Brewgrass, Asheville’s original downtown beer bash, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. If you’re a fan of great beer, great music and great food, get over to Memorial Stadium on Saturday. With 60 breweries represented and 180 different beers ready to be poured, this year’s fest is set to be the best ever. Tickets are still available here.

As if you need any more reason to attend, check out these eight reasons you need to go to Brewgrass in Asheville on Saturday:

The massive beer selection: There are 60 breweries represented, with 180 beers ready to be poured. That’s the most ever for Brewgrass. There’s no better way to find the tried-and-true beers you love, or sample new brews you’ve heard about but never tasted.

The music: This year’s music line-up couldn’t be more exciting, with The Travelin’ McCourys headlining. If that’s not enough kick-ass bluegrass for you, more bluegrass royalty will be on stage in the form of Peter Rowan, who wowed at Merlefest earlier this year. Local favorites Jon Stickley Trio will be there, too, as well as the hard-driving Bobby Miller and the Virginia Dare Devils. Rock!barleys_asheville_16_2016

The food: There will be five awesome food vendors on site, including Barley’s (remember that a Barley’s cofounder in Asheville, Jimi Rentz, is a founder of Brewgrass.) Barley’s expects to bake at least 300 pizzas at this year’s event.

The event benefits the nonprofit Big Brothers Big Sisters: Every years since it began, Brewgrass has contributed a portion of proceeds (and written checks before the event was profitable) to the nonprofit Big Brothers Big Sisters. The festival has given a total of $179,000 to the nonprofit over the years.brewgrass_11_asheville_2016

The chance to toast Asheville’s beer scene: There were only two breweries in Asheville when Brewgrass started. Highland Brewing and Green Man were there at the beginning. About 400 people attended that first event, held on what was then called City-County Plaza (today it’s known as Pack Square Park.) Today, Asheville/Buncombe County is home to two dozen craft breweries, with another 10 more in the works. It’s been an incredible run for the local beer scene, and it only continues to improve.brewgrass_14_asheville_2016

The people-watching: True craft beer-lovers are a fun bunch. They appreciate the work and creativity that goes into the brewing process, and the live for the community that has built up around craft beer and Brewgrass. Capture those memories by stopping by the photo booth brought to you by NC Photobox and sponsored by Asheville Grit.brewgrass_13_asheville_2016

Meet the Mayor of Brewgrass: Be on the lookout for Emily Young-Hopson. She won this year’s Mayor of Brewgrass competition on Instagram. Her prize included VIP passes, a mayoral sash and a photo shoot with NC Photobox (see above).highland-cold-mountain-winter-ale

The chance to reflect on Asheville’s beer history: Brewgrass started in 1996 and was originally named the Great Smokies Craft Brewers Invitational. Just two Asheville breweries were represented at the very first Brewgrass (see above), including Asheville’s first, Highland Brewing, founded by Oscar Wong. The number of Asheville breweries would continue to grow, as would regional and eventually national recognition of the city/region as a craft brewing hub and of the breweries for their quality and creativity. One key to the growth: the new state law that then-Gov. Mike Easley signed into law that lifted the 6 percent ABV cap on beer and moved it to 15 percent. The movement that got the law changed was known as Pop the Cap.

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Images via @brewgrassfestival on Instagram.

This post is sponsored by Brewgrass. Are you interested in a sponsored post? Email Katie Hild at Katie@wncmagazine.com. WNC magazine and Ashvegas are partners.

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