24 October 2016
Asheville, NC (9/27/17) -- Imagine calling a business meeting on a Sunday, in the morning, without serving coffee. Then add instructions: Don’t eat breakfast or drink coffee before arriving, and IF you brush your teeth, make it at least an hour before you arrive. As the group leader, you’d rightly expect attendance to hover near zero. But there is a time and place where everyone shows up. Hungry and uncaffeinated, employees arrive at Highland Brewing Company for one Sunday morning assignment: deciding the flavor profile for this year’s batch of Cold Mountain Winter Ale.
Brewmaster Hollie Stephenson heads up the spicing, with the help of Sensory Scientist Anna Sauls. Attendees are given a series of tastings, simulating a variety of spice additions scaled down for sampling. The flavors are evaluated, discussed, and ultimately the 20th Anniversary Cold Mountain recipe is sealed.
Cold Mountain season is always festive, but this year is the brew’s 20th anniversary. In celebration of Asheville’s longest running seasonal, Highland will release the classic beer alongside a one-time special brew, Imperial Cold Mountain. It will be the Cold Mountain you know and love, but bigger. Expect it to be a bit chocolate-forward, with hints of fruits and nuts, and a touch more warmth at 8% alcohol by volume. Imperial Cold Mountain will be released in 1-liter bottles, 22oz bottles and on draft. Bottles will be available only at the brewery and only for a limited time.
In keeping with tradition, both versions of Cold Mountain will be available at Highland Brewing starting Thursday, November 10th, at 4pm. Lines begin hours before the doors open. Purchases are limited per person per day, with allotments set for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Each day's allotment will run out so be sure to arrive early. Highland will have plenty of Cold Mountain on tap for the release weekend along with specialty casks and infusions, including the revered coconut infusion. The entire weekend’s programming in the Tasting Room will be dedicated to celebrating this year’s release with live music, food trucks and more. Cold Mountain is available beyond the brewery but can still be hard to find. It will begin to arrive in stores on Monday, November 14th, in many markets where Highland is sold.
About Cold Mountain Winter Ale:
Asheville’s oldest seasonal, Cold Mountain, started off as “Holiday Ale” in 1996. Originally, the beer was brewed to step outside of Highland’s core line up and spice things up, with the intention of changing the recipe slightly from year to year. “Holiday Ale” limited the seasonality of the beer, and evolved into "Winter Ale." In 1997 Charles Frazier’s novel, Cold Mountain, was released. The story is set in Western North Carolina, near Cold Mountain, and Oscar Wong, Highland’s founder, became an instant fan. Ultimately, the original "Holiday Ale" became Cold Mountain Winter Ale, inspired by both the book and the mountain. In 2016, Highland celebrates 20 years of Cold Mountain with the release of Imperial Cold Mountain alongside the classic version.