Why stay cold? Warm up with The Asheville Winter Warmer Beerfest

It's already been quite a winter in Western North Carolina. Come warm up at the 4th annual Winter Warmer Beer Festival, taking place January 22nd at the Asheville Civic Center Exhibition Hall. There's nothing like sampling beer from across the region to raise your spirits on a cold, wintery afternoon. Join in the festivities!

The Asheville Winter Warmer began 4 years ago when Mark and Trish Lyons, owners of the Asheville Brews Cruise, felt that during the dead of winter, a winter beer festival would be a great way to "shake up the winter blahs". The festival proved to be a big hit, with the Asheville Winter Warmer completely selling out for the past three years, and over 800 beer enthusiasts visiting last year alone. The 2011 festival is sure to make a splash! 

One of the perks about living and visiting Asheville is that it's home to almost a dozen amazing microbreweries that serve up beers crafted right here in town. In fact, Asheville was rated Beer City USA in 2010. It just goes to show how the local brewery scene is transforming the concept of handcrafted beer far and wide.

Many of our local breweries will be featured at the Winter Warmer Festival, including the Asheville Brewing Company, French Broad Brewing Company, Highland Brewing Company, Green Man Ale, The Wedge, Craggie Brewing, and Pisgah Brewing Company. All of these local breweries have delicious brews to offer. The French Broad Brewing Company creates European style beers while maintaining Asheville style, while Green man features a handcrafted English ale. Don't miss out on the award winning Highland Brewery that will serve up their seasonal Cold Mountain Winter Ale, the delicious Shiva IPA created by Asheville Brewing Company, or the heavenly Community Porter by the Wedge Brewery.

This year, more breweries than ever will be featured on Saturday, January 22nd.  Breweries from outside the Asheville area will also be present, including breweries from across the Southeast such as Atlanta, Tennessee, Winston-Salem, Greenville, and Durham. In addition to beer, Asheville's Fiore’s Ristorante Toscana will be serving up Tuscan-inspired Italian food. You can also get down to music at the Brushfire Stankgrass, an eclectic mix of bluegrass, jazz and rock.

The Asheville Winter Warmer encourages visitors to buy tickets before hand. You can buy them through the website (http://www.brewscruise.com/beerfest/buy_tickets). Part of all the proceeds from the $38 tickets will go towards RiverLink, a regional non-profit that's helping redevelop the French Broad River and surrounding community.

If you've got a case of the winter blahs or you just want to check out some local beer in the heart of Beer City USA come out to the Asheville Winter Warmer, January 22nd from 3pm-7pm at the Asheville Civic Center Exhibition Hall will be a prime opportunity to shake things up with local food, brews, and music. Enjoy!