Drinking Asheville: Day 1.1

(An explanation of where I’ve been this summer)

Laura Huff of Carolina Epicurean contacted me weeks ago about participating in the Asheville Beer Bounce beta. Huff needed a group of dedicated drinkers to test a new online program that uses QR codes to check into breweries; nine locations had agreed to participate and offer special sample-sized pours, with a percentage of sales going to charity. Naturally, I was in.

On a Thursday eve, I set off to the southeast’s Beer City idol with instructions in hand and a new app 20140727-225457-82497874.jpgon my phone. With walkability in mind, I found a parking spot on Coxe, the perfect place for tackling the southwest segment.

Sauntering into the first stop, Burial Brewing Company, felt like walking into someone’s house party. Conversation spilled from the worn, house-like facade. Burial, a nano-brewery in the process of expanding to a 20-barrel system, had a small but tasty selection. The night started with Tong & Fork Belgian Amber, a mix of two of my favorite styles, as well as a Sickle Session IPA and the Cemetery Gates Belgian IPAa Pisgah collaboration that had an unexpected meaty umami.

The creator of the program I was testing happened to walk in the tasting room at the moment I was struggling with my first check-in. What luck! His group also mentioned there was a food truck around the corner at Green Man Brewing. You know how I feel about food trucks.

Eager to try as many stops as possible, I headed around the corner to Green Man. Despite a long-standing love of their ESB, I’d never actually been in the brewery. The tasting room offered a sizeable bar, various tables for gathering and games, a dart board, and two TVS: one playing The Originals and another with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Interesting variety.

Sweet Molly behind the bar poured me a Leaf Blower, and I headed through the long, covered outdoor space to order from Taste & See. Talk about a perfect combination: pork belly sliders and sweet potato fries and beer! Here, I had the pleasure of meeting both Mrs. Huff and John Pepper, a bounce participant and co-founder of Boone Independent Restaurants. We chatted about our towns and restaurants and favorite brews while I finished off my Patersbier and Porter.

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With night falling, I said my goodbyes at Green Man and set on the road to my next stop: Hi-Wire Brewing. But the bright lights of Twin Leaf beckoned me to detour and try this brewery I’ve been following since before it opened.

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Brightly lit and filled with natural wood furnishings, Twin Leaf offered a quiet pauseuntil the crash of the life-size Jenga game signaled a winner.

I took a seat alone at the large bar with a smooth, rich Mexican Chocolate Stout (one of my favorite beers from the whole night), and by the time I left, I’d made two more friends. Sam, owner of The Ale and the Witch in St. Petersburg, FL, began chatting with me after he saw me writing at the bar. He introduced me to his wife and talked about his bar while I told him more about the beer bounce, Asheville and Greenville’s beer scene.

But the night was middle-aged, and I still had plenty of other brews to discover.

{Follow the rest of the night’s drinking antics at Drinking Asheville: Day 1.2}

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