A Weekend in Asheville: Beer City USA

by Renee on May 28, 2018

There’s good reason Asheville is known as Beer City, USA–there are more breweries per capita in this beautiful mountain town than any other city in the U.S. I made my first visit over Memorial Day weekend, just six weeks after moving to Raleigh, North Carolina, with trusty traveling companion, Porter, my Springer Spaniel.

My best friend Cami met me there, at a friend’s lovely Air B&B rental, tucked away on a mountain hillside in nearby Marshall. While I waited for her arrival, I enjoyed a peaceful view and a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Ken Grossman’s flagship brew was directly inspired by New Albion Ale in those early days of craft beer in California, so it was a fitting start to the weekend.

Once Cami arrived, we headed into town for some live music and a few food truck bites and beers at New Belgium Brewing, another Western U.S. brewery that has brought operations east to Asheville. I had met the architect/designer of the space a few years ago at the Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, D.C. Russell Mills Studios has won a number of awards for the design, it’s an absolutely beautiful space–a must see. We also stopped into Wedge Brewing, and a hit few other spots including some local art galleries…loved the easy, dog-friendly atmosphere wherever we went.

The next day we had reservations for lunch and a tour of the Sierra Nevada brewery, so eventually we meandered into Asheville and the Mills River operation–I can only describe it as Beer Disney World…it’s just beautiful. The menu was full of delicious options, and we started with thrice fried duck fat fries with aioli that had a kick to it, salty warm pretzels and bubbling spicy pimiento cheese and a couple of flights of brew. A band was playing out in the amphitheater, and the sun-dappled beer garden was packed with families and friends enjoying the festive atmosphere. After lunch we toured the impressive facility, and I was glad to hear that everyone who participates in the tours hears a bit about Jack McAuliffe at the outset.

Later we headed back into Asheville proper, and enjoyed a dinner of tapas at the bar at Curate–if you have the chance: go. Highlights included the grilled octopus, and for dessert, the apple tart with hazelnut praline. Oh, my.

Our weekend visit was complete with a number of other beery stops including Burial Beer, where we found the Skillet donut stout, a favorite. Their obsession with Tom Selleck was amusing…and we sipped our brews in the beer garden under the watchful eyes of Tom and the monster from the Goonies.

We also hit Wicked Weed for brunch, happy to learn they┬áserved cocktails as well as beer…a girl can’t live by beer alone. We started with popcorn dusted with hop salt, a tasty treat.

Needless to say, we didn’t get to everything we wanted to do, (including the Biltmore) as we ran out of time. But it’s definitely worth another visit or three… cheers to craft beer bringing so much happiness to one city!

 

 

 

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