Of all the times I’ve been to Asheville, I’ve never been to a brewery. I’ve heard of local places like Asheville Brewing, Burial, and Hi-Wire and big hitters New Belgium and Sierra Nevada, but I haven’t stepped foot in any of them.
That’s gonna change.
I’m planning a three-day beer residency in the hippie city, wherein I take it upon myself to try almost all the things. Burial’s on the list, which is why I haven’t tried their canned stuff. Sierra Nevada, I’ve heard, is the “Disneyland of breweries.” So the thing decides itself.
New Belgium, next to the French Broad river, sounds interesting, but I’m not big on their beer. Fat Tire was one I tried to love for years. Dad bought it often, but I just couldn’t get into it, not even after I started liking dark beer.
But I do have a nice memory of my sister and her husband driving along the river several years ago, and they pointed to the old factories on the other bank that stood vacant. “That’s where New Belgium’s gonna be,” they said, proud of their growing city.
Speaking of, French Broad Brewing has a grassy-floral IPA that I got from Beer Growler a few weeks ago that is phenomenal, and I’m not normally one for floral anything. So maybe it should go on the list.
Hi-Wire, though, I don’t need to spend a second on. Not because I hate their beer. Quite the opposite. They have some of the best bottled beer I’ve had in my life, so to go to the brewery would be (1) fairly pointless, since I love their stuff already, and (2) torture, knowing that I’d have to drive a few hours to get to the source. I’m actually quite happy buying from Trader Joe’s and Harris Teeter when I can find it.
Don’t make me choose a favorite. Okay, I’ll choose a favorite. Their Bed of Nails brown ale is one of my favorite browns ever. Even bottled. It’s got a heft and roastiness that doesn’t overwhelm and just satisfied. I’ve found myself craving it a couple days after finishing a six-pack.
The Hi-Pitch is pretty dank and kinda dirty-tasting as a result. I mean that in the best way. Some dank beers taste dirty. It’s how it is. It’s not a bad thing to me, but I guess “earthy” could say the same thing and have more positive connotations. Kind of like the way I’ll call a stout “burnt” when I really should be saying “roasty.” But some really do taste burnt, damn it, so I’m sticking to it!
I’ve also tried the Hi-Wire lager, but who am I kidding? I just don’t like lagers. I passed this one on to my husband, but if I had to guess, it’s probably one of the best lagers around. Could make for some good micheladas.
What else should I try on my Asheville beer residency? Let me know in the comments.