By Jessica Isaacs
Temperatures are dropping around the High Country just in time for the annual Winterfest Beer Festival at Beech Mountain Resort on Saturday, Jan. 7, which will bring live music and North Carolina craft beer together to support the Beech Mountain Academy.
The fun will take place from 4-8 p.m. at Beech Tree Bar and Grille, located in the alpine village at the base of the slopes. Breweries from across western North Carolina will serve up their favorite creations for festival goers looking to sample and learn more about the products and the industry.
What’s On Tap?
Beech Mountain Brewing Co.’s resident brewmaster Billy Smith has reserved three new recipes for exclusive release at the festival: an Orange Blossom Honey Hibiscus Double IPA, a Rye Stout and an American Honey Wheat.
“I just wanted to do something special and have some beers that we’ve never made before to release at our festival,” said Smith. “I thought it would be cool to create a unique experience for folks that come to our resort and to let the folks coming to the festival try something new before anyone else.”
Blowing Rock Brewing Co. will offer its Grandfather’s Breakfast Stout, a deliciously rich stout brewed with specialty malts, house toasted oats and natural cocoa powder with the addition of cold pressed CAMP Coffee brand Sumatra Gayo Highland Coffee added during fermentation; and its Belgian Strong Ale, brewed with Belgian dark candy sugar for a unique seasonal flavor profile that comes from the addition of spiced figs, allspice and mace.
Booneshine Brewing Co. co-owners Tim Herdklotz and Carson Coatney will offer up three of their favorites: the TropicPale Ale, dry hopped with massive amounts of Australian Galaxy hops and showcasing mango, orange and papaya flavors; the Golden Hour Double IPA, a full-flavored and refreshing take on the double IPA style with a blend of seven different hops; and the seasonal Long Winter Mocha Stout, brewed with generous amounts of dark chocolate and cacao nibs and a subtle coffee flavor in the nose and finish from a Hatchet Coffee Ethiopian blend.
“It’s a good, small, mostly local beer fest and they have great music as part of the event,” Herdklotz said. “We’re always looking forward to sharing different Booneshine flavors with people who haven’t tried our beer before, and it’s a good venue to do that.”
From downtown Boone’s Lost Province Brewing Co., watch for the Mosaic IPA, a deep golden colored IPA brewed with Magnum, Citra and Simcoe then dry-hopped with Mosaic hops for bright citrus and berry notes in the aroma, a hoppy base and a lingering hop bitterness; the Chill Pilz classic German-style pilsner lager with a clean and crisp notable hop flavor, a grainy malt base and spicy/floral traditional Hallertauer hops; the Golden Ticket English-style porter with dark chocolate flavors that grow over over time; and the Temptation Belgian-style tripel ale, with notes of pear and banana in its aroma, light continental malts and noble hops flavor with subtle notes from the bitter orange peel and coriander added to the boil.
Drew Henson of Blind Squirrel Brewery in Plumtree says they’re bringing their American Pale Ale, a full-bodied, copper colored ale with the malty sweetness of its mash offset by a generous amount of Magnum bittering hops and delightful citrus/floral notes; the Irish Stout, with specialty grains and fresh yeast for a roasted character followed by hints of coffee, vanilla, chocolate and other toasted aromas; and the Belgian Triple, brewed with a simple malt bill and only a few hop additions for a complex taste with a multitude of flavors.
“We’re excited to visit again all of our friends on Beech Mountain,” Henson said.
Also try recipes from Flat Top Brewing Co. of Banner Elk, Newgrass Brewing Co., Preyer Brewing Co. and Wicked Weed Brewing.
The festival will also feature live music from Zach Deputy, a one-man-band and talented singer/guitarist, throughout the evening, along with Super Reggae Man, who also uses technology to create spontaneous musical magic on stage.
Proceeds from the event will help support Beech Mountain Academy (formerly the Beech Mountain Ski Education Foundation), which began in the early ’90s as a nonprofit dedicated to making competitive ski and snowboard programs available to local youth regardless of their economic background.
While you’re there, enjoy the opportunity for shopping and dining in the alpine village. A lift ticket is not required to attend the festival. Please remember to drink responsibly and take advantage of the free shuttle bus, which will provide transportation to and from all Beech Mountain hotels and the festival.
Get your tickets for $45 in advance, $50 at the door or $70 for VIP access, which includes early entry and food. Buy online at beechmountainresort.com or call 828-387-2011.