All in Good Spirits

Craft Beer Lovers — Remember, Waynesville threw out the first pitch

By Paul Viau | Aug 06, 2014
Photo by: Paul Viau BEER-BATTER UP — Waynesville Craft Beer Faire's hometown team of brewers are pitching much more than yeast. Pictured (L to R) are Chris Amsler, representing American Legion Post 47, Scott Peterson from Tipping Point Brewery & Tavern, Clark Williams from Frog Level Brewing Company and Kevin Sandefur from BearWaters Brewing Company.

This column is dedicated to those of you who think I write too much about beer. In my defense, writing occupies my hands and eyes for long periods of time — keeping me from grabbing a cold one from the nearby beer cooler.

It also helps that I do most of my writing in the early morning hours, where I mostly consume black coffee — and hardly ever java porter.

But enough about my writing habits, as most of you beerheads know, we are right in the middle of a very busy, very crowded season of craft beer festivals. From Asheville Beer Week to Burning Can Beer Fest — Highland’s Ale Share Beer Fest to Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp Across America, my cup certainly runneth over.

Actually, my designated-driver wife (God bless her!) and I have taken a little hiatus the past few weeks. Why? Because bigger isn’t always better.

The upcoming (Now past when you read this) Beer Camp Across America festival in Mills River is sold out of the maximum 5,000 tickets at $65 each. Sure, there will be more than 100 brewers sampling their beers, but I did the math.

With 5,000-plus avid beer consumers gathering around 100 brewers, that makes 50 thirsty folks (if they are evenly distributed) standing in line at each brewers spot. This makes Brewgrass look like an intimate cocktail party.

Sure, at any given point, there will be a few hundred people in line at the porta potties, and a few folks “taking a pause” listening to music or searching for a precious piece of the 500 square feet of available shade, but still — bigger isn’t always better.

That’s why I am waiting — not so patiently — for Waynesville’s upcoming Craft Beer Faire — Noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 16, at Waynesville’s picturesque American Legion ball field.

This will be the “second” year for people to gather and sample craft beer in Waynesville — the town that got the ball rolling in 1993 — opening WNC’s “first” craft brewery, a year before Highland Brewing Company opened in Asheville.

Sadly, Smoky Mountain Brewery came and went, but in recent years Waynesville has given rise to three great, new craft breweries and a fourth production brewery that will be coming online soon — maybe early enough for you to “Get some of the Boojum.” (That’s a sneak preview)

One of the best things about the Waynesville Craft Beer Faire is the location — on the beautiful, grassy field of dreams — popularly known as Waynesville’s American Legion Post #47 Ball Field.

Trust me, this is a pleasant upgrade from they typical craft beer festival’s piping hot asphalt parking lot. And the ball field is within easy walking distance to Historic Downtown Waynesville — where you can pause from the beer sampling to enjoy restaurants and shopping.

This year, the American Legion added a spacious new (and shady) pavilion — a great place to rest from the rigors of arm bending.

This will be Waynesville’s second, annual Craft Beer Faire. (In faire-ness, last year it was a termed a festival.) Whatever the name, the WCBF promises to be a wonderful event. Ticket sales will be limited to the first 500 paid inbibers at $35 (That’s civilized) and 100 VIP guests (aka Early Bird Specials) at $45.

The extra $10 for VIP tickets gets you in the door at Noon — a full hour (or 37 beers) before the regular ticket holders are allowed in.

The WCBF is also limiting the number of brewers to 30. Considering that each will have a few beers to sample, in my opinion, that’s more than enough beer for one afternoon.

This is a beer festival that celebrates quality over quantity, so go online to and snap up your tickets ASAP. The VIP tickets are going fast. Cheers.