By Greg Hince
Aug. 3, 2012. Sugar Mountain Ski Resort is brewing up another fun mountain festival this summer for High Country residents, visitors and beer and wine aficionados. The inaugural Sugarbrew festival will take place Saturday August 4 from noon to 6 p.m. and will feature drinks, food, music and other kinds of fun for people of all ages.
“We’ve got a great new festival that we’re excited about,” said Kim Jochl, event and marketing director for Sugar Ski Resort. “It’s a brand new event here at Sugar.”
The main attraction will be the sampling of domestic craft and import beers from local favorites to famous foreigners.
“We have 13 wine vendors and 31 beer vendors so far,” Jochl said. “Each vendor is bringing about three to eight different selections. Right now there are over 40 different styles of beer that have entered the best in show contest.”
Some of the beers you’ll find on tap include Sweetwater Brewing from Atlanta, GA, Olde Hickory Brewery just down the road in Hickory and Kind Beers from Charlotte. Franziskaner Weissbier comes all the way from Munich, Germany and Staropramen Lager comes from Prague, Czechoslovakia. Of course, local brewer Blowing Rock Ale will be on tap and the resort will be proud to be the stage for local company Blind Squirrel Brewery as they launch their brand new brews. That’s not all. For a complete list of breweries please visit www.sugarbrew.com/breweries.
Attendees will also taste world class and well-known North Carolina wines from Shelton Vineyards, Lake James Cellars Winery, Hinnant Family Vineyards and Winery, McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks, Adams Vineyards, Castle Rock Winery, Elkin Creek Vineyard and varieties from California vineyards like La Merika Vineyards and Villa San Juliette Vineyard and Winery. For a complete list of wineries attending SugarBrew visit www.sugarbrew.com/wineries.
The festival isn’t only for drinkers. To attract as many different groups as possible, general admission, parking, music and people-watching are free. The festival also offers ski-lift rides to Sugar’s 5,300 ft. peak, where summer temperatures drop and a cool mountain breeze wafts through the air. Hot dogs, hamburgers, soda and ice cream will be served. Well-known local bands The King Bees, Soul Benefactor and The Johnson Brothers will perform. It’s an all-around, American festival that the general public can enjoy, Jochl said.
The Johnson Brothers open the festival from noon to 1:30 p.m., and will play tunes from the 70s through today, with the main focus on Classic Rock and Oldies. The Johnson Brothers have been playing music in the High Country most of their collective lives.
Soul Benefactor will take the stage at 2:00 p.m. for and hour and a half set. Originally formed for a one-off party performance in August 2007, the band soon decided that playing together was too much fun to simply hang it up.
The members of Soul Benefactor have decades of experience under their collective belts, and most of the musicians are multi-instrumentalists. The band is known to cover the songs of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Billy Preston, Junior Walker & The Allstars, Al Green, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, Booker T. & The MGs, The Meters, Bill Withers, Van Morrison, The Allman Brothers Band, Derek & The Dominoes, Joe Cocker, CCR, The Rolling Stones and many more.
Headliners The King Bees are a two-piece alternative blues band from Todd, NC who often has other musicians sit in with them. They have worn their North Carolina pride on their sleeves for the entirety of their 25 years in the music business, even titling their latest album “Carolina Bound.” They will take the stage at 4:00 p.m. to close out the festival.
Several High Country area and North Carolina breweries will be represented at Sugarbrew, including French Broad Brewing Co., Natty Greene’s Brewing Co., Lonerider Brewing Company and Olde Hickory Brewery, among others. Also, seven wineries, the majority of which are from western NC, will have selections available. Beer and wine wristbands are $35 and are available at www.sugarbrew.com/tickets. General admission and parking are free.
A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Sugar Mountain Ski & Snowboard Foundation. For more information and a complete list of beer and wine vendors visit www.sugarbrew.com or call 1-800-SUGAR-MT.
Sugar Mountain will also be holding its 22nd annual Oktoberfest Saturday and Sunday, October 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival, which is one of the Mountain’s yearly highlights, will feature folk dancing and music from the Harbour Town Fest Band, who Sugar Mountain promises will bring “a festive Bavarian atmosphere.” There will also be performances from the national award winning Avery Smooth Dancers and the Mountain Laurel Cloggers. Admission, parking and shuttle service for Oktoberfest are free.
“We’re hoping (SugarBrew) will grow and expand, just like Octoberfest,” Jochl said.
Both festivals will go on rain or shine and are open to families with kids of all ages. For additional information call 828-898-4521. For more information on Oktoberfest visit http://oktoberfest.skisugar.com.
The resort will also be selling clothing and equipment from the sports shop for 30-70 percent off and will be selling discounted passes for the 2012-13 winter season. For more information on Sugar Mountain visit www.skisugar.com.