Beer City Festival: Highlighting the best of Asheville's brews and music

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By: Thomas Schultz posted Thu, May 12, 2016 via 

There are few destinations for your late spring/early summer vacation that can surpass Asheville, North Carolina. The storied history of the city dates back to 1784 when Colonel Samuel Davidson settled here after receiving a land grant from the state of North Carolina. The early 1800’s brought the construction of the Buncombe Turnpike. This new road system brought many new settlers with their families, livestock and culture into the rapidly growing area. While the Civil War had a major effect on many areas in the region, Asheville remained relatively undamaged. The city continued to grow due to the railroads being built and area becoming a top vacation destination after the war. Growth continued until the Great Depression when the Central Bank and Trust Company went bankrupt, crippling the entire nation economically. During WWII and after Asheville began to recover. The second half of the 20th century saw the city continue to grow and soon it became nationally renowned for its culture, activities, natural beauty and friendly citizens.

If you're looking for fun things to do while in town, you don't need to look far. Regardless of whether you're on a romantic getaway or a fun excursion with friends, Asheville has some great activities for you to enjoy. The arts here are second to none. The artistic and creative communities are on display all over the city at various galleries, theaters, shows, exhibitions, concerts and more. The culinary scene here is comprehensive. Thanks to many of the best chefs in the country making  Asheville their home, their culinary creations are available all over the city. If you're a history buff, this city is for you. You’ll encounter some great historical sites, landmarks, and museums, that offer an in depth look at the rich history of Asheville.  A perfect way to get the full Asheville experience is to visit during one of their popular events like Beer City Festival.

With an annual attendance of more than 2,000 people over the past seven years, Beer City Festival is one of Asheville’s top beer themed events. Part of Asheville Beer Week, this festival is the largest overall draw during the week long beer centric celebration. Beer City Festival gathers over 30 different local craft beer vendors and combines that with great local music for a one-of-a-kind experience. There will be plenty of food options to choose from at the festival, plus some of Asheville’s top restaurants are within close proximity to the event. Take your Asheville experience to the next level and schedule your trip during the Beer City Festival. You won't be disappointed. We got the chance to interview Matthieu Rodriguez, Representative for the Beer City Festival, to talk about this great beer themed event.

RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.

MR: This is the 7th year for the Beer City Festival in Asheville, NC. We generally have over 2,000 people every year for this event. While the majority of guests are from Western North Carolina, there is a large number of people from the surrounding states that attend. To really enjoy the event, you must be 21+. We do make exceptions for designated drivers and small children. Each year, we find that a new generation of people come the event, and we are honored to be a part of this tradition.

RAL: What makes this event unique?

MR: This event celebrates everything that is truly great about Asheville – local breweries and local music. You could spend an entire month (and a bit of cash) visiting each brewery in WNC, or you could attend our event and sample beer from over 30 local craft beer vendors.

RAL: Take me through a day at the event.

MR: Activities Music! Craft Beer! Games! We want to create a unique experience for our guests through games, breweries, vendors, and on-premise activations from our sponsors. We want to encourage our guests to have a great time and have the ability to just sit back and watch a great show.

RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?

MR: We are very excited to have Big Chief Juan Pardo & the Golden Comanche Mardi Gras Indians headlining this year’s event. Our featured brewer for this year’s event is an up-and-coming brew star with strong Asheville ties.

RAL: What will there be for dining options?

MR: The festival has a number of food options available for purchase within the event site. We always encourage people to visit our favorite restaurants before or after the event. We love Barley’s Taproom and Over Easy Café.

RAL: What is the overall environment of the festival like?

MR: Beer City Festival is right in the heart of Downtown Asheville, NC. The event is centered in front of City Hall in the Roger McGuire Green. It’s a beautiful city park with plenty of natural shade and nooks for people to enjoy during this event and on any day.

RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?

MR: We are working with our friends at Crowne Plaza hotel to ensure that all visiting guests and brewers have a great place to stay the night. Also, guests can visit or for a one-stop resource on any Asheville lodging, attractions, and travel tips.

RAL: Is there maybe one place in particular that guests have been flocking to since the event started?

MR: Downtown and the breweries. Many of our guests leave the event excited to visit the breweries and taste more of the great beer they just sampled. There are so many great stores, breweries, retail spots, and restaurants in downtown Asheville. We could spend an entire article just listing them out.

RAL: What does this event mean to the community?

MR: Beer City Festival celebrates Asheville. Only breweries that brew in WNC are allowed to participate in the event. Our music entertainment is focused on this community. Our vendors all come from Asheville. This event represents our desire to celebrate our city and community on several levels.

RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?

MR: Absolutely! We have found that traveling guests stay up to two nights in local and surrounding hotels. Downtown businesses see the results of having 2,000 people coming together in the area through retail and food sales as well as foot traffic.

RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community?

Beer City Festival and our sister event, Brewgrass Festival, are proud to say that we are the two largest annual fundraisers for Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC, a wonderful organization that is improving the lives of people daily in the WNC community.

RAL: Does lodging hit max occupancy during the event?

MR: Yes, we strongly encourage all attending guests to reserve their lodging as soon as possible. We also try to find hotel partners to help our guests make sure they have a place to stay.

RAL: Why should people come to your event?

MR: If you love great craft beer, live music, and being outside, Beer City Festival is for you. This event is a great opportunity to sample the best beers in WNC all in one place. When you enter the festival, you are not only welcomed into our event, but you’re also welcomed into the Asheville community!

Beer City Festival