Happy National Beer Lover’s Day! Asheville, North Carolina is a beer-lover’s dream-come-true, and we recently had the chance to spend a few days in this beautiful city for a family wedding. Getting to Asheville from Boston was easy; we took a quick JetBlue flight from Boston to Charlotte and drove about two hours to Asheville and straight to Asheville Brewing, where the bride and groom were dining with friends and family.
It felt so good to see my aunt and cousin after a few years, and Asheville Brewing was the perfect place for it. Long picnic tables in a covered outdoor area gave way to easy mingling and meeting new people, and the berry beer I had was the perfect post-travel refreshment. I loved that the restaurant was showing the Olympics on a big screen outdoors as well. It added to the summery festivity of the evening.
That evening, after some pub food and family fun, we ventured off to the grocery store before settling into our Asheville rental house (More on that later; it was fantastic. ) Now, I know that beer and wine in the grocery store takes away from mom and pop shops, but I LOVE the convenience of it, and Ingles stores in Asheville had excellent selections of local beer, making it fun and easy to stock up for tasting at home. I absolutely loved the bitter-yet-fruity Boojum Graveyard Fields Blueberry Coffee Porter. I found it on tap a few times over the weekend and always gravitated towards it.
When planning our Asheville beer tasting, Wicked Weed Brewing kept coming up as a recommendation, so when we had some time pre-wedding, we headed there. Right downtown, it was also right up my alley, with two levels of open space and a great outdoor area which we took advantage of on a beautiful summer day. I started things off with a light, refreshing, and slightly briny cucumber beer, their Coolcumber and then moved on to a beer from their Funkatorium, the Genesis, which, with pineapple notes and sour finish, was possibly my favorite beer of them all.
The day after the wedding was almost too hot, and in between hanging out by the pool and visiting Lake Lure, we made a quick stop in Biltmore Village for a tasting at Catawba Brewing Co., another recommendation. We tend to avoid IPAs and pumpkin beers and developed a yummy flight which included some Catawba standards like Farmer Ted’s Cream Ale and the Black Dome Stout. Catawba had a super chill vibe and great beer. It’s in the heart of the shopping district and would make a great stop for a break while you shop-til-you-drop (Except that I hate shopping, so I’ll skip straight to the beer tasting.)
On our final day in Asheville, we had a bit of extra time and finally made our way to the much larger and well known New Belgium Brewing. I expected this to feel like a more corporate experience than the others since New Belgium isn’t quite the small craft brewery. However, it was a fantastic experience with great, fun service and a wide selection of excellent beers. I am all about sours lately, and I loved the Fruit Fly Citra Sour Ale which had just the right amount of sour and fruit, so drinkable. I also loved the Fat Funk Ale and Snapshot Tart Wheat. The selection at New Belgium was so extensive, and if we didn’t have a flight to catch, we could have spent the day there. We hit up the taco food truck on our way out, and away we went, leaving Asheville behind and vowing to return soon.