'Beerkamp' at Lake Eden promises brewlover's garden of paradise

Lance Wille
Special to BMN

One part music festival, one part craft beer campout, Beerkamp coming to Lake Eden next month is the latest local beer festival to ride the swelling interest nationally in micro beers and breweries.

DJ Girl Talk, a.k.a. Gregg Michael Gillis, will headline the inaugural Beerkamp at Lake Eden next month.

Black Mountain Brewkamp Nov. 4-6 is the brainchild of Draft Magazine, a Phoenix-based craft beer publication — part lifestyle, part beer enthusiast magazine — that has been in print since 2006. It has teamed with Michigan events producer Porterhouse Presents for the event.

Beerkamp tosses a dash of foodie events into the beer and music mix for a laid-back camping weekend. Organizers hope to bring people together from diverse interests for a shared feast of the senses. Early interest in the festival has already spurred plans for next year, said Draft publisher Evan Hughes, who hopes the event will be an annual fall celebration.

The Lake Eden site and the surrounding beer culture all clicked for Brewkamp, Hughes said. "The people in the area really seem to get the vibe for what we're trying to create,” he said.

Lake Eden west of Black Mountain is known internationally as the former home of the ground-breaking and influential Black Mountain College, which operated from the 1930s to the late 1950s. In recent years the grounds have been home for the popular LEAF festival, celebrating its 21st year this year as a twice-annual weekend of arts and music.

LEAF has long featured local craft beers, and Black Mountain and Asheville are full of them (there are more than 60 breweries in Western North Carolina, including Lookout Brewing and Pisgah Brewing in Black Mountain).

As the craft beer movement continues to grow, it has also become more localized and community-based, Hughes said.

“Ten or 15 years ago, if you were starting a brewery, a realistic goal would be a regional or maybe even a national brand. But now what you are seeing in breweries that are starting, it's more about the local market. You can have a great craft brewery and just service your home market and do very well. It's tougher to scale up because there is so much competition nationally.”

Thinking globally but experiencing locally is a theme that runs through all aspects of Beerkamp.

Although final menu details were still being finalized last week, organizers said ticket-holders could expect unique sights, sounds and tastes. Paella pits and a wood-fired barbecue area are among the culinary plans, with tastes from local to global. Participants can even catch a ride around the event on a tractor-pulled mobile bar that makes stops at various pop-up food and beer vendors around the grounds.

A one-of-a-kind “quadrispan” tent that shelters 5,000 people will house the main stage. Featured there will be headliners DJ GirlTalk, Robert Randolph and the Family Band and many more national and local acts in genres that include rock, funk, bluegrass, New Orleans, gospel and electronic. Late night highlights include a “silent disco tent” which will feature 1,500 wireless headsets. A wood-fired hot tub will stave off the chill of the fall evenings.

Organizers hope attendance reaches 10,000 or more, drawing people nationally, regionally, as well as locally. Camping is encouraged, and a limited number of RV campsites will be available.

Find out more and purchase tickets at the event website, brewkamp.com. Tickets are priced for single-day, all weekend and weekend camping. All of the fun is for a good cause - beer sale proceeds benefit Pints for Prostates, a national charity devoted to raising awareness of men's health issues.