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Craft beer is in my DNA

By Paul Viau | Jul 16, 2014
Photo by: Paul Viau BEER BUDDIES —  Tampa, Florida, residents Laurie and Corey Bryson and Fred Hedgecock enjoyed the Burning Can Beer Fest. They plan to be in Waynesville for the Craft Beer Faire Aug. 16.


I have been consumed with beer the past few weeks — And now that I think of it I may have consumed more than my share in the process. But I make no apologies.

After all, it’s a well known fact — chronicled in a 1-hour documentary on The Discovery Channel, that “Beer Saved the World.”

Yes, back in the dark ages, (long after dinosaurs) bacteria ruled the world, people were dying from drinking the oft-contaminated water. The beer making process requires boiling water, ergo beer was (and is) much safer to drink than water.

The PUB(lic) quickly realized this and jumped on the beer bandwagon — thus saving the world.

I’ve been on that bandwagon most of my adult life, one way or another. I went to college at the University of Colorado, where to Coors beer flowed like water. Every Friday afternoon after classes (and sometimes before they were over) there was a mass migration to a nearby area called, “The Hill.” It was home to droves of college students — who flocked to great bars like Tulagi’s and The Sink.

It wasn’t until after college that I realized that Coors (“Brewed with pure Rocky Mountain spring water”) didn’t have much more taste than water.

My brother, Rob, was an early home brewer, and after sampling his beers, I quickly gravitated to darker, more flavorful brews. I even tried my hand at home brewing, quite literally being part of the craft beer — “explosion.”

Beer became part of my career, as well. In my first advertising agency job, our team worked on the Johns-Manville filtration account. “Exciting,” you’re probably thinking. Not too.

But after writing a killer brochure on DE (diatomaceous earth) I drew the assignment to write an ad targeting brewers. It was my first real ad, with the headline “We want to make your beer the best beer around, round after round.”

A couple advertising agencies later, I found myself writing on the Budweiser and Michelob accounts — You remember, “Weekends were made for Michelob,” and “This Bud’s for you,” and the wonderful character, “Bud Man.”

My “Bud Man” beer tankard sets proudly on the bar in my Man Cave, but these days he is surrounded with reminders how Haywood County craft beer has come of age.

I have one of the first bottles of Frog Level Brewing Company’s “Catcher in the Rye,” and a bigger bottle of BearWaters Brewing Company’s “Bourbon Barrel Porter.” They’re in the background, now, recently eclipsed by bright, colorful cans of BearWaters’ Sliding Rock Ale and Frog Level’s Salamander Slam.

Yes, cans are the big, new thing in the craft beer industry, and as the Asheville Citizen Times reported in a cover story last  (a week after my BearWaters canning story in The Guide) area brewers are showing a real “Can-do” attitude.

At the Burning Can Beer Fest, where all beer was poured from cans instead of taps, more than 30 brewers shared their fresh and finest. Cans ruled at the festival, and it was fun to see the puzzled looks among the beer afficianados as they checked in and were handed a mini beer can instead of a tasting glass.

But beer festival groupies are flexible, and they quickly adapted from sampling beer in glass to cans.

I even found a way to nestle a mini ‘Burning Can’ in the holster of my handy ‘tasting necklace.’ That way I could — hands-free — greet my brewer friends, connect with festivalgoers and take pictures of the revelry.

Just minutes into the festival, a Brevard couple caught a glimpse of my Maui Brewing T-shirt and shared stories of their visit to that island brewery. We also visited with folks we met last year at Waynesville Craft Beer Fest.

Which is a perfect segue to remind you that the 2014 Waynesville Craft Beer Faire (This year it’s a Faire, not a Fest) will be from 1-5 p.m. Aug. 16, at the fun and familiar American Legion Ball Field.

Tickets are available locally at BearWaters Brewing Company, Frog Level Brewing Company, and at www.WaynesvilleBeer.com.

So — Get off your can! — Support your local brewers and sample great beers from other regional brewers. I guarantee that you will have a good time, and it ‘might could’ save your life.