Brewery Tours

BREW-ed Brewery Tours are Perfect For Asheville Destination Weddings

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What better way to experience all that Asheville has to offer than by inviting your out of town guests on a Brewery & History Walking Tour? Your guests will be immersed in local history and beer as BREW-ed shows them around downtown Asheville.  BREW-ed is the only brewery tour in Asheville led by a Certified Cicerone®.  Cicerones® are considered experts when it comes to beer and are the perfect guides to Asheville’s amazing breweries.  BREW-ed offers an eco-friendly walking tour that allows participants to enjoy the rich history of Asheville between stops.   BREW-ed also offers private tours perfect for your event and designed to fit your schedule.  A BREW-ed tour is a special addition to your wedding festivities that your guests will remember forever.   

Why BREW-ed? Why a brewery tour of Asheville?

I get asked these questions fairly often, so I thought I'd write a post about it here.  The truth is that I started BREW-ed for a few different reasons, but all of them revolve around beer and Asheville so BREW-ed is the glue that keeps them together.    

The main reason I started BREW-ed was to help bring Asheville bars and restaurants into the new local economy that Asheville is going to see over the next few years.  The city of Asheville is expecting an additional 800,000-1,000,000 visitors a year because of our beer scene, once Sierra Nevada and New Belgium open their Asheville area facilities.  That is a HUGE number.  In comparison, the BIltmore Estate brings in an estimated 1,000,000 visitors a year.  Currently, that is the biggest attraction in Asheville and has been one of the main economic drivers of the area since the house opened to the public more than 80 years ago.  With all of these dedicated beer travelers descending upon our city, there is going to be an expectation that service staff in bars and restaurants are knowledgeable about the beers they are selling and that the beers are served properly.  Also, Asheville is not as far ahead as many cities when it comes to beer and food pairing.  We have an AMAZING restaurant scene, but many of the nicer restaurants don't have a beer list that even comes close to matching with the food menu.  Typically restauranteurs stock a few popular beers, including some locals, and that's about it.  Again, this is an area that I can help with, and I truly believe it will be expected when people go out to dinner in the near future.       

Second, I want BREW-ed to be a resource for people who are truly interested in learning about beer.  I will continue to post some general articles about beer knowledge, but I want to make sure that anyone visiting the site knows they can ask me anything about beer via e-mail or form submission, and I will answer it to the best of my abilities.  I have also decided to offer one on one and small group beer tutoring.  If you want someone to guide you through the unbelievably complex subject of beer and point you in the right direction of your learning, I am here to help.  I will begin offering in-person and web-based learning sessions within the next few weeks.    

While the primary focus is on teaching people about beer, I also want to make sure people are enjoying it as much as I do.  Because of this, I also offer entertaining private event packages.  If you are hosting a private event in Asheville and would like to include beer, BREW-ed can help.  I can keep it as simple as consulting with you on beer selections for the event, or I can go so far as to provide the beer, glassware and guide your event goers through a custom tasting.  You tell me what you have in mind, and I will make it happen.

   It's this enjoyment of beer and of Asheville that led me to create BREW-ed's Brewery & History Walking Tours.  I love talking to people about beer and about the city I live in, and for a number of years I thought about how I could tie the two together. BREW-ed's Brewery & History Walking Tours were the answer.  I wanted to create a unique tour experience that I would want to go on.  When I travel, I am fascinated by the local culture and history of the cities I visit.  And if I take a tour somewhere, I want to learn a lot while enjoying it.  That inspiration created a brewery tour where you learn not only about beer, but about Asheville as well.  I jokingly say it's a nerdier beer tour than the average, because when it's over you will have learned a lot, guaranteed.  

Hopefully, this post answers some of the questions about why I started BREW-ed and why I offer walking tours of downtown Asheville's breweries.  It's because I love Asheville, and I love Asheville beer. I want to share my knowledge with my community to help us all grow and succeed.     

Cliff

Five Tips To Buying Better Beer

As craft beer continues to gain popularity, more and more businesses are trying to cash in on the new demand.  Anyone reading this has likely noticed beers from smaller breweries popping up in previous unlikely places like chain restaurants and big box discount stores.  How can you, as the consumer, make sure you're spending your money on something you'll enjoy?  Follow these five tips to buying better beer, and you'll never be disappointed by less than brewery fresh beer again.


1.  Check The Date

Packaged On or Expiration Date?

Packaged On or Expiration Date?

Beer is a perishable food item, just like anything else you might buy at the grocery store.  You wouldn't buy a gallon of milk without checking the date.  Give your beer the same respect.  Most breweries will put some kind of "packaged on" or "best by" date on their bottles and/or boxes to help consumers know they're getting fresh beer.  Checking these dates isn't always easy though.  Fresh Beer Only is a great site that helps take the mystery out of beer date codes.   As a general rule of thumb, beer is freshest within 120 days of packaging.  After that, it will likely not taste how the brewer intended.


2.  Avoid Brightly Lit Coolers

UV light makes beer "skunky" !

UV light makes beer "skunky" !

Beer has two mortal enemies.  One of them is light.  Most breweries do their best to package their beers in a way that will keep them free from light as much as possible.  However, a lot of times, stores don't show the beer the same respect.  If the beer is kept under bright florescent lights, its flavor might be affected through a process called "skunking".  Green and clear bottles are especially susceptible to this.  Brown bottles block most of the harmful light, and cans provide total protection from harmful UV light.  "Skunked" or lightstruck beer smells just like it sounds: like a skunk.  Obviously, this is not a good thing.  The worst part is that beer can become lightstruck in a matter of minutes!  Whenever possible, buy beer that isn't kept under bright UV lights, or at least grab yours from the back of the cooler where it is normally darker.


3.  Buy Cold Beer

Wet cardboard in your glass... Delicious! 

Wet cardboard in your glass... Delicious! 

Not only is cold beer ready to drink when you buy it from the store, its freshness is also being helped by the colder temperature.  Beer's second mortal enemy is oxygen.  Brewers put a lot of effort into keeping oxygen out of their packaged beers, but inevitably some miniscule amount will find its way inside.  Once it comes in contact with the beer, it starts the slow but steady process of making that beer stale.  First, your hop aromas and flavors fade away.  Next, your malt flavors become muddled, and finally you have a bottle of something that tastes kind of like wet cardboard. 

Warm temperatures speed up this oxidizing process.  Beer that is shipped and stored cold will last longer than beer that is left to sit out on a warm shelf.  Better beer stores will have plenty of cold storage for their beer or will work to keep the temperature of the entire store low to help slow oxidation.    Also, keep in mind where the beer was before it was on that shelf.  Many big box stores have storage areas or warehouses that aren't climate controlled.  If they are receiving huge shipments of beer to a centralized location, it could spend months in a hot place before being moved to a cold refrigerator case. 


4.  Consider the Source

Do you think their beer is fresh? 

Do you think their beer is fresh? 

If you find your favorite specialty beer in a remote gas station in the middle of nowhere next to expired beef jerky and think it's your lucky day, take a moment of pause.  How much of that beer do you think that gas station sells each month?  Do you think they've kept it under the best conditions? 

The same goes for stores that offer a ridiculous variety of beers.  Some do a very good job of monitoring their inventory to give consumers the freshest beer possible.  Others just pride themselves on having a whole lot of stuff.  Some of it might have been sitting there since the day they opened.   


5.  Use Common Sense

Buying fresh delicious beer is a lot like buying anything else.  Use common sense and you will get good results.  Much like buying seafood, there are places you should and should not buy from no matter how appealing the offer might be.  If you walk into the supermarket in July and see your favorite Christmas seasonal, it is not a wonderful treat from the beer gods.  It is old beer.  You shouldn't buy it any more than you should a container of egg nog that mysteriously winds up on the shelf at the same time of year.   Follow these basic tips and you should be much happier with the beers you buy.


Would you like to learn more about beer?  Join BREW-ed for a Brewery & History Walking Tour .