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The Sauce Boss returns to celebrate BearWaters 2nd Anniversary

By Paul Viau | May 14, 2014
Photo by: Paul Viau COOKIN'  — The Sauce Boss will be cooking up a spicy combination of gumbo and blues at BearWaters 2nd anniversary bash. Pictured is his entertaining performance at last year's BearWaters anniversary party.

It’s been way too long since I have written about Haywood County’s ever-growing beer scene. So before the upcoming Asheville Beer Week festivities capture everyone’s attention, let’s keep a local focus and celebrate one of our own great craft breweries — BearWaters Brewing Company.

In just two years, under Kevin Sandefur’s imaginative lead, BearWaters has established itself as a creative leader in our town’s beer scene.

It was Sandefur who got Haywood County TDA support — as well as the support of Asheville Brewers Alliance — for Waynesville first-ever Craft Beer Fest last August.

This very successful event drew nearly 20 breweries from our area, and hundreds of beer fans gathered — most fittingly — right here in Waynesville.

Did you know? — Waynesville was the birthplace of craft brewing here in Western North Carolina. Our own Smoky Mountain Brewery opened in Waynesville in 1993, more than a year before Highland Brewing Company started the beer-ball rolling in Asheville. Unfortunately, Smoky Mountain Brewery only remained in business for four years — a fact that has kept Sandefur and BearWaters very mindful of how important it is get, and keep, local support.

“We have some of the best customers anywhere,” said Sandefur. “We want to keep doing good things for our community.”

Of course, that means brewing great beer, and BearWaters has done that ‘in spades.’ BearWaters won an impressive 11 medals at Hickory Hops Carolinas Championship of Beers in 2013, and added four more medals this year. BearWaters offers the most extensive variety of beers in Haywood County — consistently keeping 10 or more beers flowing at BearWaters Tap Room.

BearWaters also enjoys collaborating with other breweries — both near and far — including, Nantahala Brewing Company, Altamont Brewing Company and Asheville Brewing Company. “Collaborating pushes us out of our comfort zone, said Sandefur, “and that results in a better product for the consumer.”

BearWaters beers are on tap throughout Haywood County — at Frogs Leap Public House, Pub 319 and Pasquale’s in Waynesville, as well as J. Arthur’s and Rendezvous Restaurant in Maggie Valley. You can also find BearWaters beers on tap at Thirsty Monk in Asheville and Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in Hendersonville.

Still, the fact remains 90 percent of BearWaters beer is sold at their Tap Room at 130 Frazier St. in Waynesville. Sandefur’s goal is to make BearWaters Brewing Company a ‘destination brewery.’

Recognizing this focus, BearWaters has gathered a dedicated team of employees. Head brewer, Greg Kidd, does the ‘lion’s share’ of the brewing, Jenna James manages the Tap Room, Sandefur’s brother, Jim, schedules and books the entertainment, and Kevin takes care of outside distribution.

“Our team is like a family,” said Sandefur. “We work together to create a positive experience.”

These days, BearWaters is following the success of Highland Brewing Company’s successful ‘Laugh your Asheville Off’ comedy festival, by developing its own comedy series. “We’re bringing a new form of entertainment to our community,” said Sandefur.

For BearWaters' second anniversary, however, they are sticking with last year’s incredible showman, ‘The Sauce Boss.’ The party will start at 6 p.m., Friday, May 23, with ‘The Sauce Boss’ cooking up his spicy style of blues and gumbo at 8 p.m.

If you’ve never seen ‘The Sauce Boss’ in action, I highly recommend it. He actually cooks-up a killer pot of gumbo during his performance, serving it up it to one and all as his finale. It’s well worth the $5 price of admission.

The secret ingredient in The Sauce Boss’s gumbo is his own brand of hot sauce, with heat from datil peppers. Inspired by The Sauce Boss, BearWaters used datil peppers in their most recent collaboration with Asheville Brewing Company. The resulting Minorcan Porter is probably the first chocolate datil pepper porter.

I can tell you first hand, it is a tasty chocolate porter with a warm surprise of a finish.

Don’t miss BearWaters Brewing Company’s 2nd Anniversary Bash, Friday, May 23.

Great beers will be flowing as we celebrate BearWaters’ success.

For more information about the event, call 246-0602 of visit www.bwbrewing.com. For a sneak preview of the entertainment, visit www.sauceboss.com.