The night before Burial Beer Co.’s annual fall festival, Burnpile, kicked off, the brewery invited all the visiting brewers to a pig roast. It’s tradition; each year, the roast concludes with the ritual burial of the pig’s head, and the exhumation of the previous year’s head, which is mounted on the taproom wall. Not many festivals can count their anniversaries by entombed pig heads.

Burnpile felt more like a backyard party than a beer festival. Local nihilist rockers Nest Egg provided the appropriate tunes, families sat enjoying the late fall sunshine, and brewers shared pours of SPON.

The intimacy of the fest bordered on claustrophobia. If you stood still long enough, you’d find a line forming around you as thirsty patrons waited for a pour from one of the four serving areas. The list was stacked with some of the best beer currently available in the country. Highlights included a Märzen from Zilicoah, which is Asheville’s best-kept secret, and table beers from TRVE and Holy Mountain. Wrecking Bar Brewpub provided a spicy as fuck stout that deserves a spot on the Hot Ones table.

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