Metro Wines Blogs

Metro Wines Asheville, NC


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 f...or 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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"Freaky Good!" Drink Like a Girl Friday, September 11

What do you do when you have a bunch of amazingly good beers on the shelf just looking at you?  Well, taste them of course! Here's what you have to look forward to this Friday:

Shmaltz & Terrapin Collaboration

Reunion Ale

Belgian style ale brewed with Pumpkin, Chocolate, Cocoa Nibs, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Ginger, and Mexican Chili Pepper. 

Teaming up with Terrapin Beer Co. for the fifth time, Shmaltz Brewing returns with Reunion '15.  For 2015, Reunion was exclusively brewed at Shmaltz in Upstate, NY with Terrapin Brewmaster "Spike" Buckowski traveling from Georgia to NY to help brew the latest collaboration. Each year, we brew Reunion in memory of our dear friend - Virginia MacLean. Virginia lost her battle with Multiple Myeloma in 2007. It was her wish that we continue to raise funds and awareness on behalf of The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research www.imbcr.org 

DuClaw Brewing

Dirty Little Freak

Dirty Little Freak Coconut Caramel Chocolate Brown Ale, first brewed in 2014, takes the traditional American Brown Ale and gives it a sensual new twist – Coconut! This medium-bodied, 5.8% abv brown ale is a feast for the senses from its dominant blend of warm, roasted malt, coconut, caramel, and chocolate flavors barely restrained by a gentle hop bite, to its tantalizingly satisfying finish. But if you submit to our Dirty Little Freak, be warned: there is no safe word.

Catawba Brewing 

Astral Bootie Beer

The kayaking dictionary defines the term “boot” as “to leave one’s overturned boat and swim away to safety”.  Those grand exits are often celebrated with the paddler consuming a beer served from their own whitewater shoe.  In Western NC, consumption of the “Bootie Beer” has become an respected ritual.  Catawba Brewing Co. teamed up with Asheville’s own Astral Designs, manufacturers of the market’s finest whitewater paddling shoes, to honor tradition via the Astral Bootie Beer.  This sessionable, 4.5% ABV Pale Ale is meticulously cobbled together from three different malt varieties for body, and Citra and Amarillo hops for bright tropical and stone fruit flavors and aromas.  The next time you paddlers are faced with a swim, feel free to go sans-shoe and consume Astral Bootie Beer straight from the can.

Wicked Weed Brewing

Freak of Nature Double IPA

Freak of Nature Double IPA is our hoppiest ale. The focus of this beer was to create a hop delivery vehicle. We dry hop this beer at a rate of almost four pounds of hops per barrel. The resulting blend of dank and citrus forward hops make for a palate changing experience. Hopheads, rejoice. This is your beer.

 

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Drink Like a Girl Labor {Day Edition} September 4 5-7pm

Who’s ready for Labor Day weekend?!  I’m already planning four days of fun that I will cram into one day and wonder why I’m tired afterward!  Since Labor Day came about to honor the American worker, we thought we would highlight beers in the tasting this week that celebrate professions.  Here’s what we’re pouring as described by the men and women that labored to bring them to us:

Asheville Brewing Company, Asheville, NC
Rocket Girl Lager

When worlds collided…we took the best things about ales and mashed them with the best parts of lagers…and it was a blast off! A bold malt and our special kolsch yeast creates a golden lager that puts your taste buds into hyperspace. She’s mysterious, she’s complex, and she’s got one heavenly body.

Gizmo BrewWorks, Raliegh, NC
Beekeeper Honey Wheat

Beekeeper Honey Wheat exhibits the characteristics of honey sweetness, floral nose, fruity flavors, a hint of clove, with a light body. Brewed with wildflower honey, Gizmo’s honey wheat beer is a nod to the beekeeping profession. Due to popular demand, this once summer favorite is now available year round.

Catawba Brewing Company, Morgonton, NC
Mother Trucker Pale Ale

Our hoppy pale ale, is as American as Interstate-40 and proud of it!  We use three different American hop varieties to create a dry, quaffable brew with pine, earth, and a truck load of citrus aromas.  Mother Trucker’s sturdy malt backbone provides the perfect roadway for the hops’ journey to your taste buds.  Best of all, this beer is sessionable – You can arm wrestle your buddies to see who buys the next round.  Cheers!

Fullsteam Brewing
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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New Beers in the Shop September 2

Our first shipment from Wicked Weed Brewing just arrived last week.

 We couldn't be more excited to present a local favorite!

 

These two breweries collaborated to bring us Cemetary Gates, a Belgian IPA.

Fall Seasonal from Hi-Wire

 

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Drink Like a Girl Friday, August 28th 5-7pm

Who's ready for pumpkin beer?!  They are here and they are delicious!  Come try four fall seasonals tonight.  It really is my favorite part of autumn.  I have to admit that I do not take the cooling weather very well.  The bare trees make me sad.  I hate having to wear layers, and my feet never really get warm from November until March.  At least I can drink copious amounts of pumpkin beer as consolation!  Here are the ones we'll taste tonight:

Catawba Brewing
King Don's Pumpkin Ale

Don, one of the original North Carolina brewers, lent his pumpkin prowess to this collaboration beer in 2001.  This complex beer uses five separate barley styles, an artistic touch of hops, spices normally used in baking, and fresh pumpkin!  The caramel, spice, and pumpkin flavors meld into a wonderfully smooth, orange-hued beer that sports a luscious, creamy foam head.  King Don still rocks!

Southern Tier Brewing Company
Pumking Imperial Ale

Pumking is an ode to Puca, the mythical Celtic horse beast said to entice careless travelers onto its back and take them on a terrifying night ride through the forest. It is a journey from which they return forever changed. Pour Pumking into a goblet and allow its spiced aroma and deep copper color to entrance you. Taste the beer and your are bewitched , powerless to resist the Pumking.  This beer is brewed with pagan spirit and should be enjoyed responsibly.

Crown Valley Brewing Company
Imperial Pumpkin Smash Stout

Our Imperial Pumpkin Stout is deliciously roasted with dark chocolate and toffee notes with a hint of smoke and a little spice from the hops that give it a pine note. The pumpkin adds body and character for a great beer. 

Hi Wire Brewing Company
Lion Tamer Red Rye Ale

Red with hops and rye – oh my! Aggressively hopped with a healthy blend of citrus- and fruit-forward hops and balanced by the unmistakable bite of rye, allow this brew to tame your thirst.

 

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Beer Blind Tasting Goes Mobile!

Beer Blind Tasting Goes Mobile!

I hope some of you made it out to the Asheville Wine and Food Festival last weekend.  It was amazing!  We had a blast at the Metro Wines booth.  We got to meet a lot of new faces and some familiar ones, too while we were selling wines as the retail outlet for many of the wines featured at the Grand Tasting.  Andy also hosted two rounds of Wine Blind Tasting, and I hosted one round of Beer Blind Tasting with the help of Brewmaster Jeff Irvin of AB Tech's Craft Beverage Institute of the Southeast. You may remember Mr. Irvin from a previous post, but if not, let's just say the event was not dull!  My cheeks hurt at the end of it!  I really enjoyed taking our monthly Blind Tasting League event out into the world.  We had thirty seats that filled up quickly, mostly with people that had never heard of the Blind Tasting League, but really had a good time exploring the contents of their glass.  If you have never tasted beer this way, it really is a lot of fun.  We pour four beers, hide the packaging away, and take you through assessing the visual, aroma, and flavor clues to identify which grains, hops, and yeast were used.  We roll all of that into determining what style the beer is. It really is the best drinking game ever! If you would like to learn more about the Blind Tasting League, visit our website here. We owe a huge thanks to the Asheville Wine and Food Festival, Skyland Distributing, Brewmaster Irvin, and the breweries that provided beers for the event.  Now that the big reveal is all done, I can tell you what we poured and thank those breweries properly. Here they are in the order they were tasted:

Oskar Blues, Brevard, NC

Mama’s Little Yella Pils

Mama's Little Yella Pils is an uncompromising, small-batch Pilsner with 100% Pale Malt, German Specialty Malts, and Saaz hops.

 

New Belgium, Fort Collins, CO
(Coming soon to Asheville!)

Ranger IPA

This clear amber INDIA PALE ALE beauty bursts at the starting gate with an abundance of hops: Cascade (citrus), Chinook (floral/citrus), and Simcoe (fruity) lead off the beer, with Cascade added again for an intense dry hop flavor. Brewed with pale and dark caramel malts that harmonize the hop flavor from start to finish, Ranger is a sessionable splendor for all you hopinistas.

Hi-Wire Brewing, Asheville, NC
Bed of Nails Brown Ale

Our brown ale is crafted as an ode to the traditional English brown. It’s delicate body allows the flavors of caramel and toffee from our specialty malts to come to life.

Higland Brewing Company, Asheville, NC

Black Mocha Stout

Highland’s most robust beer, having a very malty body with a large, roasted chocolate flavor, all achieved solely through the use of special roasted barley grains. It is black in color with a very clean finish and moderate hop flavor.

Grains: 2 Row Brewers Malt, Munich, Roasted Barley, Caramel 40, Caramel 60, Chocolate, Extra Special Malt & Malted Wheat

Hops: Chinook & Mount Hood

 

 

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Drink Like a Girl 5-7pm Friday, August 21

It's time to say, "So long, Summer!" Parting is such sweet sorrow, but if you love something you have to let it go.  So we are letting go of our Summer Seasonals at 10% off our already low prices.  Even if you're back in the swing of things, you can pop the top on one of these Summer favorites and dream.  Here's what we're pouring:

Double D's Watermelon Lager

Deep River Brewing, Clayton, NC

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

Summer Basil Farmhouse Ale

Fullsteam Brewery, Durham, NC

Brewed with North Carolina wheat and locally-farmed basil, our most popular summer beer is an ever-changing feast for the senses. Summer Basil evolves over its five-month season, as local basil matures and fermentation temperatures rise. The saison yeast loves our hot summers, responding with a full-on punch of peppery, vibrant flavors. It's okay that this plow-to-pint beer doesn't always taste the same. It's a beautiful thing.

Uprisin' Hefeweizen

Hi-Wire Brewing, Asheville, NC

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.

Wayfarer Summer IPA

Green Man Brewing, Asheville, NC

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.

 

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Back in the Saddle

Back in the Saddle

As much complaining as I've done about summer being over so soon, I am stoked to get back to school.  I know that's not what I'm supposed to say, but it's true.  We had our first class of the semester yesterday, and today marked our first "production" day.  I use the quotations because we didnt' actually produce anything.  It was also our first day wearing black shirts, the mark of a second year student. We cleaned the brewhouse, organized for the semester, and took inventory of new and old equipment.  It was the most fun I'd had cleaning in a long while.  This fall has the potential to be amazing.  We have new winery equipment, our new 10 hectoliter brewhouse, a canning line, a keg washer, a walk in cooler, and loads of kegs waiting to receive beer!  

 

Each of my classmates returned with valuable knowledge and experience from our internships.  We were quick to compare notes, share experiences, and learn from each other.  As we get into the swing of things, I know this trend will only continue.  I couldn't be more proud to be a part of a group as I am to belong to this cohort.  A huge motivator for me professionally is to be a part of an awesome team.  After a year of working together, we have grown into a pretty cohesive group.  

We also got to check up on some beverages we made last semester.  The carrot wine from last spring was a huge success!  It was already pretty tasty in May, when we added some French oak to impart even more flavor.  After just a few months we have a product that I am proud to have been involved in making. 

We also drew beer styles out of a hat that we each get to write papers and do presentations on.  I got American Style Ice Lager.  That's probably the last thing in the world I want to write about, but I will find a way to make it fun.  Or die from boredom trying.

 

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Mark your calendars now for Brewconomy Panel Discussion

Mark your calendars now for Brewconomy Panel Discussion

Brewing Up A Storm hosts “Brewconomy”, a discussion panel event focusing on the economic impact of the brewing industry in the Asheville area, @MetroWines on September 18th from 6-8pm.  Panelists include Tim Weber of Twin Leaf Brewery, Cecil Bothwell of Asheville City Council, Lucy Crown from Asheville’s Greenways, Cliff Mori of Brew-ed Walking Tours, Tedd Clevenger of Asheville Brewer’s Supply, and Chef Scott Adams of AB Tech’s Craft Beverage Institute of the Southeast. More panelists to be announced soon!  Admission and parking are free, but the conversation is priceless!  

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Drink Like a Girl Friday, August 14

Drink Like a Girl Friday, August 14

This week we are featuring Gizmo Brew Works out of Raliegh in our weekly free beer tasting!  I can't wait to try these beers and share them with all of you!  Here's the ones we're pouring as described by Gizmo themselves:


Beekeeper Honey Wheat exhibits the characteristics of honey sweetness, floral nose, fruity flavors, a hint of clove, with a light body. Brewed with wildflower honey, Gizmo’s honey wheat beer is a nod to the beekeeping profession. Due to popular demand, this once summer favorite is now available year round.
 
ABV: 5.5%
Availability: Year Round

In the summer of 1997, Deep Blue, a computer designed by IBM, defeated the world champion chess player Garry Kasparov at his own game. This was the first time a master of his craft had been beaten by artificial intelligence. In the summer of 1999, a totally unrelated yet similarly disturbing advancement in technology struck again when the Hollywood classic Deep Blue Sea proved even Samuel L. Jackson was no match for those motherf@#$ing A.I. sharks.

We pay our respects to these victims of technology with a funky twist on a farmhouse favorite. Our saison has a strong blueberry nose accompanied by a classic Belgian aroma. Dry and crisp, a sweet blueberry flavor takes over, accented by a slight tart ending. Gizmo’s summer beer pairs perfectly with hot days, warm nights, chess matches, and sailing in shark infested waters.
 
ABV: 6.4%
Availability: Summer

 

A sexy, silky stout adds panache to any social situation, so we brewed Black Stiletto Stout with an eye toward style. Its creamy head smells sweetly of roasted barley and caramel before giving way to the full bodied blend of dark chocolate, toffee, and bready English ale yeast. Our choice ingredients create a rich and harmonious flavor profile that slides down the throat with a velvety mouthfeel. Robust but not filling, our Black Stiletto Stout will make you do a double take.
 
ABV: 6.1%
Availability: Year Round

 

And because we always pour four beers, here's a Green Man for good measure!

The Rainmaker

It’s no myth that this is Green Man’s most impressive and sought after special offering. A mammoth Double IPA that boasts 4 different hops, it’s the one hopheads wait for. Like a cool rain after a long drought, this one will quench your desire for big flavor and balance. Meet the Maker! Available April – September. 96 Rating on ratebeer.com

 

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Drink Like A Girl Friday, August 7 from 5-7

This is a week for taking it easy and enjoying the last few days of summer break before schools start classes, the leaves start to crisp up, and we all pack away the kayaks and the hiking boots.  Drink it up!  It won't last much longer!  Here's what we're pouring this week as described by the brewers themselves:

Sierra Nevada

Ovila Abbey Saison

Our Ovila® Abbey Ales series is a collaboration with the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, CA. Each beer is a modern twist on a traditional Belgian-style abbey ale—monastic inspiration and American innovation. These rotating Ovila Abbey Ales highlight, when possible, local ingredients grown and harvested by the monks on their nearly 600-acre working farm. We hope you enjoy these one-of-a-kind collaboration ales.

An homage to the monks’ noble work, this unique farmhouse ale is incredibly complex with notes of lemon, pepper, straw and herbs balanced by the tang of Mandarin oranges and a spicy kick of pepper. The Mandarin oranges used to make this beer were locally grown, including a portion grown on the grounds of the Abbey of New Clairvaux and picked by hand by the community of monks living there. We hope you enjoy this collaboration ale.

Mystery Brewing

Evangeline Saison

Brewer’s Notes: A dry farmhouse ale. The primary character of this beer is from yeast: apple and pear flavors blend with spicy phenolics, classic Belgian yeast bubblegum flavors and the unmistakable pepperiness of rye for a truly refreshing summer beer. Pair with raw milk cheeses, swordfish, shark, or spicy green salads.

Mystery Brewing

Papa Bois Citrus Foreign Extra Stout

Brewer's Notes: The Caribbean has a long tradition of sweet, fruity stouts that are delicious and refreshing in hot weather. While continuing that tradition, we've upped the ante on refreshing by adding lemongrass and fresh lemon zest. The perfect digestif. Pair with pound cake, raspberry pie, or all manner of chocolate desserts.

Frog Level Brewing

Salamander Slam IPA

Hop flavors are moderately high and floral to citrusy. The malts add complexity and give the beer a pleasant flavor, a golden color, and support the hop aspect. So, take a hike! If you love the smell of the woods after a fall rain, let our English India Pale Ale (IPA) take you there. The only thing missing are the bugs!

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The Beer Department is Blowing Up!

Have you seen Metro Wines' Beer Department lately?!  It's so pretty!  It was like Christmas and my birthday rolled into one when the beer shelves arrived last week!  Sometimes, when it's been a really hard day, I just look at it, and it makes me happy!  

On top of all that, we have begun shipping beer!  Want to send a taste of local craft beer to a loved one?  What about a nice bottle of Chimay?  We do that!  We also serve home brewers, so bring us your latest brews!  We can make sure that your family and friends get to enjoy the fruits of you labor!  

Hey!  Speaking of beer in boxes, have you heard about our Craft Beer Case Club?  Oh, yea!  A monthly 12 pack with 6 unique beers, two of each.  Step outside your comfort zone and explore the wide world of craft beers! Plus, case club members get first dibs on special releases!  You can start and stop any time with no commitment.  It's good to be in the club!

Check out these beauties that just arrived today:

 

 

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Drink Like a Girl with Carrie Adams Friday, July 31st 5-8 pm

Drink Like a Girl hosts Carolyn Lee Adams this Friday, July 31 for a beer tasting (of course!), comedy performance, and book signing. While Adams’ comedy is light and refreshing, her book Ruthless is heavy and dark.  Sounds like the perfect flight to me! 

 

Adams’s thrilling, horror-tinged debut, 17-year-old Ruth Carver refuses to be a victim even after she is abducted by a disturbed man she names “Wolfman,” severely injured, and taken to a cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ruth is told that no one is looking for her—Wolfman intends to break Ruth psychologically and then kill her as he did six other redheads who he deemed needed to be punished. She narrowly escapes his grasp, but then is faced with surviving the wilderness as he hunts her down. When the tables turn, Ruth must determine the extent to which she will seek retribution. Readers will feel completely submerged in Ruth’s first-person, present-tense narrative, which alternates with third-person chapters that provide glimpses into Ruth and Wolfman’s pasts. Though Adams focuses primarily on Ruth’s will to escape her captor within the present, it’s clear that these past experiences have helped form her inner core of resilience. An intense and unsettling survival story.

Here’s what we’ll be pouring to accompany this emotional roller coaster:

Nantahala Brewing

Dirty Girl Blonde Ale


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.

Foothills Brewing
Carolina Strawberry

Bright and crisp, this American Cream Ale stands out with just enough real strawberry aroma and flavor to keep your attention while remaining smooth and balanced from top to bottom.

Het Anker

Lucifer Belgian Ale

Lucifer is a strong, blond beer (8.0%) with a gold yellow color and creamy white head.
Its fruity aroma with subtle notes of bitter hops, followed by a long and perfectly balanced finish, will definitely seduce you!

Foothills Brewing

Jade IPA

Jade. Exotic jewel of the orient. Now a gem of an IPA. Bold, citrusy Pacific Jade hops lend striking tropical fruit notes and a hint of peppery finish to this easy-drinking IPA. Dry hop additions of Chinook and Citra add heady aroma and bold flavor. A special beer to charm the hop lover in you. Go ahead. Get Jaded.

Check out Carolyn on WYFF talking about this event: Carolyn Adams on WYFF

Here’s some more info on Carolyn Adams and her book: Carolyn Adams is Ruthless

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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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  1878 Hits
1878 Hits

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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  2081 Hits
2081 Hits

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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2798 Hits

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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1948 Hits

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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2004 Hits