Sunday, September 03, 2006
Last year I saw a mention of a Beer Festival that sounded too good to be true: a craft beer festival that also features Bluegrass music. I am a big fan of traditional bluegrass music and am moderately fond of craft brewed beer, so what could be better than mixing the two activities into one big festival?
The Brewgrass Festival does just that! Nestled in the mountains of Western North Carolina-a beautiful place to be, indeed-this festival has been an annual event for ten years! This year there are forty-six brewers lined up to present their wares, most of them from the Southeast portion of the US, but some from as far away as the Pacific Northwest. The list is Here. Note that Rogue Ales from Oregon and Sierra Nevada from California are showing up to showcase their very excellent beers! I honestly am more interested in trying the local breweries' offerings, than those beers from the larger brewers that are available at any good beer store. The presence of these big, far-off brewers indicates this venue has become a premier beer festival, fo' sho'!
There will also be plenty of good music to hear.The lineup of acts is listed Here. Again, for me, it is the local, the least popularized and the most eclectic or most traditional of the bands that I am interested in. Still, the presence of some "national" acts indicates that this is a big venue (if that phrase can be uttered in reference to Bluegrass music...). From the link posted above (Bands) you can visit the websites of four of the five featured bands. I listened to examples of each of them. John Cowan Band seems to be an interesting mix of Country and Bluegrass, I'll listen and see if I like their stuff. The Gibson Brothers is the most mainstream Country of the bunch, which means, in this day and age, Pop Country. That is of little interest to me. They may be better than that in concert, though, so I'll give 'em a chance. Robinella sounds pretty darn jazzy to me, but Bela Fleck fits that category and can jam in the Bluegrass vein with the best of them. We'll give 'em a chance, too. The Whitewater Bluegrass Company seems, by the info on the website, to be the only traditional Bluegrass band on the menu. Their downloads indicate a proficient band doing lots of the classics. I'm very certain I'll like them! Finally, the wildcard will be the intriguingly named, Greasy Beans. No explanation or samples of their music is available from the website, so I Googled, 'em. Turns out they are a traditional and talented band. Take a listen, Here! Click on Broken Hearted Woman for a taste of the band, live. In fact, I think they'll be number one on my list of bands to see!
My wife and I will be going along with a beer-loving friend and his wife. We should have a great time and I'll let you all know how it goes after the festival which is September 23rd. Craft-brewed beer and Bluegrass music in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Am I lucky or what?