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Well, that’s a wrap on Asheville Beer Week and what better way to round out the annual libation celebration than tasting all the regional offerings on a beautiful day in downtown Asheville, aka Beer City Festival which took place this past Saturday, May 30. And what a beauteous day it was. The sun was shining bright, other than a few light sprinkles briefly passing through, the beer was pouring freely, and the music playing loudly.
Each year hundreds of people descend upon the lawn amidst the courthouse and city buildings, plastic beer tasting cup in hand, to sample the many beer varieties that this area has come to be known for. Brewery tents line the perimeter, boasting their favorite brews, some the standard favorites, and others an experimental specialty.
Asheville is no stranger to festivals or good beer, but as a seasoned veteran to Beer City Festivals there are at least five things I have come to expect each year, and I never leave disappointed.
1. Pretzel Necklaces – You can spot a festival goer a mile away donning the simple, yet oh so important, salted munchy jewelry. When you are dedicated enough to spend six hours drinking high octane beer, you better have some substance nearby. And let’s be real, eating while standing in line for that tasty beverage is just beer drinking efficiency at its best.
2. Funny T-shirts – An entire article could be dedicated to clothing and accessories at Beer City. Whether the t-shirts and gadgets are everyday apparel or special occasion fashion, there seemed to be an unofficial contest for funniest and most clever outfits.
3. Fountain Dancing – Yes, I’m talking about Splashville. From kids with goggles to fully clothed adults feeling the beat of the music, the spontaneous streams of water are always a welcome way to cool off (or sober up briefly).
4. Schwag Galore – Stickers, koozies, coasters, necklaces, tattoos. An endless amount of booty ready for the taking.
5. Specialty Beer – Last but certainly not least is the abundance of beer that can be appreciated by beer aficionados, newbies, or amateurs alike. There was coconut, there was orange, there were hops, there were ciders, just to name a few. Some were refreshing, others were heavy. Some warranted a second taste, others maybe a pass.
It is no secret that Asheville is most definitely a beer town. Beer City Festival is just one big party to remind us that just when we thought we knew the beer scene in and out, these breweries will throw something new at you to keep you on your toes.
Until next year Beer City, thanks for the hoppy buzz, tasty food, and good music.