Drinking Asheville: Day 1.2

{See how my night got started with Drinking Asheville: Day 1.1}

Once again, I climbed up Coxe towards Hi-Wire Brewing, set just a block off the main road, its entrance harboring a little crowd despite the crane looming above their heads as someone worked on the brewery’s sign. Though the darkness hampered my ability to take photos, I could still revel in the interior’s whimsical theming. The bar, walls and tables were covered in a mix of blue, red and natural wood, highlighted by the bright signage and coasters.

A kind, bearded bartender took my questions and poured me the Bed of Nails Brown (not as malty as I usually like) and the Hi-Wire IPA, which I loved once the initial punch of grapefruit and hops settled down.

I also tried the red wine barrel-aged Belgian, the first of new Elephant Ringmasters series that bartender described as “fancy beers.” Aged in first-use, French-oak Zinfindel barrels, this beer took on a rosy tint and a tart flavor. The aim of the series is to bring one-off beers made with high-quality products, so look for more additions in the near future.

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[Apologies for the lack of photos going forward, as the scene was too dark to capture anything.]

By now it was at least 10 p.m. and I was strongly considered returning to my hotel. With a final heave, I tackled the rest of Coxe to stop at Thirsty Monk. Though I’d originally planned to stay longer at this epic beer locale, the upstairs was ferociously hot and somewhat busy. With a quick sip of Appalachian Mountain Brewery’s Black Gold Porter, I headed across the street to my final destination: Jack of the Wood.

The heavy doors opened to loud banjo plucking as a bluegrass band wooed a dancing crowd. The pub was uncomfortably dark, making it hard to see what was on tap, so I sought the bartender for advice. I accidentally got a full pour (rather than a small pour) of the casked ESBmy favorite Green Man beer served unpasteurized and unfiltered. I imagine this rich, uncarbonated beer would do well in a bourbon barrel (can’t we just put everything in bourbon barrels??).

Ultimately, I was glad for the large drink because it made me stick around to both enjoy the music and the hilarious antics of a drunken, birthday-celebrating trio… the first of whom almost toppled me over as he came swerving towards the bar. Complaints about poetry and “old” age (from these 27-35 year olds), free Fireball shots, pleas for Denny’s, carrying* the inebriated** away from traffic: these are the stories adventures are made of!

*Carrier = sober me
*Inebriated = my swerving, pancake-obsessed friend for the evening
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