1 ticket to Asheville beer paradise grants access to unlimited beer, fine eats, concerts

On Oct. 9, Burial Beer Co. presents its annual Burnpile Harvest Fest on the sprawling 2-acre campus of the brewery’s Forestry Camp in Asheville.

The open-air festival is a celebration of the harvest season and starting anew while sampling new and innovative collections from craft breweries across the U.S.

The annual event grants access to unlimited tastings of beers produced by more than 50 breweries, live entertainment, interactive industry discussions and a premier dining menu prepared by Forestry Camp’s culinary team.

© Courtesy Photo/Chris McClure Burial Beer Co. will host the 2021 Burnpile Harvest Fest on Oct. 9 at the Forestry Camp in Asheville. The event will feature more than 50 breweries, three music acts, and a curated menu.

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The event is a bargain as its unlimited tastings include high-end and rare products for the cost of one flat price, said Chris McClure, Director of Brand.

“I love all of it because it’s an opportunity for people to try from a brewery they’ve been wanting to try for some time,” McClure said. “It’s a way for people to explore new beer styles.”

Burnpile is a meeting place for guests and breweries from across the country to share in the appreciation of beer and the cross-section of American craft beer, said Jeff McGuire, director of brewing operations. He encourages festivalgoers to view the tasting event as an avenue to experiment, ask questions and learn.

“My biggest tip is to find stuff that is interesting to yourself. Once you find those things and take the time and effort to look at them more deeply it’s a better experience,” McGuire said. “Work your way out of your comfort zone sometimes. If you see a weird beer try to figure out what it’s all about and how it was made.”

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Last year, the event was revamped as a seated tasted experience, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, it will return to its free-flowing layout with pouring stations spaced out to allow guests to social distance, drink beer and have a good time outdoors.

“A big part of it is bringing all of our friends from the industry and collaborators to our home and sharing all of that with our hometown folks,” McClure said.

“We very much focus on the experiences that we provide our customers. We feel like Burnpile is a culmination of all the work that we put in throughout the years to develop all of these amazing relationships and opportunities to work with some of the best makers in the industry.”

Beers all around

Burnpile is for craft beer connoisseurs and amateurs alike. The abundance of selections will include ales, pilsners, stouts, IPAs and other familiar styles. It’s also a fun time for breweries to unleash their latest original, newfangled concoctions.

© Courtesy Photo/Chris McClure Burial Beer Co. will host the 2021 Burnpile Harvest Fest on Oct. 9 at the Forestry Camp in Asheville. The event will feature more than 50 breweries, three music acts, and a curated menu.

Visiting breweries on tap include Holy Mountain Brewing, Jester King Brewery, Cellarmaker Brewing Co. and Fonta Flora Brewery.

“A lot of these beers the breweries are bringing you can’t find anywhere in the state,” McClure said. “Us bringing them all to one place is certainly a unique opportunity to be able to try a lot of really good beer.”

Burial will release several new brews in addition to its regular lineup of beers, wines, sours and more.

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“We’ve already started getting beers ready for the event,” McGuire said. “We always try to pull out all the stops with new releases. We’re pulling out some barrel-aged beers we’ve had aging for like a year to two years. We’re starting to get those bottled up.”

Burial’s new releases will include a unique selection of sours and collaboration beers that will be released the week of the event. VIP ticket holders will each receive a 500 milliliter bottle of the Too Much to Bear Blend and A Moderation That Was Within Reach.

The Too Much to Bear is a blend of cognac, bourbon and calvados barrel-aged strong ales.

© Courtesy Photo/Chris McClure The 2021 Burnpile beer and music festival will feature live performances by Grip, Deserta and Expo Seventy on Oct. 9 at the Forestry Camp in Asheville.

“This is a real fun beer that we look forward to every year. We make cuvée,” McGuire said. “Throughout the year we have a bunch of different barrel-aged blend brands that we brew specific beers for. We’ll brew stout and put it in the bourbon barrels, barley wine and put it in cognac barrels, and a different stout recipe and put it in rum barrels.”

The harvest season is the time of year that the barrel-aged brews begin to be ready. More will be ready and released in the winter, he said. Per tradition, some of the best of the different brands are chosen and blended to make a unique barrel-aged strong ale exclusively released at Burnpile.

A Moderation That Was Within Reach is a barrel-aged red sour ale made with blueberries and cherries. The sour ale is made similarly but with a different execution, McGuire said. Various fruit-driven sours are produced, stored, and later combined to make a new seasonal blend.

“Part of Burnpile is this thought of harvest,” McGuire said. “For us, those mix-culture beers with fruit is a big part of that. We get in thousands of pounds of fruit and add it to the tank and let the beer ferment out all the sugar. It’s a very tangible part of harvest for us so we want to showcase that.”

More: Asheville dining review: What you can get for under $30 at Outpost at Forestry Camp

Burnpile is a pint of paradise for beer enthusiasts but for those less enthused by brews, wine and other beverages will be available.

“It’s a great experience, beer aside,” McClure said. “We’re bringing in some great musicians, we’ll have some great food, and overall, the experience is fun. It’s a great day to be able to get out and hang out with friends in an outdoor environment that’s got plenty of space.”

Feasting at the festival

Forestry Camp has a production brewing facility, a sour barrelhouse and a winery that produces Burial’s Visuals brand of wine, cider and vermouth. It’s also the home of two eateries led by Forestry Camp’s Executive Chef Mike Achberger.

© Courtesy Photo/Chris McClure Burial Beer Co.’s executive chef Mike Achberger will prepare the menu for the 2021 Burnpile Harvest Fest. The beer and music festival will be Oct. 9 at the Forestry Camp.

Achberger has curated a special menu designed to allow for easy, convenient eating as Burnpile guests mosey along at the festival. The VIP pass includes one meal ticket and any event guests may purchase additional snacks and meals.

Asheville dining review: What you can get for under $30 at Outpost at Forestry Camp

The Walking Eats menu features snackable portions of crispy pig ears, a seafood skewer, and crispy chestnut mushrooms with salt and vinegar. The cost is $8 each.

The Handhelds menu offers heartier meals that can be consumed while on the go. The Veggie plate is a vegan option of mushroom terrine, pickled okra and walnut gremolata, house mustard, and greens. The cost is $14 each.

The Brisket plate comes topped with taleggio cheese, fermented pepper mayo, bacon and onion jam.

The Fish dish is fresh-catch fish that is fried and topped with an Old Bay spice aioli, pickled celery and peppers, tomato, and grilled lettuce.

Gluten-free bread options are available for all Handhelds.

The side dishes are potato salad, braised greens, and simple greens and may be added for $4 each.

Experiences and entertainment 

Burnpile guests can experience live music performances and educational industry discussions with time enough for moments for bonding.

This year’s concert lineup is Grip, Deserta and Expo Seventy.

© Courtesy Photo/Chris McClure The 2021 Burnpile beer and music festival will feature live performances by Grip, Deserta and Expo Seventy on Oct. 9 at the Forestry Camp in Asheville.

“This year we really wanted to focus on an eclectic and diverse musical offering,” McClure said. “We do a collaboration where we brew beers with other companies, and we’ve been making an intentional effort to expand that beyond just doing collaborations with other breweries. This year we collaborated with Grip, a rap artist from Atlanta who is a beer connoisseur.”

The partnership led to a brainstorming learning to the release of a collaboration beer named “And Just Don’t Die This Time” that will be available at Burnpile. Expo Seventy and Burial Beer also partnered and will announce the release of a new beer and album at the festival.

“A lot of the music that we end up featuring at Burnpile that we obviously enjoy but it’s also very much a part of the music that’s played in our taproom all of these years,” McClure said.

Burial and visiting breweries will host Off Topic Experiences. The sessions will allow guests to further learn about the products they’re sipping and the in-depth workings of craft brewing.

“It’s a great experience to be able to sit in,” McGuire said. “These are relatively small so people can ask of these brewers who are real masters of their craft.”

And per tradition, attendees will be invited to raise a bottle for the Underberg Toast.

Underberg is a digestif drank after a big meal to settle the stomach. The drinking of the small bottle of bitters creates a collective moment of reflection during the annual harvest festival, McGuire said.

“It’s always a lot of fun for everybody,” he said. “With all of this craziness that’s going on—for everybody just to pause and all have a moment together of a realization of the moment everybody’s in—it’s really cool every year.”

Tickets to Burnpile

The three levels of admission are concertgoer, general admission and VIP.

A general admission ticket of $65 will include the unlimited tastings of all the featured breweries, plus access to two Off Topic Experiences and the Underberg Toast.

The VIP pass will permit guests to enter one hour before the general audience and experience all elements of the event, plus receive exclusive and limited release tastings and bottles of new releases. Cost: $125

© Courtesy Photo/Chris McClure Burnpile guests and brewers share in a Underberg Toast. The drinking of the digestive creates a collective moment of reflection during the annual harvest festival.

The $40-concert goer ticket will get guests into the music festival, two Off Topic Experiences and the Underberg Toast, however, ticketholders will be limited to purchasing individual cans and pours of beer and wine.

If one changes their mind and wants full access to the tasting experience, ticket upgrades are permitted at the event.

COVID-19 health and safety protocols will be in place. Check Burnpile’s event page for the full list of rules and regulations.

“It’s been a challenging time for everybody and we’re looking forward to celebrating a long year with folks,” McClure said.

Burnpile Harvest Fest

Where: Forestry Camp, 10 Shady Oak Drive, Asheville

When: 1-6 p.m. (Noon for VIP), Oct. 9

Cost: $40-$125

Info: For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://burialbeer.com/burnpile/.

This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: 1 ticket to Asheville beer paradise grants access to unlimited beer, fine eats, concerts

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