Brew-ED Beer News: Hi-Wire expansion, Burial Beer expansion, Oskar Blues new flagship brew


By Cliff Mori

It’s been a big (and small) week for local brewers. Hi-Wire Brewing officially announced their next big expansion, Burial Beer released their first big batch of beer and Oskar Blues released its smallest beer yet. Here’s a recap:

Big Expansion

Last week, Hi-Wire Brewing announced a major expansion. The South Slope based brewery has been pushing the production limits of their Hilliard Ave brewery since opening in mid-2013, and earlier this year contracted Lazy Magnolia Brewing of Mississippi to help them meet customer demand. Though still tight-lipped about where the new brewery will be located, co-owner Adam Charnack assured me it will be “right in the middle of town.”

The new brewery, slated to open in mid-2015, will serve as a second location, housing much larger equipment to handle Hi-Wire’s year round production and will allow Hi-Wire to bring all production back to Asheville. The original location will be kept and will focus on small batch and seasonal offerings. The expansion will lead to 15 new full time positions at the brewery as well as additional help to run the second tasting room. (The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that Hi-Wire also plans to expand distribution into South Carolina after the expansion.) Initial production is expected to be 17,000 barrels a year, though the facility will be capable of producing 50,000 bbls each year as needed.

Big Batch

Burial Beer Company celebrated their expansion last week with the release of the first batch of beer brewed on their new 10 barrel system. For the past year and a half, Burial has been brewing 30 gallon batches, working overtime to keep beer flowing from the taps just three days a week at their Collier Ave tasting room. The larger system means a lot more beer and has allowed Burial to expand operations to six days a week. Burial will even offer growler fills for a limited time on Dec. 23 and 24, something they’ve never had enough beer to offer before, though options and quantities will be limited.

Small IPA

Oskar Blues Brewing, of Lyons, Colo., and Brevard, announced the release of Pinner IPA this week, a new session IPA that will join Mama’s Little Yella Pils, Dale’s Pale and Old Chub Scotch Ale as a year round offering. “Session” means low alcohol, and Pinner clocks in at just 4.9%, making it their lowest year round offering to date. However, what it lacks in booze it makes up for in hop aroma and flavor. Big tropical fruit aromas, juicy hop flavors and that low ABV means you can have more than one. Look for Pinner in cans around the Asheville area, or head out to Brevard for Oskar Blues’ annual Hootenanny New Year’s Eve Party and First Hangover Charity Brunch on New Year’s Day (Pinner would be a perfect “Hair of the Dog” beer BTW).

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.