Last year was my first Asheville Beer Week experience, and this year the only thing that would excite me more than the 9-day 2015 Asheville Beer Week (May 22-30) would be a 31-day Asheville Beer Month! While a full month of May filled with special beer events would put my stamina and “party grampa” (#partygrampa) status to the test, I believe I’d be up for the challenge. Alas, it is but an extended week…and here’s what I’ll be enjoying this first weekend:
Friday May 22
Wicked Weed (91 Biltmore) is releasing their summer refresher “Coolcumber” today, and at 5pm their Imperial version of that beer will be tapped. I hope to swing by for a quaff on my way to New Mountain’s amphitheater (38 N. French Broad Ave.) for the Dr. John & The Nitetrippers show at 7:30. When it wraps up, I’ll rush over to Thirsty Monk’s downtown location (92 Patton Ave.) for whatever is left to pour at the NC Belgian Beer Fest (6-10pm), a celebration of Belgian-style beers from more than 20 local and other North Carolina breweries.
Saturday May 23
The focus today will be my favorite ABW event last year, the “Just Brew It” festival and competition featuring only homebrewers. The event takes place in the parking lot at Wedge Brewing Co. (97 Payne Ave. in the RAD) from 2-5pm. I’ll likely see homebrewer friends Andy and Mags from Vermont (Andy won “People’s Choice Award” for one of his beers last year), as well as many friends from our local Asheville Beer Club “meetup” group. We have such talented local homebrewers, and this event also draws the best from other locales. If you plan to go, you’ll need to purchase online in advance from Just Economics (http://www.justeconomicswnc.org/). A $25 (or more, if you choose) annual membership puts you on the attendance roster. I plan to follow JBI with a stop at Wicked Weed for their “freak show” fun celebrating the release of “Menage A Freak” Triple IPA. Then, I’ll finish the night at Altamont Brewing Co. (1042 Haywood Rd., WAVL) for the Trail Mix fundraiser (3pm-???), where my bud Jeff Falbo has curated some mighty fine specialty beers for the event and added some extra fun with a “Cold Feet, Cold Beer” party. The gal in the band who put that party-within-a-party together will explain the name.
Sunday May 24
It’s a major beer release day…Wicked Weed’s Golden Angel debuts at the Funkatorium on Coxe at noon and Green Man’s Maceo releases at their Dirty Jack’s pub at 2. Expect lines. But, for me, the event of the day is Westside Fest! (1-5pm) I had a great time pouring beer for New Belgium at last year’s first fest, in the outdoor space behind Urban Orchard on Haywood Rd. in West Asheville. Featuring breweries in WAVL (or coming soon) and so much more…with music and BBQ and fun for the whole family.
Stay tuned for more of my ABW picks for the coming week…