In 2009, Asheville was barely edged out by Portland, OR as Beer City USA’s favorite place for beer. Didn’t know Asheville was even in the running? Well, Asheville has nine local breweries and brewpubs, and is adding more each year! The city even offers a Brews Cruise that takes guests around to a few of the breweries to learn about each location’s special brews and allows guests to taste test their most popular brands. In addition, I just learned that downtown Asheville offers a beer-only shop! It’s called Bruisin’ Ales and a trip is definitely in order. This store boasts over 800 brews from around the world (and around the corner). You’ll find rare brews, exceptional seasonals, and other hard-to-find limited releases. The unique bottle shop set-up allows customers to “Mix-a-Six.”
The names of Asheville’s breweries are as creative as their beer. With names like Highland Brewing Company, French Broad Brewing Company, Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company, Pisgah Brewing Company, Wedge Brewing, OysterHouse Brewing, Craggie Brewing Company, Lexington Avenue Brewery and Green Man Ale & Brewing Company, you know you’re in for a real treat. In March 2010, a new brewery will be introduced to Asheville. Mother Earth Brewery will be adding to the increasing list of craft beers.
As some of my readers may know, I have teamed up with a Kook (cook), a charity, a band and a couple of Asheville’s local breweries for a one-of-a-kind weekend Culinary Event: Feasting With Brew to raise money for The Hope & Light Foundation. I have donated the Inn for the weekend to Angela McKeller from Kick Back & Kook who will be offering beer and dessert tastings as well as cooking classes the weekend of June 4-5, 2010. Davin McCoy & The Coming Attractions from Atlanta have donated their time and musical talents to come up to Asheville to play their brand of music (likened to Cat Stevens, Dave Matthews & Shawn Mullins). The schedule for the weekend consists of:
- Friday, June 4: 2:30 – 4:30 pm – Beer & Truffles ($29) – Think beer and chocolate don’t go together? Pisgah Brewing will come by and explain the ins and outs of brewing, the difference between one brew and another and give a presentation on how to pair beer with chocolate!
- Friday, June 4: 6-9 pm – Souffles Made Simple ($45) – French for “puff up”, Angela will demonstrate just how easy these seemingly difficult, but impressive dishes are for dinner and dessert! On the menu: Shrimp Soufflé with Creamy Dill Sauce; Spinach and Ricotta Soufflé and Dark Chocolate Soufflé.
- Saturday, June 5: 1-3 pm – Simple Summer Desserts Sampling and Brew Tasting ($29) – On the menu: Chef Mike Carrino’s Cherry and Apple Tart to Angela’s own Flambéd Brandied Peaches to Chef Jerry Solomon’s Zabayon, a simple but delicious Italian custard served with mixed berries, you’ll experience it all!
- Saturday, June 5: 6:30-9:30 pm – Iron Chef Competition ($65) – Paired off into two groups, munching on some of Angela’s most popular dips while you “kook”, two teams will go head to head, competing to see who can create the best meal of the evening! Who judges? You do! Everyone is given a score card to fill out without anyone else seeing. On a scale of 1-5, you try each others dishes and rate them, putting the score cards in a bowl for Angela to tally the scores while you finish dessert. The winning team gets a prize as “kooky” as Angela is!
This culinary fundraiser promises to be a real treat for everyone who attends. The beer/dessert pairings are open to 200 people each while the cooking classes are limited to 25 participants each. In addition to Pisgah Brewing, we are working with another local brewery for Saturday’s tasting and will announce who that will be once the details have been worked out.
Asheville already has five beer festivals throughout the year, including Winter Warmer, Oktoberfest, Baseball & Beers at McCormick Field, Beer City Brewfest and Brewgrass. Maybe the Feasting With Beer event will become the next annual festival.