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: Wine vs. Beer

After a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, Feastivall, that hedonistic gala that features a wine vs beer throwdown, will once again welcome a packed house of hungry and thirsty gourmands to Berry Hills Country Club on Saturday, February18.

Feastivall, of course, is a fundraiser supporting Festivall – the multi-week entertainment event that brings a plethora of talented musical artists to the greater Charleston area each summer. It’s always gratifying to observe the positive effect our contributions make to the community in which we live. But Feastivall is also a good old fashion beverage rumble pitting wine versus beer in a five-course gourmet meal. And attendees will have the opportunity to vote on the best accompaniment (wine or beer) for each course prepared by local guest chefs.


The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a wine and beer aperitif bar where guests can sip, mingle and bid on items at the silent auction, including works of art, as well as restaurant packages, travel opportunities, and other gifts. The evening will also feature musical performances by local artists. If you’re interested in attending, cost is $125 a person. However, the event always sells out quickly so you might want to sign up right away. Get your tickets by going to: or by calling 304-470-0489.


Guests will enjoy five courses, each paired with a craft beer selected by (misguided) beer geeks Charles Bockway and Erin McCoy. Of course, yours truly, assisted by Amanda Karpeuk of Mountain State Beverage, selected the wines which come from Germany, Spain, California, Washington State and Italy. I’m sure our opponents for Feastivall will soon reveal their frosty pairings for the dinner, but I can’t imagine that lesser liquid (beer) will be able to compete with the most food-friendly beverage (wine) man has ever produced.


Here is the menu with wine pairing selections along with the guest chef who is responsible for preparing each course.


Shrimp & Grit Cake
Manchego cheese, cilantro infused DiTrapano olive oil, candied bacon and micro greens – Chef Ke, Caterer and owner of the Chef Ke Experience
2020 Bastgen Riesling (Germany)

Seared Ahi Tuna
Togarashi crusted tuna, wasabi miso drizzle mixed greens, pickled shallots and marinated veggies – Chef Brian Magliochette, private chef at CB Culinary Services
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva NV (Spain)

Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque
Candied pecans, Calabrian chili-infused DiTrapano olive oil – Chef Chase Collier, Ristorante Abruzzi
2021 Frank Family Chardonnay (California)

Appalachian Abattoir Short Rib
Smoked farmhouse cheese grits, winter vegetables, tomato demi-glace, Villa DiTrapano olive oil chimichurri – Chef Paul Smith, 1010 Bridge Restaurant
2018 Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Merlot (Washington)

Pistachio Baked Alaska
Pistachio cake topper with blood orange & olive oil ice cream with fudge tines and caramelized meringues – Chef Anthony Bower, Berry Hills Country Club
2021 Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’Asti (Italy)

John Brown is also a novelist. His latest book Augie’s World, is a sequel to his debut novel, Augie’s War. Both novels are available in print and audio at Amazon. You can find out more about his novels and wine columns at

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