photo by John O'Hagan

He's a god in Asheville, NC, brewing circles.

Oscar Wong is a Chinese guy who was born and raised in Jamaica and majored in civil engineering at Notre Dame.  He eventually moved to Asheville to found the Scottish-style Highland Brewing Company, the biggest brewery in town.

Before that, his job was to get rid of nuclear waste. "You know, I really helped the world doing what I used to do, but not even my wife was that impressed," he says. "Now, I tell people I make beer for a living, and you ought to see the smiles on their faces."

I first met Oscar when I went on the Asheville Brews Cruise, a VIP tour and tasting at local breweries.  You'll find my story on it in the North Carolina, Florida, and Maryland editions of the July issue of Southern Living.

Confession from a Gaelic Ale Fanatic

Speaking of Highland, my first taste of Asheville-brewed beer came on a semi-raucous evening at the Jack of the Wood pub downtown. While several local musicians performed an impromptu jam on guitars and fiddles, I enjoyed more than a few pints of Highland Brewery's Gaelic Ale. I've been hooked on the stuff ever since.