High Country BeerFest Sept. 3
Roll out the barrels this Labor Day weekend: The High Country Beer Fest is returning Sept. 3.
Now in its fourth year, the tasting and educational event fittingly boasts, "Education never tasted so good."
It's easy to see why.
With more than 50 breweries represented at the Beer Fest, founder and organizer Brett Taubman guarantees something to fit anyone's taste.
Hosted by the Broyhill Inn & Conference Center, the lineup includes Boone Brewing Co. (Blowing Rock), Big Boss Brewing (Raleigh), Buchi Kombucha (Asheville), Carolina Beer Company (Statesville), Duck Rabbit Brewery (Farmville), French Broad Brewing Co. (Asheville), Highland Brewing Co. (Asheville), Ivory Tower Brewery (Appalachian State), Natty Greene's Brewing Co. (Greensboro) and Weeping Radish Brewery (Manteo), just to name a few.
"Take it slow," he said in a previous interview. "It's always good to map out a strategy."
Upon entry to the festival, those 21 and older are given a 6-ounce tasting glass and a program that lists participating breweries, allowing attendees to takes notes, compare and contrast and plot a course.
"It's probably good to start light and work your way to the dark and heavy, so you can still taste the beers by the time it's done," Taubman said. "Definitely take it slow and drink plenty of water in between; not only to stay hydrated, but so you also stay aware."
Water stations are featured throughout the festival grounds, as are concessions to quell those munchies. Speaking of munchies, this year's seminars are just as mouth-watering.
All seminars run from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and again from 5 to 6 p.m.
Erick's Cheese and Wine presents a course on cheese and cured meat pairing, hosted by Randall Ray and Scott Pickett. Mellow Mushroom presents a course on pizza and beer pairing, hosted by Chase Luddeke, and culinary arts instructor Gaila Hodgin presents a course on beer and dessert pairing.
Music is also on tap for this year's Beer Fest, with Laura England and the Switch performing from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m., Swift Science from 4 to 5:15 p.m., and the Henhouse Thieves from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
But with great beer comes great responsibility. Safety is paramount, Taubman said, and Beer Fest will provide a local taxi service for those who've sampled a little too much.
Also, no one under 21 years of age will be admitted, except for children less than 12 years old who are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Tickets cost $30 for general admission and $10 for designated drivers and are available online at http://www.hcbeerfest.com. All proceeds benefit area charities and the Appalachian State University Foundation.
The High Country Beer Fest runs from 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3. For more information, visit http://www.hcbeerfest.com.