Suds on Saturday
What a beautiful weekend we had! You can’t help but to be happy and thankful for where we live in that kind of weather. As I mentioned last week, I had friends drive up from Athens, Georgia to spend the day with me and Matt and I must say, we had a wonderful day. Our goal was to tour many of the microbreweries in Waynesville, Asheville and especially wanted to get up to Pisgah Brewing in Black Mountain.
Our goals were pretty ambitious — we had lunch and beer at Jack of the Wood in downtown Asheville and had a first round of beer. My friend’s husband Billy, who is way more qualified to be rating beer than me, had the Greenman Brewery’s IPA and porter. He gave them both 3.5 out of 5 stars.
After lunch it was on to Asheville Brewing Company down the street. The place was packed and the outdoor, but covered seating on Coxe Avenue was very relaxing. My first selection was the Escape Artist ESP (extra special pale) and I gave it 3 stars. Matt ordered the Fire Escape Pale Ale, only because it claimed to have jalapenos in it. I thought it was gross, but he thoroughly enjoyed the spicy brew. He then tried the Ninja Porter and gave it 4 stars.
As directed by Greg Copen, who I interviewed last week about his home-brewing hobby, I tried the Rocket Girl. I gave it 4 stars as well — it’s only 3.5 percent alcohol so it’s really light, crisp and didn’t have the bitter after taste like many pales I've tried.
We spent more time there than we expected. It was just so nice to relax and chat with my friends I never get to see. Billy also wanted to me to point out that pints at ABC were only $3, which is an awesome deal.
It was nearing 4 p.m. and we had to make it to Pisgah before heading back to Waynesville so we had to skip all the others on my downtown list.
Matt is not a huge beer fan but he hasn’t stopped talking about the Dragon’s Milk stout at Pisgah since we left. I should have known — he drinks milk like it’s going out of style so of course he’d love a milk stout. He gave it 5 stars and didn’t bother trying any of the other great selections.
I met a man at the bar who works for Asheville Brews Cruise and he gave me an explanation of the Nitro Pale I ordered. It’s made with nitrogen instead of Co2, which gives it a more bubbly, creamy texture. I gave it 5 stars and went back to try the Nitro Choco Stout (also recommended by Greg) and liked it just as much.
Billy had to ruin our good beer streak by ordering a Benton’s Bacon stout — he couldn’t contain his curiosity. I mean how could a man go wrong with beer and bacon? But he only gave it 1 star and made a face while finishing it off.
Did I mention my friend Tracy is almost five months pregnant and was serving as the designated driver? Even she found something tasty and non-alcoholic at Pisgah. We appreciated the family-friendly atmosphere and being able to sit outside again.
Our plan was to go the The Classic Wineseller’s beer and food pairing event but we were severely late and the place was packed. Good news for them — very sad for us and totally our fault.
We went next door to Frogs Leap Public House and had an amazing dinner and a couple of rounds of Catcher in the Rye from Frog Level Brewing Company — still my favorite local beer thus far. It was now after 9 p.m. and the day of drinking and our heavy dinner was weighing us down. Party animals huh?
Tracy is a real trooper but she promised me payback when my time comes. We forged on to Tipping Point Tavern for a couple more beers but my heart just wasn’t in it anymore. My bed was calling to me. Still haven’t made it to Bearwaters Brewing yet — but there will be a next time. It’s easy to see why craft beer is such an important part of the culture in Western North Carolina — because we do it so well. I hope you aren’t tired of beer month yet. We still have a couple of weeks to go!