VOICES: Andy Thomas // AVL beers repped at the NC Brewers Cup


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By Andy Thomas, Beer Judge Certification Program Master Beer judge + beer geek. Retired Houston geologist new to Asheville this year. Coronavirus homebody. This is a contributor-submitted Voices piece. Want to join the conversation? We invite you to write for us. Learn how to share your voice here.

I recently had the pleasure of judging one of the best North Carolina beer events behind the scenes” events: the North Carolina Brewers Cup. This craft beer throwdown pits many of North Carolina’s craft breweries against each other in a judging which took place over two weekends in August. The results are in, and Asheville is well represented in the medal winners. No surprises, really, since everyone knows that Asheville is beer town on the East Coast, right?


Photo courtesy of Andy Thomas

Asheville’s Thirsty Monk took a Silver Medal in the Best of Show with their European Pale Lager called Ponder Lager. Whoa, the second best beer in the state is right here! This unassuming beer is smooth + traditional with such a tiny bead that it is worth the trip to their Biltmore South location. Once you’re there, you can keep sampling great beer with their Abby Blonde, a Belgian Blonde Ale that took another medal. Take a drink, close your eyes, and you will be teleported to Antwerp just like that. It is the bomb. If you like sours, check out their Woodshed Blend #2, their third medal of the competition. Ask the bartender if Barry the owner is in the house and offer him your congratulations.

The gold medal Best of Show went to Chapel Hill’s Carolina Brewing Co.’s Best Bitter called Copperline Amber, while the bronze medal Best of Show went to Foothills Brewing for a blackberry-infused barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout called Dead and Berried. A Best of Show Honorable Mention went to an American Light Lager from Brown Truck Brewery in High Point. OMG these are good! Hats off to these excellent beers + brewers.

An Asheville tip of the cap goes to all our local medal winners: Archetype Brewing (2 medals), French Broad River Brewery, DSSOLVR, Asheville Brewing, Ecusta Brewing Co., and Thirsty Monk (3 medals). Go get in the car, y’all, and head out to get yourself some of the state’s best beers.


Photo courtesy of Andy Thomas

Due to coronavirus concerns, Lisa Parker (Associate Director of the NC Craft Brewers Guild) and Kevin Thorngren (Competition Organizer) split the medal round judging, doing half in Winston-Salem and half in Asheville. Their smart thinking allowed for distance table-judging and mask wearing when not actively judging.


Congratulations to all NC breweries who create such great beers. Wanna see for yourself? Check out all of the winners here.

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