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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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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Drink Like A Girl Friday, May 29 from 5-7

Is it the weekend yet?  5:00 Friday deserves it's own holiday!  Especially during Beer Week. Come and celebrate the best part of the week with us!  Here's the pour list for this week's free beer tasting!

Hi Wire Brewing
Uprisin’ Summer Hefeweizen

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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.

Highland Brewing
Lost Cove American Pale Ale

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This aromatic American Pale Ale is a session beer meticulously handcrafted with a unique Highland twist. Discover the secrets of Lost Cove in a summery American pale ale inspired by the spirit of Appalachia's past. Delicate Pilsner malt blends with Cascade Hops for a hop-forward, cold-fermented ale with a citrusy aroma and crisp, clean finish.

New Belgium
Skinny Dip Summer Ale

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Skinny Dip is a full-bodied, figure-friendly tribute to the lightly attired summer months. This guilt-free lager’s frisky character and sunny flavor make it the perfect choice for kick-starting seductive summer fun. Lively Cascade hops and complementary peaches brighten a wash of bready malts with sunny citrus flavor and a slight fruity pucker, creating a crisp sip as invigorating as a frothy dip in a mountain pond. Shed your inhibitions this season and take the plunge: Grab a friend, go bottoms up, and share a Skinny Dip.

Skinny Dip makes its returns as the summer seasonal in 2015, and to celebrate we're supporting swimable waters by donating $1, up to $10,000, to Waterkeeper Alliance for every use of the hashtag #WaterkeeperDip. Post and donate!

Asheville Brewing Company
Fire Escape Jalapeño Pale Ale

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Yep. You guessed it, it's the Escape Artist with a perfect mix of hops, malt and... Jalapeños! We blend freshly roasted jalapeños post fermentation to create this fiery yet balanced pale ale. Amazingly smooth and addictive!

(Escape Artist Extra Special Pale will make you a believer as well. A medium-bodied brew, we use two classic American hops varieties. Centennial and Cascade create a concoction of mystique and complexity.)

 

Can't wait to try all of these with you! See y'all Friday!

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Brewing Up A Storm with Amanda Petro

Brewing Up A Storm with Amanda Petro

I'm excited to introduce you to Amanda Petro from Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE.  Dogfish has been reveared as one of the most creative, outside of the box craft breweries in the country.  I had the pleasure of meeting Amanda at the Master Brewers Association of Americas regional conference this spring.  She was gracious enough to share experiences with us!  I hope y'all enjoy this read!  Now, without further ado, here's Amanda!

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Q: What’s your favorite beer (style or you can be more specific)?

A:    I tend to drink a variety of styles, but my favorites are Russian Imperial Stouts and Sours/American Wild Ales.  If I had to pick one of my favorites to have right now, it would be Parabola by Firestone Walker.  

 

Q: How long have you been in the brewing industry?

A:    I've been in the industry for about a year and half. 

 

Q:How did you get started/What drew you to this field?

A:    I grew up with a father in the brewing industry, so its always had an impact on my life.  He worked for numerous breweries as a maintenance manager and reliability manager, up until I started college.  Even though I can still imagine the days of watching the bottling line run from the window in my dad's office, I don't think I could have predicted that I would become a brewer.  I have my B.S. in Microbiology, so I naturally entered the pharmaceutical industry and worked in Quality Control Microbiology labs.  I did a stunt for 2 years in Germany and had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe, tasting the beers of each country along the way.  Upon returning to the states, I began home brewing to try to replicate the tastes and styles I enjoyed from places like Belgium and Germany.  One day, while flipping through a brewing magazine, I saw an advertisement for the brewing programs at UC Davis.  I read into the requirements for the Master Brewer's program and I thought, I could do that!  As much as I loved (and still do love) microbiology, I wanted to apply it to a product I could be passionate about.  I knew I could be much more passionate about beer than I could for vaccines.  While at UC Davis, I was contacted by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery to join their team of brewers and by the end of the program I had accepted an offer. 

 

Q:What position are you holding now?

 A:   I'm currently a brewer at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.

 

Q:What are your goals for the future?

 A:   For now I am looking to build on my experience and knowledge as a brewer in a production brewery.  I enjoy the fast paced and dynamic nature of a production sized brewery and I see a lot of potential for myself in this setting.  I have some ideas in my head of where I could see myself in 5 years, but for now I am happy with my position. 

 

Q: What are the main obstacles that you’ve experienced as a woman in this industry?

How were you able to overcome them?

A: Prior to entering the industry, I was fully aware that I was about to enter a male dominated field.  Imagine my surprise when I learned that I would be the 4th female brewer to join the Dogfish Head brewing team.  As a team of 15 brewers total, we definitely make up a large percentage of the team.  I feel that we are treated no differently than our male counterparts.  The job and workload is the same for all.  I think sometimes the guys think we are going to be offended by some of the talk that happens, but I think if you're a person that gets offended easily, you wouldn't be entering the brewing industry.  Outside of the company, people are often surprised to learn that I am a female brewer.  People at industry events, tend to assume I work in the quality lab.  Overall, people are impressed and excited to hear about my job.  On the other hand, I have had a few strange encounters.  For example, one time, a friend of mine told a 20 something male bartender I worked for Dogfish Head and the bartender asked if I was an Admin.  That was rude.

 

Q:Have you experienced any advantages over men?

 A:     Nothing major comes to mind when I think of any advantages I've encountered over men.  I think female brewers tend to stand out in a crowd of males, but I'm not sure if that is necessarily an advantage.  Some of the guys are on team are often eager to help us with the heavy lifting, but by now they all know we can and want to carry our own weight.    

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Brewing Up a Storm with Erica Tieppo

Brewing Up a Storm with Erica Tieppo

Q:What’s your favorite beer (style or you can be more specific)?

A:Working at Mystery has ruined by ability to have one favorite beer or style! A few things I really enjoy are traditional English styles on cask, West Coast and Session IPAs with tropical fruity hop characteristics, saison, gruit, and all things Brett. My favorite styles to brew and taste are high gravity / imperial versions of styles, but I generally choose more sessionable beer for day to day drinking.

 

Q:How long have you been in the brewing industry?

A:I have been working in beer production since January of 2011.

 

Q:How did you get started/What drew you to this field?

A:My interest in American craft beer began while working at a craft beer bar about seven years ago. I then began homebrewing, organizing beer tasting events and became immersed in craft beer culture. In 2010, I decided that I would rather work in beer production than continue pursuing my original career plan (actuarial mathematics) and signed up for Siebel's Concise Course in Brewing Technology. I think the sense of community in craft beer and the idea of creating a tangible product is what appealed to me most.

 

Q:What position are you holding now?

A:Brewer and Cellar Operations

 

Q:What are your goals for the future?

A:I want to continue learning and to constantly improve the quality of our product. I take great pride in the awards our beer has earned, and intend to work toward winning more awards every year.

 

Q:What are the main obstacles that you’ve experienced as a woman in this industry?

A:The craft beer industry as a whole has been welcoming and supportive of my involvement in the industry, and most male colleagues treat me as simply another brewer rather than a woman who brews. However, in every industry there are always a few bad eggs and they are incredibly discouraging and intimidating when you are a younger woman working in a male dominated industry. Two of the most serious problems that I believe are underrepresented and frequently overlooked are sexual harassment, and gender discrimination. 

 

Q:How were you able to overcome them?

A:I have worked to acquire an education, to acquire experience and develop my skill set as much as possible. Most of the bias, discrimination and inappropriate behaviors I encountered have happened very early in my career. I have proven that I am just as capable and possess just as much aptitude for growth in the brewery as my male colleagues. 

 

Q:Have you experienced any advantages over men?

A:Yes, and no. Overall, I think I have been at a slight disadvantage as a young female production worker but my close colleagues and friends in the industry are very supportive and have been very generous in the help they've given me to overcome any disadvantages I encounter. I think most production workers in the industry want to see their female colleagues succeed and will actively try to help them overcome any discrimination they face.

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Brewing Up a Storm with Brittany Judy

Brewing Up a Storm with Brittany Judy

As promised, we are getting to know the women of Mystery Brewing this week.  Here's my interview with Brittany Judy, Office Manager for Mystery Brewing:

Q: What is your favorite beer/beer style?
A:My favorite beer style right now is probably a nice, refreshing Kolsch (pairs nicely with the Spring weather!) Bull City Burger and Brew in Durham makes an excellent one.  
 
Q: How long have you been involved with the Brewing Industry?
A: I have been in the brewing industry for exactly 15 months! Before that I home brewed with friends.  
 
Q: What position do you currently hold?
A: I am currently the Office Manager at Mystery Brewing Company.
 
Q: What are your goals for the future?
A: Continue to absorb and retain as much as I can about craft beer and the craft beer industry.  I also have a passion for cooking with beer and pairing food and beer.  I would love to help educate others (probably by feeding them) about the beauty of craft beer!  And food!  
 
Q: Have you experienced any disadvantages as a woman in this industry?
A: I would say that I've had a pretty positive experience as a woman in this industry.  Of course, the only obvious thing that comes to mind is sometimes I get overlooked in conversation.  I feel like this isn't just exclusive to the brewing industry though.  I overcome by not taking it to heart and remembering that my opinion/voice matters.  
 
Q: Have you experienced any advantages over men?
A:I would say that as a woman, I have the advantage of standing out and inspiring other ladies who may think they can only drink wine (not hating on wine, I love wine too!) or don't understand all the beer styles that are available.  
 
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Special Guest at Drink Like a Girl May 22nd!

Special Guest at Drink Like a Girl May 22nd!

If you've come to one of  our tastings when I'm pouring Mystery Brewing, you know how much I love these guys!  Needless to say, I was thrilled when they called to see if we wanted to host an all Mystery  Brewing Drink Like a Girl! There are several women on their brew team, too!  Look for more information on the brewsters later this week!  

Here's a sneak peek of the beers:

Locksley: Ordinary Bitter

Brewer's Notes: Contrary to its name, an Ordinary Bitter isn't normally all that bitter. Think of it as a Pale Ale's little cousin. This light, drinkable, British-style beer has a sweet malt body overlaid by a light floral and citrusy play of American hops, creating a refreshing quaff that you can keep going back to. Pair with woody cheddars, light salads, and warm spring afternoons.

Queen Anne's Revenge: Carolinian Dark Ale

Brewer's Notes: This beer was designed to be a darker version of an English-style IPA, to show off the soft bitterness of traditional English hops but to balance them with the rich creamy chocolate of roasted wheat. Enjoy it with a steak, brisket, creamy funky cheeses, or pork barbecue.

Beatrix: Spring Saison

Brewer's Notes: A hoppy, citrusy saison made for spring with crisp bitterness and dry complexity made with unmalted wheat, Demerera sugar, and a breed of hops called Delta - a mix between traditional English Fuggles and American Cascade hops - that lends robust notes of navel orange and lemon. Pair with fresh fruit salad, rich cheeses, or grilled poultry.

Jack Thorne: London-Style Porter

Brewer's Notes: Based on a recipe from the very first post-Prohibition brewpub in the U.S. A smooth, classic London-style porter with currents of dark caramel, chocolate, espresso, and even a light wisp of smoke. Pair with roasted meats, hearty cheeses, and dark chocolate.

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Brewing Up A Storm and a Drinking Like A Girl!

Brewing Up A Storm and a Drinking Like A Girl!

Drink Like a Girl is every Friday from 5-7.  Keep reading for a preview of the beers we'll be pouring!  But first I gotta tell you about what's been going on with me!

Another semester at The Craft Beverage Institute has come to a close!  I’m glad to have it behind me, but I’m going to miss my classmates over the summer. We’ve gotten to be a pretty tightly knit group. While we don’t have formal classroom time during the summer semester, we are each completing internships at various brewing facilities across the region.  While many of us are staying in town, some decided to take a break from the mountains and brew in other areas of the state. I’ll be brewing at The Altamont Brewing Company in West Asheville this summer!  I’m excited for the opportunity to brew on a larger system, and to get real world experience in a commercial brewery.  I’m even more excited to be at a neighborhood brewery, where I’ll have the opportunity to brew, cellar, package, and sanitize my heart out!  Many of the larger breweries are broken up into departments, so an intern may only see part of the operation throughout the summer.  I get to learn it all, which is exactly what I want!  The imagination can only take you so far.  At some point, I just need to try on a lot of hats and see what fits. I’m looking forward to trying new things and learning what I like and what I don’t like, what I’m good at, and what I should just leave to others who have different skill sets.

Come by Metro Wines for Drink Like a Girl this Friday to hear about my first week!  We’ve brewed a couple times already, and other days have been spent cleaning equipment and cellaring beers that were made nearly a month ago.  Here’s a glimpse into the life of a brewery intern!

Scooping out the spent grain.  This goes to a local farmer.

Transferring finished beer to the brite tank to build up the bubbles.

But enough about me, here's what we're pouring at this week's tasting:

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Foothills Brewing
Carolina Strawberry Cream Ale

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.

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New Belgium
Slow Ride Session IPA

Kicking back and relaxing with a session beer requires little more than a couch, some free time, and a few pals. Slow Ride Session IPA is up for this easy-going challenge, starting with a pour of sheened gold and plenty of fluffy, white foam. A blend of seven hop varieties, led by exotic Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin, twist together brilliant tropical scents of melon, peach, lime and grapefruit for a vividly fruity aroma. The flavor mirrors the aroma, while balancing a malty-sweet yet clean start and hoppy bitterness in the back. Light bodied and extra quaffable,

Slow Ride Session IPA brings the finish line to you. Looking for Slow Ride in Texas? Our friends in the Lone Star State can find Slow Ride under the name New Belgium Session IPA beginning in early March. Don't worry: It's still the same green and yellow package and label with the same awesome couch bike and, most importantly, the same great beer.

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Oskar Blues
Pinner Session IPA

How do you cram as much hop & malt flavor and aroma as possible into a beer but make it crushable too? That’s the challenge we answered with PINNER Throwback IPA. At 4.9% ABV and 35 IBUs, this drinkable IPA uses several varieties of hops to target the ever-evolving flavor. With tropical fruits, citrus juices, pineapple and spice berry up front in the aroma and flavor, the biscuit & toasted bread at the back balance out all the hops and make a great finish to go on to your next can of PINNER. It’s the perfect beer for a little sip, sip, give.

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Deep River Brewing
Back Country Black IPA

Deep River Brewing Company's Backcountry Black IPA is an Imperial Pale Ale that is hopped up with 5 unique hop varieties that blends nicely with its slightly roasty malt backbone. 7.9% ABV

These are some of my absolute favorite beers, so I hope you'll join us for this tasty event!

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Drink Like A Girl Friday from 5-7

Drink Like A Girl Friday from 5-7

How excited am I for this week's  beer tasting? Pretty darned excited!  We have a great line up of beers, but there will also be live music by Nikki Calloway and a Kendall Jackson wine tasting also!  If you've been dragging your feet waiting for that right moment to Drink Like A Girl, this is it!  Here's the beers that we will be pouring:

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Foothills Brewing Carolina Blonde Cream Ale
Smooth as a summer day, Carolina Blonde is the beach in a bottle. Two-row barley and a mellow hint of wheat complement the subtle flavoring of German Noble hops to create the quintessential Cream Ale. Need a vacation? Have a Blonde.

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Foothills Brewing Hop Job Session IPA
End of the day. Work's done. Fun's in session. Make it last with this aromatic ale brewed to keep the good times going. A session IPA full of Azacca™ and Sorachi Ace™ hops, with all the flavor you've come to expect from Foothills. Thirsty? Get a Job.

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Catawba Brewing Le Sexxxy Saison
Once made to quench the thirst of farm workers in Belgium, this unique brew is now available in the city. LeSexxxy flirts with your eyes as the pale orange glow emanates from the glass. Our exclusive blend of five Belgian yeast strains produces aromas of lemon, tangerine, pear, banana, spice, bread and cut grass. The flavor is a French kiss of honey, citrus, spicy yeast, hops and wheat bread. This beer finishes bone dry and begs for another sip. Yeah, we brought sexy back – in a beer!

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Pisgah Brewing Red Devil
This 9% Belgian-style ale was originally brewed to commemorate Pisgah's 200th batch. Packed with over one pound of cherries and raspberries per gallon, the Red Devil balances delicately between tart and not-too-sweet. Treat yourself to a half-pour of Red Devil with a half-pour of Nitro Stout on top for some chocolate covered cherries.

 

Come out and party with us on Friday nights!  

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Drink Like A Girl Friday from 5-7

You all know by now that I adore our local Asheville Craft Beers, but this week are going to show some love to our eastern neighbors!  There are some great breweries coming out of the Triangle and surrounding areas.  We've got a great line up picked out for you!  Here's what we're pouring:

 

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Deep River Brewing Co.
Clayton, NC

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

Riverbank Rye-It

Deep River Brewing Company's Riverbank Rye-It is an amber pale ale, with subtle hints of rye and citrus. The spicy notes imparted by the rye thread together nicely with the citrusy aromas of Columbus hops. 5.2% ABV & 52 IBUs

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Carolina Brewery
Chapel Hill, NC
Flagship IPA

Originally, this intensely hopped ale was brewed in the 18th century to survive the long sea journey from the cooler breweries in England, around the Cape of Africa  to India where the temperatures were too warm to brew. This beer has a unique floral aroma from the generous addition of Cascade hops to the fermenter in a procedure known as dry hopping.

GOLD MEDAL • 2006 GREAT AMERICAN BEER FESTIVAL • ENGLISH-STYLE IPA

b2ap3_thumbnail_lCackalackyCan.jpgMy buddy Eric and I at FullSteam's Durham Brewery

Fullsteam Brewing
Durham, NC
Cack-A-Lacky

Brewed in partnership with Page Skelton, president of Cackalacky in Chapel Hill, N.C.
A zippy, hoppy ginger pale ale that’s enjoyable on its own and a perfect complement to spicy food. Half of the ginger in the beer comes from Maple Spring Gardens in Cedar Grove, North Carolina…at least until we run out of our local ginger supply.

And no, the beer does not have hot sauce in it!

 

I hope to see you all this Friday to Drink Like a Girl!

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