By Cliff Mori
May is shaping up to be full of exciting events for Asheville beer. Here’s a quick look:
New Belgium Breaks Ground
New Belgium Brewing, of Fort Collins, Colo., will officially break ground on the site of their Asheville expansion today. Though site prep work has been going on for months, this marks the official start of construction. The Asheville brewery will ultimately produce 500,000 barrels a year, and will also be home to the “liquid center” tasting room where the public can come and enjoy New Belgium beers. New Belgium hopes to be brewing and shipping beer from their River Arts District site by the end of 2015. Coinciding with the construction of the brewery, another site in Enka will be built as a distribution center. New Belgium estimates 140 new jobs will be created between the two facilities once they reach full capacity.
New Belgium CEO Kim Jordan will be on site for the private ceremony, and a free public event will be held on May 2 at The Grey Eagle featuring music from David Earl and the Plowshares. If you’re interested in going to The Grey Eagle celebration, you need tickets. Go in person to Harvest Records or The Grey Eagle to get them.
Asheville Beer Week
Now that NC Beer Month is behind us, we can turn our focus back to Asheville. May 23rd -31 marks the third annual Asheville Beer Week, and it is essentially a month’s worth of events in 9 days. Some highlights include educational seminars and tastings by Catawba Brewing, Sierra Nevada, Twin Leaf and Burial, beer dinners pairing local beer with local food and a sour beer festival hosted by Wicked Weed. Pint nights and specialty tap takeovers will be going on all over town before the week closes out with the Beer City Beer Festival on May 30th. A lot of these events are ticketed, and you will want to get yours early before they’re gone. For more information, check out ashevillebeerweek.com.
Green Man Wins NC Brewery Championship Poll
A few weeks back I wrote about the Beer City poll and what it proved about Asheville. When it comes to rallying support for our town and local businesses, Asheville is unparalleled. This week Asheville’s loyal beer fans came together in support of Green Man Brewery in the final round of the NC Brewery Championship. Brewmasters, a beer bar and restaurant in Wilson, NC created a bracket style championship promotion for NC Beer Month, and NC brewers faced off against each other throughout April. Winners were chosen in each contest based on Facebook comments and with over 700 comments posted for the championship round, Green Man was victorious over New Bern based Beer Army. Congratulations to Green Man on their win and to Asheville for standing behind your local brewers.
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.
Just a heads up, the Grey Eagle/New Belgium show is all sold out…no more tickets available that we are aware of.