Catawba Brewing’s Temporary Asheville Location to open Feb. 12
Catawba Brewing Company’s temporary tasting room in Biltmore Village will be open to visitors on Feb. 12, according to Shelton Steele, Catawba’s Asheville manager. “That’s the safe date,” says Steele, though he says there is a chance they’ll be open even sooner. The temporary location at 63 Brook St in Biltmore Village will serve as Catawba’s Asheville outpost until construction of their new brewery and tasting room at 2 Fairview Rd. is complete. Co-owner Billy Pyatt told me that the new 7-barrel brewery should be open within 6 to 10 months and will produce specialty “one-off” beers that will be enjoyed both inside the tasting room and from the second story patio that overlooks Sweeten Creek. Catawba Brewing Company’s standard line-up will still be produced in Morganton, though visitors to the Asheville location will be able to enjoy those beers at the tasting room as well. Catawba is part of a bigger effort to help revitalize the Biltmore Village area. Plans are in the works to bring in other businesses, as well as residential and live-work developments.
Sierra Nevada Mills River Dialing in Perfection
Sierra Nevada’s Mills River facility has been producing beer for weeks, though this beer will never end up in customers’ hands. Each batch is being tested through every step of the brewing process to ensure that the final product is identical to the beers produced from the brewery’s original Chico, Calif., location. Even though the beers are made from the same ingredients and follow the same recipes, differences in equipment, water chemistry, altitude and numerous other variables all come into play when brewing at a different location. You could say that it’s relatively easy to make a great beer, harder to make a great beer twice, really hard to make a great beer year after year and incredibly hard to make the same great beer somewhere else. Sierra Nevada is in the process of accounting for all of those differences and making final adjustments so that trained tasters and, more importantly, customers will be unable to tell which location produced the beer. Once this process is complete, the first commercial batches should begin rolling off the production line.
Asheville Independent Restaurants to Host Classes on Beer and Wine
AIR, Asheville’s organization of locally owned restaurants, is working to raise the bar for front of house service at Asheville area restaurants and bars. Through a series of classes and presentations aimed at service industry professionals, participants will learn proper service skills, as well as hone their knowledge of beer and wine. BREW-ed has partnered with AIR to lead the beer education courses, and I will hold the first session this Tuesday, January 28th at Storm Rhum Bar. Wine classes will be taught by Kevin Schwarts, a Sommelier and Certified Wine Speialist, and CEO of Veraison Wine Broker. The first wine class will be held February 17th at Sante wine bar. Those interested in these classes must register in advance here.
Cliff Mori is the owner and operator of BREW-ed, which offers brewery tours and a variety of beer training in Asheville. He was the first Certified Cicerone in Western North Carolina (the beer equivalent to the wine world’s sommelier), then began working for the Cicerone Certification Program by traveling around the U.S. proctoring exams. Cliff also teaches a variety of beer-related courses at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.