Asheville, NC, three weeks later and I’m still thinking about all the fun, cool places and the awesome beer all over the city. In this post, I will write a bit about the bars and breweries we visited and try to do them justice with words and pictures. I just wanted to share some of the spots and events I checked out during my time there.
My first stop during my trip was the Thirsty Monk (Awesome name for a brew pub, if I do say so myself). We stopped by their newest location — they now have four in total — in Reynolds Village. They had a special Belgian beer event with over 20 Belgian style beers. The samplers were $15, if I remember correctly, for three waves of four 4 oz beer samples. Local beers from NC and the nearby regions were what were offered such as Oskar Blues, Lexingston Ave Brewing, Wicked Weed and Highland Breweries to name a few of the many on tap. The event was packed, but we managed to find a table outside. The weather was perfect. It was nice and cool with the fresh mountain air breezing nicely, it was a very nice change to the hot and humid South Florida weather and perfect for some Belgian style beers. A couple of my favorites were Big Boss Brewing’s Zombie and Oskar Blues Tickled Pink.
Altamont Brewing co. which we stumbled across after a little league baseball practice, is just a cool, chill spot. In order to get in, one of us was required to become a member of the brewery which was just $1 and is required to by law by NC to any brewery that doesn’t serve food. The brewery is dog friendly, has a ping-pong table, indoor and outdoor seating and live music. The event we went to had a rotating tap every couple hours with new brews being untapped. We played some ping pong while we sipped on our brews and then moved outside and had a Strong ale, that sadly I can’t remember the name of because it was pretty damn good.
One of the coolest, unique places we got to visit was Beer City Bikes in downtown Asheville. BCB is a bike shop with a beer bar in the middle of the shop. This is right at home for me and my girlfriend who were riding around the city on our bikes exploring before a beer and cheese pairing a few blocks away — more on that later. The bar was set in the middle of the shop surrounded by bikes, gear and stationary cadence machines. This would probably one of the spots I would be at at least once a week if I lived near by it was such a cool, chill spot for cyclists and beer lovers to hang out and grab good local beer. One of my favorite spots I got to check out in Asheville easily.
The Wicked Weed Brewing in Downtown Asheville serves as the brewery and restaurant. The upstairs had a bar and seating both indoor and outside while the brew room and tap room were downstairs that also had a outside area with benches and a stage for performances. The downstairs bar had over 30 beers on tap and if it wasn’t for the special Menage-A-Freak Triple IPA being released that night I would’ve had a hard time picking out what to drink. I’m glad I managed to get a taste of the Menage-A-Freak, since its a very limited one week release for Asheville beer week once a year due to its brewing process. Menage is a Triple IPA with an 11.4% ABV, but felt very smooth. Only wish I could’ve had another opportunity to try it again and write about it a bit more in depth. Wicked Weed was one of the larger breweries I managed to visit while I was there and a local favorite for good reason, usually very crowded with beer lovers at all times of the day. When I make it back again, I will definitely make my way to the “Weed.”
The Wienhaus was one of the last stops we made while in Asheville. We purchased two tickets for a cheese and beer pairing and explored the inside of the shop. They had wines, local and imported cheeses and of course beer. There was also a bar that served beers from the bottle and tap as well as wine by the glass. They had very nice selection of beers from all over NC, the US and imported brews too! They even had the giant Magnum style beer bottles that you can see below for sale. The event was for four beers with four different cheeses paired specifically for the brews picked. The beers were first picked by the shops son who runs the bar in the Wienhaus and the cheeses were the then picked by the affineur or cheese expert based on the taste, feel and ABV of the beers. To be honest, I think they did and amazing job selecting the cheeses for each respective beer and they paired nearly flawlessly. It was a fantastic experience and tons of fun. My favorite beer was the Green Man Brewing ESB and a couple of the cheeses that stood out were the beer cheese and the comte which is a french style gruyere — I thought was exquisite! Each table got a platter of cheese which we shared with another beer lover. It was awesome to taste and compare thoughts on the brews and cheese pairings with the others there. At the end of the event we were given a Asheville 2014 pint glass, which i will be giving away in my next post. Details on that soon.
Our final stop before we hit the road back home didn’t have anything to do with beer, but I thought was very cool and should be shared with you. Dough, a very sweet bakery (pardon the pun) in Asheville that bakes and creates very delicious baked goods! They even hold classes weekly for children and parents to learn to create crazy baked goods. This was probably the one non-beer related spot I really did not want to miss. A really good donut is something I really enjoy. I’ll let the picture spread for itself. Note: not pictured a half dozen donuts for me to take home. They were just as good!
As mentioned earlier stay tuned for my next post which should hit very shortly on how to win the Asheville beer week 2014 pint Glass. Until then Cheers!