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Highland Brewing Company and local AAPI community members unite for a pint

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the brewery will release a collaborative rice lager.

Chef J Chong pulls a red lever as part of the beer making process at Highland Brewing Company

Chef J Chong was among the beer’s collaborators.

The Xie Xie beer collaboration was first pitched by Highland Brewing Company Production Services Specialist, Ana Reynolds — but the original intention was just a laid-back brew for the team to enjoy. Then the idea grew into something bigger.

“We realized that a rice lager was an exciting West Coast style that aligned with owners Oscar Wong and Leah Wong Ashburn’s Chinese heritage,” said Reynolds, who is of Filipino German heritage, in a press release. “I brought the idea of an Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) collaboration brew to Leah.”

So Highland hosted a brew day back in March, bringing together a distinguished group of Asheville AAPI members to contribute to the Xie Xie lager (which means “thank you” in Mandarin), including HP Patel of BCA Hotels and Carol Nguyen Steen of Biltmore Farms. Beyond the sense of community the collaboration fostered, it’s also a celebration of AAPI Heritage Month and the brewery’s founder — it will tap on Thursday, May 16, recognized locally as Oscar Wong Day.

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