Know Your Beer: A Crash Course

If you’re like us, Asheville Beer Week may have overwhelmed you with its outpouring of events in myriad locations. (For starters, the “Week” happens over nine days – apparently, beer math is generous math.) And then there’s trying to puzzle out so many different brews from so many different breweries: the clever names, the ever-evolving flavors, the expectation of microbrew mastery. It all comes to a head this Saturday at the sold-out Beer City Festival. By now, though, who can even keep track? (Burp.)

Still, if you’re thirsting to ride the foamy wave that’s put Western North Carolina on the pop-culture map, wanting to experience the craft-beer craze with an informed palate – in short, wanting to know your beer but without being deluged by hype – consider a friendly event on Thursday, June 4, happening at the newly expanded Hendersonville Community Co-op. Gary Glancy, a bartender from local Catawba Brewing Co., will offer a “Crash Course on Craft Beer.”

Glancy is a certified “cicerone” – that’s the beer version of a wine sommelier, and it’s not an easy title to get. Many of the region’s gastropubs require the “certified beer server” level of expertise from their employees, but the “cicerone” title involves more intensive training, including a three-hour written exam and a one-hour tasting exam.

The test, says Glancy, “is a beast.” (There are fewer than 10 cicerones in all of Western North Carolina.)

He styles the co-op event a “fun, informative workshop.” Attendees will learn the history of craft beer, what indeed makes it “craft,” the various brewing processes, the nuances of flavors, and the art of food-and-beer pairings. After the de rigueur taste testing, “participants will feel confident navigating their way through the endless beer choices found in local grocery stores, pubs, and restaurants – and ready to impress friends and family with an exciting beer dinner of their own,” promises Clancy.

12:30-2 pm. $20/general admission, $15/co-op members. 60 S. Charleston Lane, Hendersonville. (828) 693-0505, ext. 102. Hendersonville.coop

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