With the inaugural Asheville Beer Week kicking off on Thursday, May 24, it’s time to renew our spirit and dedication to our city’s favorite beverage, beer.
Sure, we tied with the awesome town of Grand Rapids, MI for BeerCity, USA this year. The nay-sayers of the economic boon our industry brings will say “who cares?” and the neo-prohibitionists say we’re ruining the city by forcing everyone to drink “the alcohol,” but no. We shall not stand for that. We are a hard-working, vibrant, integral cross-section of this community that knows no borders and has no limits. We are a small bunch. We are strong. We work hard for each other. We work hard for others. We are not jerks. We are trying to make a living. And we like beer. And, moreover, we like that you like beer.
Here’s a Step-by-Step way to bring it home during Asheville Beer Week. If all you can think about is beer right now, skip straight to Step One. Otherwise, humor me.
FIVE: Support Southeast Regional Breweries
We get it. Sometimes you’re tired of that regular local beer you always get with the burrito, side of sour cream. Been there. (And I hate sour cream.) Well, expand your local map area and drink something from within the region of the Southeast. There are many great beers by non-NC breweries that are often available from our greater region: Sweetwater (GA), Terrapin (GA), Atlanta Brewing/Red Brick (GA), RJ Rockers (SC), Thomas Creek (SC), Abita (LA). Surely, I am missing many. Even a brew in our general economic region is boost to the industry. And shouldn’t we let the world know we’re not a bunch of light-beer-swillin’ rednecks? It’s great to branch out, but still: the closer to home, the better.
FOUR: Support North Carolina Breweries
Zoom in, go smaller. NC is awash in breweries and start-ups. We’re not even going to pretend to know everything about each one. We don’t. We’re on a mountain and no one tells us anything. But you can go to the North Carolina Brewers Guild Guide and then ask your favorite restaurant, bar, store (or refrigerator) in Asheville to stock your favorite North Carolina beer. If you don’t see something, ASK FOR IT. (Ask a manager. Also, sorry, managers.) There is no shame in it. In fact, you get extra cool points from the beer gods for doing so. This has been proven somewhere. I read it on the internet.
THREE: Support Asheville Beer Week (May 24-June 3, 2012)
This is the biggest beer bash ever to be held in Asheville, North Carolina, a.k.a. BeerCity, USA. A small, yet mighty group of people is working overtime to put on a stellar “week” for you (Okay, it’s 12 days, or something, but no one said we could count. We can’t.) with an insane number of beer events all over town.
During Asheville Beer Week, not only are you supporting the local breweries, restaurants, bars, and retailers, you are also doing your usual gig for many, many, many good causes. During Asheville Beer Week, the beer community is helping out many groups and individuals, including the Asheville Brewers Alliance, The Family of Ben Harris (Redhook Brewery), Habitat for Humanity, Save The French Broad, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of WNC, The WNC Nature Center, and The Appalachian Trail Conservancy to name a few. There are big, fancy dinners and free, fun pint nights. Three fests ranging from free to $16/pp to $40/pp. We’ve got you covered.
You can visit the Official Asheville Beer Week site at http://ashevillebeerweek.com. We’ve also got apps in Android and iPhone markets. You can play with us on Twitter (@AVLBeerWeek), Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, and Untappd. We even have an Untappd Badge you can earn to show you Asheville Beer Week pride! Use the official hashtags #avlbeer and #avlbeerweek to share your events and get info.
(Oh, and here’s a link for a contest for two free tickets to Beer City Fest from 104.9.)
TWO: Support Asheville Breweries
When you drink a local beer, you don’t just support the brewery. You support the employees in the office to the folks scraping the mash tun; you support their families, their kids. You support the businesses that carry their products, which means you support small businesses. You support EVERYONE. We’ve heard Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery say many times that the very first beer you enjoy every night should always be a local beer. This is not a lie.
ONE: Drink a Local Beer
You’re doing it! Congratulations. Cheers!
(Photo: MountainXPress/Anne Fitten Glenn)