Columns by John

John Brown has been a wine and food columnist in West Virginia since the 1980’s. His regular columns appear in the Charleston (WV) Gazette-Mail under the title Vines & Vittles and in The State Journal - a statewide business weekly

FeastivALL: The first ever wine and beer throw-down

If you have read this column/blog, you KNOW that wine is the ultimate liquid accompaniment to just about every type of food known to man.

Yet, there are heathens out there who deign to suggest that beer is a more appropriate beverage to swill with our daily repast. Heresy, I know, but in an effort to put this issue to rest once and for all, some good folks in our fair city have suggested a contest where wine and beer will be pitted against each other in a five- course gourmet meal.

This good, old-fashioned throw-down will benefit FestiVALL, the multi-week festival that has brought a plethora of top-notch musical entertainment to our region for the past several years. Here’s the skinny on what we’re calling FeastivALL:

A Wine vs. Beer Challenge
On Feb. 23, FestivALL Charleston will host its first ever fundraiser, “FeastivALL”, a five-course gourmet dinner with a wine and beer pairing for each course.
The event will take place at Berry Hills Country Club with food prepared by noted chefs Nick McCormick of Berry Hills and Café Cimino’s Tim Urbanic.

[caption id="attachment_886" align="alignleft" width="300"] You be the judge

A reception with a silent auction begins at 6pm with dinner following. Guests will enjoy five courses, each paired with a craft beer and fine wine chosen by Charleston’s top beverage consumers, Rich Ireland (beer) and yours truly (wine).

After each course, guests will vote for the beverage pairing they like best. By the end of the night, one will emerge the winner. (Is there really any question, Rich?)

In the spirit of FestivALL, the night will be a celebration of artistic expression hosted by Mountain Stage’s Larry Groce and featuring brief performances between courses. Guests will also get a first look at schedule highlights and headliners for FestivALL 2013.

There will be a silent auction with items including, a stay at Cafe Cimino Country Inn, high-end art by local vendors, autographed movie memorabilia from West Virginia celebrities and more.

Tickets are $100 per person, $40 of which is tax deductible. All donations above the ticket price are completely tax deductible. Tickets are now on sale and you can purchase them online at  or at Taylor Books (which adds a $2 sales fee). You may also call (304)389-4873 for additional information.

Seating is limited and no tickets will be sold after February 20 so that the chefs will have a final count. All proceeds from the event will go toward FestivALL 2013 which will celebrate the arts, the city and West Virginia’s 150th anniversary.
Special thanks to FeastivALL sponsor Kanawha Scales and Systems of Poca, WV, Cafe Cimino Country Inn and Berry Hills Country Club.

Join me in tastefully demonstrating the superiority of wine.
Wine Vs. Beer: The Results
Making good wine: Is it location or weather?