Great Smokies Brewgrass Festival

I’m so behind on posting about this fabulous event, held back on Sept. 22.  My tardiness is based on several factors:

  1. we had such an AMAZING time over a period of five days in Asheville that I don’t even know how to begin writing about it all, who to thank, or how to fit, in all of the beer,
  2. there was no time to post during the weekend,
  3. and the days following were spent driving the Blue Ridge Parkway (so peaceful) and then back to my hectic job.

Now that I’m done whining, let me shout out my heartfelt thanks to John & Melissa for playing host to us.  They were so kind to open their home and I really enjoyed getting to know them.  They have an amazing family, and it was so nice to spend time together.  It was relaxing to be in their home, and they treated us to some fabulous beers.  I hope one day we can reciprocate.

Credit for our great weekend goes to Bruisin’ Ales, too.  Not just for having the best beer selection in the east (we shopped there EVERY DAY because every day we realized there was something else in stock we wanted to get our hands on), but also because Jason and Julie are such fun people; full of enthusiasm for great beer.  We always enjoy hanging out with these Asheville “beer-lebrities”.

We were also pleased that we got to know James and Michelle over the course of our weekend.  It is always so interesting to read everything he has to share on the Asheville Pubcrawl blog, and they are such terrific people – our weekend in Asheville ended on such a nice note enjoying brunch at Tupelo Honey with them.

Our other group of new acquaintances is almost too large to mention.  I felt like I met all of Alabama that weekend, and we spent time with many people associated with Free the Hops.  “Uncle Jedi” is one of the ringleaders – BTW, he can’t be thanked enough for sharing a 1996 Samiclaus with us (1996 was the last year it was brewed at Hürlimann) – Brent was great to chat with, and KP organized the very nice Friday pubcrawl which was a nice way to meet up with other beer lovers.  I also met another AL girl who loved IPAs and I dragged her through a few lines with me while we chatted – never did remember her name.

Yeah…so about the beers.  Really, reading posts in other blogs or at Beer Advocate and Rate Beer you’ll find more comprehensive lists and descriptions.  Asheville Beer Blog covers it well, FastFreds has great photos including D’s butt and Julie’s panties, Mountain Xpress gives a preview run-down on Asheville locations associated with the event, and I located 48-seconds of video coverage.

  • I couldn’t wait to try Sexual Chocolate from Foothills.  I had it back in February, and it was pretty young then.  It was so smooth and perfect now.  Heavy for the hot day (84F), but it just danced on my tongue.  I loved it.
  • Imperial Kashmir IPA from Highland Brewing was such a treat.  It made a debut at the festival, and sold the next day ($8 for a 22-oz bottle; 10.2% ABV) during a very sedate release event at the brewery.  The brewer of this delightful treat was on-site (he’s as cute in person as he sounds in his podcast; couldn’t find a link to that, but found the article.)
  • Duck Rabbit and Pisgah were both there, and as always, they served up some of the finest beers in North Carolina.
  • Brooklyn served up Schneider Hoffen-Wiesse (mmm, mmm, good!)
  • The controversial Sweetwater Donkey Punch was a lovely barleywine

Then there was the music.  I REALLY enjoyed Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand and enjoyed what I heard and saw of Carolina Chocolate Drops.  The event was held in a terrific venue, except it was hard to enjoy the music AND the beer AND the people all at the same time.

Well, now I have to get back to my busy life, but I feel less guilt that I’ve posted something about this weekend that I’m STILL talking about every chance I get!

3 responses

  1. Nice writeup. Better late than never. Yes, we had a great time hanging out with you and look forward to your return trip. Hopefully we can make our way up there sometime. And of course you can link my blog next to my name.


  2. I’m glad you made it to Brewgrass. Sorry I wasn’t in town to welcome you, but it sounds like James is a good host as well as an avid blogger. As you know, a career move took me to Arkansas. Other than a limited beer scene, things are going well here. I’ll be attending ALA Midwinter in Philly if you find yourselves in the area.

  3. I was remiss in not mentioning that if it hadn’t been for you and Jean, we may not have considered attending this event. We were disappointed that we didn’t have an opportunity to visit with you, but the good people of Asheville made it an eventful couple of days (John & Melissa especially went out of their way to make it a great time.) When we make it to AR (and I’m sure we will) we will make a point to look you up. Professionally I won’t be at Midwinter (my system doesn’t support ALA membership), but it’s possible we could come down to take you around if you’re interested. Keep in touch!

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