitted that she still gets nervous before a tour.  I wouldn’t have filed her under the ‘shy’ category, and I wondered how that dynamic plays out while her guests are having beers and lowering their inhibitions.  “I get energized by the crowds,” she said, “After that, it just flows.” Pam says that this is also the stage where the more seasoned beer drinkers are testing her knowledge the most.  As a girl, they sometimes assume that she isn’t as knowledgeable as her bearded coworkers. “By the second stop, they usually run out of questions, and I pass the test.  Then they just treat me like a unicorn!”  

She starts every tour by getting to know everyone in the group and where they are on the spectrum of beer drinkers.  Most of her guests range between “I hate beer; I’m just here with my friends” to “I’m a Master Cicerone, and I know everything”. A Cicerone is to beer as a Sommelier is to wine.  The challenges each person brings is what Pam loves so much about her job.  “I love to convert new beer drinkers that thought they hated beer, and teach them how to order a beer they will love like a nerd.” They taste different beers and she walks them through some of the beer geek vocabulary. At the next stop, Pam talks more about how beer is made.  They get to go behind the scenes and learn what each vessel does and why it is important to the finished beer. 

Most of her guests are from out of town, and they want to learn. Only a small minority are going on these tours for the drinking alone. “It’s kind of like I’m letting them in on a really cool secret…  Some of our breweries are tucked away where they would never find them on their own.”  Add to that that many of the owners of the breweries will come out to greet a tour group, and they know the guides by name.  That’s an experience that you would never get if you just walked into a tasting room on your own.

  At the third brewery, Pam likes to talk about the history of beer, the different styles, and their origins.  Her favorite styles are the wild ferments.  Saisons and sour beers use a “wild” yeast that imparts a floral quality (in the case of saisons) or a tartness (sour beers) to the brew. These are completely foreign styles to a lot of folks, so it’s fun to introduce them to something new.  While these styles have a rich European history, American brewers are only recently (in the last decade or so) introducing them to the market.  Nowadays you can find at least one beer on most breweries’ line-ups that have been produced in these styles, with some breweries like Burial and Wicked Weed’s Funkatorium specializing in wild fermentation.  By the fourth and final stop, the group is usually getting a little buzzed, and the tone gets a lot less formal.  “We usually just hang out, and I answer any questions they still have.”  That’s another important piece of this job for her.  “Beer is interpersonal.”  She points out not only how a pint brings individuals together, but also how breweries work together to make collaboration beers and form brewers’ alliances. 

By the end of a tour, a group of strangers has become a group of new friends. Beer has a way of loosening the grip of a stressful day at work, rush hour traffic, hectic family schedules, NASDAQ trends, and that client you want to impress.  Some of those stresses are hard to let go of, and we allow them to get in the way of being our best selves to the people around us. Sometimes we need a tour guide to remind us that it takes weeks, and sometimes months, of hard, careful work to make a well-crafted beer that is designed solely for our enjoyment and for no other purpose to make us stop and smell the subtle nuances in our glass.  Whether the glass is half empty or half full is irrelevant.  Either way, it is just the right level for swirling to release the aromas and make the flavors more vivid!  This is the practice of being present and fully enjoying what is in front of you.  Whether it is a glass of bubbly goodness, a gorgeous mountain view, or your closest friends and family, enjoying the simple pleasures of life is a good first step toward true happiness! Cheers to that!

-First published in WNC Woman Magazine's May Issue "The Path To Happiness"

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You're invited! Beer Wars Discussion Panel

You're invited! Beer Wars Discussion Panel

Brewing Up a Storm and Metro Wines are hosting Beer Wars on Friday, June 26th at 6:00pm.  This event is based on the documentary film by the same name, which takes an in depth look at craft brands trying to find placement on the shelves next to the macro brew giants.  We will see clips from the film, and get firsthand information on how this war plays out in our local area from a panel of experts. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased ahead of time at http://metrowinesasheville.com/store/?p=1132

Meet the Panelists! All of these experts have unique perspectives on bringing craft brands to market:

Erica Bear, Marketing Manager, Sugar Creek Brewing

Jordan Boinest, Owner, Newgrass Brewing

Kenny Capps, Owner, Kudzu Branding

Cory Cunningham, Specialty Beer Manager, Skyland Distributing

Cliff Mori, Owner, Brew-ed Tours

Lauren Percilla, Chaos Wrangler ,Next Generation Beer Company

Jennifer Pittman, Liason , Green Man Brewing

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We Have a Case of Deliria Over Here!

We Have a Case of Deliria Over Here!

Deliria just landed in the beer department!  We just got it yesterday, and it's already selling fast!  Don't miss out. Was this beer made for me or what?!

Deliria beer
 
Brewed by women, this heavy blonde beer has 8.5% ABV and second fermentation in the bottle. This beer has a pale blonde colour and fine, white creamy and lacing foam. The aroma is very balanced, with a fruity and flowery background and a first impression of chardonnay, that further evolves to a spicy, mild hop aroma. The flavour is very balanced with fruity notes of apple and chardonnay grapes. Deliria has a fine, mildly bitter aftertaste and a wonderful, round mouth feeling with a nice evolution.
 
Specialty beer, brewed once a year on the occasion of International Women’s Day
 
 
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Drink Like A Girl: Bonus Round! Friday, June 19th from 5-7

Drink Like A Girl: Bonus Round! Friday, June 19th from 5-7

This week's Drink Like a Girl is not to be missed!  We have four, count them four Westbrook beers, plus Mystery Brewing's barrel aged, peach infused Faulkner, plus Nikki Calloway providing live music!  Stop whatever you're doing and get down here for this!

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About Nikki from Website: Nikki Calloway is a new Asheville, NC artist by way of New Orleans, by way of Atlanta, by way of S. Carolina, Ohio, Germany…. She is a musician, healer, teacher who finds herself guided by Spirit to move around like a minstrel to express what is in her heart, and to inspire others to do the same. A licensed counselor, Nikki has found music to be the path to Peace for many and believes pursuing her musical calling to be an even more important part of her life’s work. Nikki describes herself as “so many things when it comes to ethnicity” and influences. Her original influences in her youth were all R&B but a little later on in life, when friends introduced her to folk music, Nikki was inspired to break her boundaries and to “develop and go beyond what I had been taught I should be.” Her musicianship grew when she began honoring everything that she was interested in and capable of doing. When Nikki really started exploring who she is and what she can do as an artist, she found herself to be “a folk/R&B/acoustic singer/songwriter with a sultry jazz flavor in there.” She credits the Indigo Girls as her biggest inspirations and guides because their music “speaks of compassion and gratitude, and social justice,” all very important themes for Nikki as well.

 

Take a listen HERE.

 

Now, about the beers:

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From Westbrook's website: 

About Westbrook: Westbrook Brewing is a craft brewery in Mt. Pleasant, SC. Our mission is to make the most interesting, drinkable, and generally awesome beer possible. We love experimenting with different ingredients and brewing techniques, and we hope you’ll have as much fun drinking our beer as we do making it.

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WHITE THAI

5% ABV     16 IBU

This beer, inspired by the flavors of Southeast Asian cuisine, is a twist on the classic Belgian witbier style. Instead of the traditional coriander and orange peel spicing regimen, we add fresh lemongrass, ginger root, and a dash of Sorachi Ace hops. The result is a wonderfully refreshing ale with notes of lemon candy, citrus fruit, and a slight spiciness from the ginger. Best served at 45˚F in a tulip or wine glass.

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ONE CLAW RYE PALE ALE

5.5% ABV     IBU

One Claw is a rye pale ale made with a heavy handful of malted rye and scoops of our favorite hop varieties. One Claw is dedicated to those who bring a Westbrook home, to a friend’s, or anywhere a delicious beer is needed. Cheers to you, fellow One Claw!

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IPA

6.8% ABV     65 IBU

A base of pale, Munich, and Carapils malts is just enough to contain the massive hop flavor and aroma packed into this highly drinkable IPA. A blend of four American hop varieties is added four times in the kettle and twice in the fermentor for a complex and layered hop experience. Best served at 45-50˚F in a tulip or English style pint glass.

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GOSE

4% ABV     5 IBU

This is our interpretation of Gose (pronounced “Gose-uh”), a traditional German-style sour wheat beer brewed with coriander and salt. Once nearly extinct, this very refreshing style is making a comeback.


If you missed my post about the Faulkner earlier this week, you can read it here: Faulkner on the taste Friday, June 19th!Faulkner on the taste Friday, June 19th!

 

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Faulkner on the taste Friday, June 19th!

Faulkner on the taste Friday, June 19th!

We are thrilled to introduce Mystery Brewing’s “Faulkner” to you all on Friday, June 19th!  Faulkner is the fourth in the Literary Greats Series, which features barrel aged, wild fermented, sour, and spirit-aged beers.

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What makes Faulkner unique?

Glad you asked!  From Mystery’s own description: “This beer was aged on Brettanomyces Bruxellensis [the same yeast that gives some red wines the distinctive horse barn character] in red wine barrels for 12 months. 350 pounds of fresh Kalawi Farms Peaches were added to the barrels and were aged for another 10 months. Altogether tart, refreshing, and peachy.”

What makes Faulkner unique as an author?

Here’s what his Wikipedia page says:

William Cuthbert Faulkner (/ˈfɔːlknər/, September 25, 1897 – July 6, 1962) was an American writer and Nobel Prize laureate fromOxford, Mississippi. Faulkner wrote novels, short stories, a play, poetry, essays and screenplays. He is primarily known for his novels and short stories set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, based on Lafayette County, Mississippi, where he spent most of his life.[1]

Faulkner is one of the most celebrated writers in American literature generally and Southern literature specifically. Though his work was published as early as 1919, and largely during the 1920s and 1930s, Faulkner was relatively unknown until receiving the 1949Nobel Prize in Literature, for which he became the only Mississippi-born Nobel laureate. Two of his works, A Fable (1954) and his last novel The Reivers (1962), won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.[2] In 1998, the Modern Library ranked his 1929 novel The Sound and the Fury sixth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century; also on the list were As I Lay Dying (1930) and Light in August (1932). Absalom, Absalom! (1936) is often included on similar lists.

So why does Mystery Brewing name their beers after authors, characters, and literary references? 

Just as we suspected! Behind every great man, there is a great woman!  Cue Sarah Ficke!

Historian/Librarian

Sarah Ficke is an English Professor by day, but by night (and at other spare moments) she is Mystery’s official historian and librarian, tracking down the people, places, and recipes that give Mystery its unique historical and literary flavor and managing the taproom library. She also happens to be married to Erik [owner of Mystery Brewing]. Read more about Sarah here http://www.marymount.edu/Home/Contact-Us/Directory?profileid=75

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Brewing Up a Storm with Katie Smith

Brewing Up a Storm with Katie Smith

For Katie Smith, brewing is a family tradition.  Her uncles, brother, and father are all beer enthusiasts.  As long as she can remember, there have been kegorators and homebrew kits as part of the family landscape. But Katie didn’t immediately go into brewing.  She explored several career options before she found what fit.  A dancer since childhood, she seriously considered pursuing the stage prior to enrolling in nursing school.  Soon after AB Tech and Blue Ridge both announced brewing programs.  There was no question that she had found her calling. Her fondness of craft beer, especially Vienna Lager, suddenly became a career path.  She was already bartending at Twin Leaf Brewing in Asheville’s South Slope, so transitioning into the brewhouse was inevitable.  After only a few classes at Blue Ridge, Katie was ready to roll her sleeves up and start brewing, making her one of the youngest brewers in Asheville at only twenty-three. “I had to choose between the classroom and gaining experience.  I went for the experience,” she said.

Smith credits Highland Brewing and Leah Wong Ashburn as sources of inspiration.  She says growing up in Asheville and watching Highland’s growth over the years has given her a sense of pride in the brewing industry.  Highland’s success has paved the way for a lot of breweries to get where they are today, and for more people to go into the field.  In fact, it’s a cycle that is repeated throughout the brewing scene in Asheville. “Katie’s natural positive energy is a great example of what draws more good people to craft brewing,” says Leah Wong Ashburn, President of Highland Brewing.

I asked Katie if she had experienced any disadvantages as a woman in the beer industry.  “Some,” she said, “but I think it has more to do with me being so young, rather than just being female.” She went on to say that she certainly feels like she’s under a microscope, and that there seems to be more pressure on her to perform than her older counterparts. “On the other hand, I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of great people,” because of her unique position.  “I get a lot of support, and there is a lot of enthusiasm for what I’m doing.” Which begs the question, what is Katie doing next? This spring she released her Hibiscus Wit, the first in a series of flower inspired beers.  She’s doing a lot of research as well as consulting with Todd from Fonta Flora and Tim from Burial to create a line of beers she can truly call her own.

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Congratulations Anita Riley!

From Gina's Desk:

For those of you who just know Anita Riley from working wine at our shop, she is also, in fact mostly, about beer!  We at MetroWines are so fortunate to have Anita working with us.  Anita has brought the world of beer to us and our customers in a fun and informative way. But her accomplishments go well beyond the MetroWines door. See press release below for details:

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MetroWines is proud to announce that Anita Riley, host of "Brewing UP a Storm" blog (http://www.metrowinesasheville.com/brew-blog) and events and Beer Buyer at MetroWines, has received two scholarships and has been named to both The Dean's List and The President's List at AB Tech.

 
Anita studies Brewing, Distillation, and Fermentation at The Craft Beverage Institute of the South East at AB Tech. She holds the title of Certified Beer Server through Cicerone, USA, and is a native of WNC.
 
"Anita shows amazing promise for Asheville," said Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. "Anyone who can juggle being a full time student, a full time single parent and almost a full time employee at a busy retail shop can probably do anything!"
 
Recently, Anita received The Corman Family Scholarship awarded to an achieving brewing student and The Lavender Fund Scholarship presented to a single parent.
 
Anita was been named to The Dean's List for the Spring, Summer and Fall of 2014, an honor that requires a 3.75 GPA, and to The President's List for Spring 2015, for students with a 4.0 GPA.
 
Contact: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
http://www.metrowinesasheville.com/
 
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Beer Blind Tasting League June 17th 6:30

Beer Blind Tasting League June 17th 6:30

Beer Blind Tasting League is around the corner!  If you haven’t attended one of these events yet, this is your chance!  Join us Wednesday, June 17th at 6:30. What is Beer Blind Tasting League?  Glad you asked! 

Beer Blind Tasting League is the best drinking game around!  Learn how to assess beers by their appearance, aroma, flavor, and texture like a Cicerone (think Sommelier for beer)! Andy will choose and pour four beers, so even I won’t know what beers are in the glasses. I’ll walk you through how to identify which grains, which hops, and maybe even which yeast was used to create the brews.  We'll put those clues together to determine what style of beer we're drinking.  Don’t worry there is no judgement and we assume from the beginning that we are all completely wrong!  Right or wrong, it really doesn’t matter when you’re tasting beer!  

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased in the store or online here:

https://metrowinesasheville.com/store/product/blind-tasting-league-tickets-1/

I hope to see you all there!

Cheers!

Anita

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Drink Like a Girl Friday June 12th 5-7pm

Parting is such sweet sorrow!  The kids are saying good-bye to the school year, and we are saying good-bye to some really great beers!  They don't have to go home, but they can't stay here!  It's a Last Call tasting this week!  Come and try these gems before they are gone for good... or at least a while!  We are letting these go at crazy low prices: $1/beer! $4 four packs! $6 six packs...you get the picture! This is only a sample of the beers included in the special!  Come see the selection for yourself!

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Appalachian Mountain Brewery

Honey Badger Blonde

An ode to the American Blonde, this award-winning light bodied ale is a beer for all seasons. The Honey Badger is brewed with orange zest to add additional citrus notes to complement the light hop aroma. The clean and crisp mouthfeel is followed by just a hint of sweetness from local North Carolina wildflower honey. While best enjoyed by a cool mountain river in the summer, this blonde is delicious no matter where, no matter when. You could say a Honey Badger doesn’t give a …

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Erdinger

Hefeweizen

Erdinger Hefeweizen is not only the undisputed classic in the Erdinger product range, it is also quite simply the wheat beer par excellence.

It is brewed using fine yeast according to a traditional recipe and, of course, in strict accordance with the Bavarian Purity Law. Even today, the beer is still bottle-fermented in the traditional way; it takes three to four weeks for Erdinger Hefeweizen 'with fine yeast' to mature.

Only the finest ingredients are used in its production. Years of experience and constant quality checks guarantee the beer's unmistakable flavor.

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Appalachian Mountain Brewery

Long Leaf IPA

Taking its name from the toast of the Old North State, this amber IPA cheers with a white head, citrus aroma, and an intense, resins hop flavor that will linger on your palate.

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Schmaltz Brewing Company

Hop Manna

Hop Manna is the answer to hop heads’ prayers for a delicious IPA bearing floral and citrus goodness. At 65 IBUs and 6.8% alcohol, Hop Manna IPA is crafted to provide session after session of hop nourishment, from our Tribe to yours. 

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Drink Like a Girl Friday from 5-7

Summer time is here!  The schools are letting out this coming week.  Make sure you aren't stuck at home with the kiddos and no beverages!  Come by the shop on Friday, June 5th from 5-7 to taste four summer staples.  There's quite a variety, so get your taste buds ready!  Here's how the brewers describe their beers:

Deep River Brewing

Double D’s Watermelon Lager

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Deep River Brewing Company's Double D's Watermelon Lager is a bright crisp lager that has a hint of fresh Johnston County watermelon infused flavor that is perfect for those hot North Carolina days. This refreshing brew is named after the owner's fathers who are both named 'Don' and are both fans of traditional lager style beers. 1st Place Winner in the 2011 Piedmont Brewer's Cup for Fruit Beer & 2014 Silver Award Winner at Carolina Championship of Beer 4.5% ABV

Oskar Blues

Dale’s Pale Ale

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America’s first hand-canned craft beer is a voluminously hopped mutha that delivers a hoppy nose, assertive-but-balanced flavors of pale malts and hops from start to finish.

Green Man Brewing

ESB

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A malty amber ale boasting rich toasted and caramel flavors, Green Man ESB is one of our award-winning signature brews. Our blend of authentic British malts and hops creates a nutty aroma, full body, and a sweet finish. Prepare yourself for a truly exceptional interpretation of a traditional English style.

Green Man Brewing

Wayfarer

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Perfect for summertime, Green Man’s easy drinking IPA suits every activity you fancy. This cool ale has a rockin’ citrus aroma and a laid-back finish that is ideal for longer days and warm nights. So pull your hair back, drop the top and put those Wayfarers on, baby.

I'm thrilled to pour these beers for you!  While you're in the shop, stop by the bar for the Rose' Buffet!  Read more about that here http://www.ashevilleschoolofwine.com/blog/entry/drink-the-pink-why-you-should-be-drinking-rose

See you tomorrow at Metro Wines!

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Beer Wars: Brewed in America Documentary Film and Discussion Panel

Beer Wars: Brewed in America Documentary Film and Discussion Panel

I am thrilled to announce that Movie Night is returning to Metro Wines on Friday,  June 26th at 6pm with Beer Wars: Brewed in America, a documentary film about the struggle of craft brewers to get their product on the retail shelf. We will follow the film with a question and answer discussion panel of industry insiders including brewers, distributors, and marketers that have unique perspectives of the Asheville craft beer landscape. We will peel the cover off of the fascinating world of the three tier system and get a great look inside!  Find out all that goes into getting  the beers you know and love make into the market. 

"Beer Wars: Brewed in America, is an eye-opening, funny and righteously infuriating documentary by first-time filmmaker Anat Baron. Her film (think of it as Suds: A Love Story) is also a pretty damning indictment of not just the beer industry but contemporary unfettered unregulated capitalism's disturbing excesses."
- Box Office Magazine

Tickets are $10 + tax and includes entry to the movie and following discussion as well as one beverage. Parking is easy and free at Metro Wines.

Follow  this link to get your tickets before they sell out!  http://metrowinesasheville.com/store/?p=1132

 

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