High Country Beer Fest brews up


Alex Hubbell

The High Country Beer Fest will return to Boone Saturday at the High Country Fairgrounds from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“The High Country Beer Fest is a celebration of craft beer from around the region and the world,” according to the High Country Beer Fest website.

The annual festival, a nonprofit event which supports App State fermentation sciences among other local non-profit organizations, is in its eleventh year. The festival is known for its opportunities to taste “outstanding beer,” according to its website. The festivities, however, also include craft food, live music and seminars.

A number of brewer scholarships and local charities will be supported, Amber Bateman, the festival’s Facebook account owner, said.

Bateman also commented on the festival’s entertainment value for everyone.

“We organize the festival so it’s great for craft beer connoisseurs as well as those just looking for a good time with great tasting beer,” Bateman said.

There will be many sponsors at the event including one who has served Boone for 40 years now; Peabody’s Wine and Beer Merchants, a bottle shop with about 2,000 wines and about 1,500 beers, located just off campus on Highway 105.

The High Country Beer Fest has provided several opportunities for sponsors like Jeff Collins, the owner of Peabody’s and the community around the shop, including App State.

“It is definitely the biggest beer festival up here. It’s a nice partnership with the community and the university; regional and national beer companies,” Collins said. “Good collaboration from those aspects. It brings a lot of people in town, so it’s good for business. Good for the community in general.” 

Collins said he believes that one of the communal activities offered at the festival is the education all around.

“You know it’s cool education,” Collins said.  “People are tasting and learning and getting to talk to the brewers, and it provides money for the Fermentation Sciences Program, which is a really cool program at App.”

The partnership with the festival allows for more opportunities during the week of the main event for the local community to be supported.

“For us, we partner with them and do beer tastings from Tuesday to Friday, with different breweries, sometimes multiple breweries, each night before the Beer Fest,” Collins said. “It’s a nice lead up to it. That’s really supporting our local folks.”

The sponsors of the event are not the only ones with a background in beer brewing. Brett Taubman, the director of the festival, is experienced with the practice.

“I am an analytical chemist who has always been interested in the environment and foods and flavors,” Taubman said. “My interest in the environment drove my original research area in atmospheric science. Since I’ve been at Appalachian I’ve transitioned to fermentation-related chemistry research.”

Taubman has picked up an area of research that aids the community as well as himself.

“Right now I’m working mainly on hop aroma chemistry. Not only do I find it fascinating and conducive to undergraduate research, it also stands to make a large impact on the brewing industry,” Taubman said.

With sponsors and owners both having strong backgrounds in fermentation, Beer Fest provides several benefits to the Appalachian State Fermentation Sciences Program.

“The High Country Beer Fest is unique in that it is a boutique festival with a focus on education. The beautiful setting of the High Country certainly doesn’t hurt either. In the 11 years we’ve been doing it, I think it’s really grown to become a premier event in the High Country and in the regional brewing industry,” Taubman said.

For further information regarding ticket pricing, hotel discounts and volunteer opportunities, visit the High Country Beer Fest website at hcbeerfest.com.

Story by: Alexander Hubbell, A&E Editor

Cartoon by: Lindsey Wise