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wo new Buncombe County breweries set to open this year.

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3/7/2012 - Two new Buncombe County breweries set to open this year.
by Tony Kiss - Asheville Citizen Times

People keep asking how many more local breweries can open here. We have 10 in Buncombe County now, one -- Asheville Pizza and Brewing -- with two locations.

Nos. 11 and 12 are about to join the scene. The Black Mountain Ale House in Black Mountain and Blue Mountain Pizza in Weaverville are building brewing operations and will be tapping beers later this year.

The Ale House is starting small, said owner John Richardson. The brewery is a three-barrel system, and the brewer has yet to be named, but it will likely be someone who is working at the pub and restaurant now. These beers will be sold only at the Ale House for starters. And it may be six months before permitting is in hand and the brew begins to flow.

Blue Mountain Pizza has ordered its brewing system and has already obtained its federal permit, said owner Matt Danford. He's now working on the state paperwork. Danford hopes to have two drafts to start, with a third to be added later.

The Blue Mountain Pizza location has sure seen a lot of uses through the years. Remember when it was a hardware store? Later there was a low-powered TV station in there, too.

These "nano" system breweries -- like the one at Thirsty Monk South -- could be the local brewing wave of the future.

Highland Cup farewell

Highland Brewing has "reluctantly" discontinued its namesake Highland Cup pro-am homebrew competition, said brewery founder Oscar Wong. The competition, which began in 2008, let homebrewers compete to make an ale at Highland. The winning beer would also be entered into the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

But high costs and stress to pull it all off has taken its toll. In its place, Highland is looking to invite members of the local homebrew club MALT to make beers on its small pilot system up to four times a year.

Some of those ales could also be put on sale. Details on how this will happen are still being worked out, Wong said.

New beers

Lexington Avenue Brewery has released a new nitrogen version of its American Pale Ale. Get it at the brewery, 39 N. Lexington Ave. Pisgah Brewing, 150 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain, has an American Wheat ale out this week. Next week, Pisgah will tap into Riverbend Brown, made with Riverbend malt, and more of its Mexican Lager.

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