Ashevillian’s fall for local breweries’ seasonal beers

By Amanda Cline – [email protected] – Staff Writer | Oct. 1, 2014 |
The days grow shorter, the nights get cooler and the beer gets better. As the leaves in Asheville, the self-proclaimed Beer City, begin to change their colors, local breweries brew fall-flavored beers.
“I’m not sure why beer drinkers seem to go crazy this time every year. Maybe the drop in temperature and they are excited to enjoy pumpkin beers and warm up a little? Or maybe football season coinciding with the fall brews,” said Michael Hefner, a UNC Asheville senior.
With so many breweries in the area, Hefner said he believes tourism in the craft brew industry helps the local community.
“The Asheville beer community is a unique aspect of living in the area. I believe we tied with Portland a few years back for Beer City USA. I think it’s a valuable part of the community and brings in a lot of revenue and also in most cases breweries and pour houses are central to supporting the local music scene,” Hefner said.
A musician himself, Hefner performs at breweries in the area and also enjoys the craft brews, he said.
“I drink craft beer because I believe that brewers working on a smaller scale create a higher quality product in most cases. They care about what they are putting out into the world. Also I like to support local brewers and my community,” Hefner said.
The ever-popular Wicked Weed Brewery proudly offers its new fall beers this season. The pumpkin-themed brews include Pumpk-Anne, Burning Ham Smoked Pumpkin Porter and Jack O’Hammered.
“The Pumpk-Anne is our most popular. It’s not like the porter and sour, which isn’t everyone’s taste. We’ll probably continue to brew it through the fall,” said Suefan Hobgood, an employee at Wicked Weed.
Known as a traditional pumpkin ale, Pumpk-Anne offers beer lovers a yummy taste of fall with hints of pumpkin, pumpkin spice and vanilla.
“(Fall beers) go well with the season. People like their lighter beers during spring and summer. They like the spices of the fall beers. They go perfect with leaf season and crisp evenings,” Hobgood said.
Smaller breweries also try their hand at creating their version of a fall brew.
“The new Oktoberfest that Fonta Flora Brewery put out is my favorite fall beer right now,” Hefner said.
Fonta Flora is one of two breweries located in Morganton.
“For us, this is the best kind of non-traditional Appalachian beer. It’s a very traditional classic malt forward drinking lager. People having that beer helps bring in fall and reminds them of leaves changing color,” said Todd Boera, head brewer at Fonta Flora.
Oktoberfest is not a beer that represents the usual brews produced by Fonta Flora, Boera said.
A Warren Wilson College alumnus, Boera said the brewery mixes weird and unusual ingredients in its beer.
“We have a new roasted sunflower saison, an acorn beer, as well as a beer brewed with black walnuts. We’re also using some hay grown at Warren Wilson,” he said.
No pumpkin is used in the making of Oktoberfest, Boera said.
“The pumpkin ale trend is ridiculous because so many people don’t use North Carolina pumpkins in their brew. Wicked Weed is on point with what they’re doing,” he said.
Fonta Flora will be releasing a beer crafted from sweet potatoes from North Carolina. Boera said that it’s important to brew seasonally, as it’s a celebration of seasonal crops.
“Drink a beer right now because it’s fall. Colder nights call for a more malty taste on the pallet. It’s an important part of life to celebrate the ushering in of a new season,” Boera said.