The guidelines for this staff meeting seem odd, even harsh: Show up at 8am. Don’t brush your teeth. No food. And most appalling to some: no coffee.
On the other hand, you get to taste beer…
Welcome to Highland Brewing and Cold Mountain season. The unusual meeting occurred on October 2 and determined the flavor profile for this year’s highly anticipated Cold Mountain Winter Ale. Calls and emails about Cold Mountain ramp up in October and reach a fever pitch through December. Last year the company discovered someone outside the brewery runs a Twitter handle, @ColdMountainTracker, designed to help fans find the brew. “We came in at the right time with a recipe from John (Lyda, brewmaster) that hit home. It’s Asheville’s first seasonal and such fun to see it grow,” said founder Oscar Wong.
The beer arrives in mid to late November, depending on where you live and if you can get to it quickly enough. It can sell out at a store in hours. At the brewery, the release party is November 13, 4-9 pm. Last year, all bottles at the brewery sold out in just two and a half hours. This year, bottles are split among Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On-site purchases are limited to one of each package – liter, 22oz bottle, and 12oz 12-pack. “We want more people to enjoy it and take it home so we reduced the maximum purchase,” said Drew Stevenson, Community Liaison. “And we’ve got more bottles to sell and more kegs to tap this year.” Bands and food trucks continue through all three days. Special cask varieties of Cold Mountain, which met with rave reviews last year, will also be available.
Once a year, the whole staff is invited to the Cold Mountain tasting, setting the course for the season. Sometimes the outcome is easy, like this year, when recipe #5 resulted in a round of applause for John Lyda. Mission accomplished, they wrapped up with bagels and coffee and went to look for toothbrushes.
For more on Highland Brewing visit www.highlandbrewing.com