Scott’s fresh off his “beercation” to Asheville, NC, a place he’s now calling “Beer City USA”. Over the next two posts, Scott will share some highlights from his trip and explain what makes Asheville a “beer geeks dream”. Enjoy!
Beer Trippin’ In Asheville
A City Deserving Its Designation As Beer City USA
Did you ever have that feeling that it just can’t get any better? This, right now, is the best thing you will ever do and it will never get any better. I came across that feeling, several times, during my recent trip to Asheville, NC.
My brother (from Florida), my brother’s neighbor (who homebrews with my brother) and I have been going to the Great American Beer Festival together for several years. Last year, we decided to start going on beer trips, “beercations” if you will, and forgo our annual pilgrimage to Denver (although, I’ll still be going to GABF). First stop, Asheville. (Next year will be Portland.) We decided a great time to go to Asheville would be for Sierra Nevada’s final stop on the Beer Camp tour.
I landed at the Greenville-Spartanburg airport. My brother, driving from Orlando, picked me up and we headed to Asheville, just an hour drive from the airport. I insisted that our first stop should be at a bottle shop. Enter Appalachian Vintner. As we headed for the back of the store where the beer is located, we spotted a bar with several taps. (This was the first of many “It doesn’t get better than this” moments). We ordered a pint of Barrel Aged People’s Porter by Foothills Brewing and started shopping the hundreds of beers that lined the wall. Walking around, sipping a pint and shopping for beer. Sadly, something we cannot do here in Denver.
We headed to our rental house, dropped off our stuff and immediately headed back out for some food and beers. The perfect place was Asheville Brewing Company at their Coxe Ave location. We ordered up some pizzas and beers (Shiva IPA is recommended for the hopheads) and enjoyed the scenery. ABC has a very down to earth, utopian feel to it with a great outdoor patio.
After ABC, we headed for Hi-Wire Brewing, which was mere blocks away. A smaller tap room with a large brewhouse, Hi-Wire had some solid beers including Hi-Pitch IPA and Brass Monkey. I’ll admit though that the scene there got a little uncomfortable and we had to hightail it out of there (you’ll have to ask me about that one in person).
We ended our evening at The Thirsty Monk Pub at the Patton Ave location. The Thirsty Monk had many taps and 2 floors with different taps on each floor. It was a sort of cross between Falling Rock and Cheeky Monk…but with 2 bars. A lively spot, this was a great way to end Day 1.
On the morning of Day 2, we headed to White Duck Taco Shop for an early lunch. This popular spot had some amazing, artisan tacos including duck with mole, lamb gyro and banh mi tofu. They do serve some local beers, but we decided to wait until our first brewery stop, Pisgah Brewing Company.
Pisgah is about a 20 minute drive outside of Asheville in the sleepy town of Black Mountain. Located in an industrial area, the brewery had a nice outdoor patio and an indoor stage for live music. The music being played on the stereo consisted of live jam bands, and the hippie flair was very evident in this brewery. It was a sort of more bare bones version of Denver/Boulder’s Mountain Sun pubs. I got a flight, which included Chocolatized Vortex (a very chocolatey and tasty imperial stout) and Cemetery Gates (a nice Belgian IPA in collaboration with Asheville’s Burial Beer Co).
Burial Beer Co just happened to be the next stop. The brewery is housed in a small….well…house. The bar area is relatively small, but a covered and open patio out back make up for the lack of indoor space. The Sheller Peanut Butter Stout was the special tap of the day.
Right around the corner from Burial is Green Man Brewery. The brewery was larger than most of the others we had visited so far. Plenty of space inside with a small covered patio on the side of the brewery. The Wayfarer is a nice, solid IPA from Green Man.
Next, we walked a few blocks to Wicked Weed Brewing. My whole experience at Wicked Weed was my second “It doesn’t get better than this” moment. This place has everything and should be at the top of every beer geeks “must see” places. A restaurant with excellent food. Amazing IPAs (Freak of Nature). Incredible sours (Oblivion Sour Red, Bretticent and others). Not one, but two large patios.
Wicked Weed’s adobe style building has two floors. Upstairs is where the restaurant resides; a large outdoor patio and plentiful indoor seating is available. Take a trip downstairs to a smaller indoor area and a large outdoor patio. Bottles to-go can even be purchased on site. Wicked Weed’s vibe is straight-up beer geek heaven. Go. Now!
We headed back South and stopped off at Twin Leaf Brewery. Twin Leaf had a decent sized taproom and good beers. We found our car parked nearby and drove (with a designated driver, of course) over to Wedge Brewing. Wedge is located in an industrial area by the train tracks. The taproom is tiny, but all the action takes place outside on their massive patio. A pitcher of Iron Rail IPA fed the troops as we played corn hole on the patio.
The first two days were a whirlwind of beer debauchery, proving Asheville to be a beer lovers utopia. Next, we’ll continue with more shenanigans and a trip to Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp. Stay tuned.