Thursday, July 10, 2008

Beer Blessed in Asheville, North Carolina

Bar at Barley's Taproom

We spent several very enjoyable days in Asheville, North Carolina, and were surprised at the wide variety of very good beers available in the area.

Our first visit was to Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria. While the pizza was pretty mediocre, the taps were excellent with a wide variety of local options. Among the beers we tried were the Solstice Belgian Tripel and Vortex Triple IPA from Pisgah Brewing Company:

Pisgah Solstice Belgian Tripel and Vortex Triple IPA at Barley's Taproom

The Solstice was particularly good. We're really starting to enjoy the Tripel style, and this was a nice version - prominent, but not too heavy belgian yeast flavor.

Another great spot is Jack of the Wood, a comfy pub with live music several nights a week. They serve their own Green Man Ales which, while not our favorites of the local offerings, were pretty good.

Jack of the Wood in Asheville, North Carolina

We caught two shows here - a fantastic performance by a band called The Belleville Outfit (definitely check them out if you get a chance) and this bluegrass band whose name I can't remember:

Band at Jack of the Wood

On an evening bus tour with LaZoom Tours, we had a 15-minute break at the Thirsty Monk - a great little Belgian beer bar tucked away around the back of this building and down some steps.

Thirsty Monk in Asheville, North Carolina

We had just enough time to partake in a Houblon Chouffe and a Pisgah Solstice before we had to get back on the bus.

Houblon Chouffe and Pisgah Solstice at the Thirsty Monk

Fridays during the summer, Asheville has an outdoor concert series called Downtown After Five. A number of the local breweries were represented:

Local Beers at Downtown After Five in Asheville, North Carolina

Served in compostable cups, of course.

Compostable Cups at Downtown After Five in Asheville, North Carolina

In addition to the great options on tap around town, there was a fantastic little bottle shop a few blocks away from our hotel. Brusin' Ales had a great selection and let you buy individual bottles from six packs.

Bruisin' Ales in Asheville, North Carolina

They had a number of beers I had been wanting to try but hadn't been able to get my hands on. We picked up a Double Simcoe and a Hops Infusion from Weyerbacher, and a Two Hearted Ale from Bell's:

Weyerbacher Hops Infusion and Double Simcoe and Bell's Two Hearted Ale from Bruisin' Ales

The Double Simcoe was very good - it tasted a lot like the San Diego Pale Ale we have been making. The Hops Infusion was ok, but didn't have nearly as much flavor.

I have been wanting to try Bell's Two Hearted Ale for quite some time. I was worried that it would be on the maltier side (like the offerings from Dogfish Head) and I wouldn't like it. Turns out that it is fantastic. Nice, light color. Complex taste, with hints of apricot. Wish we could get it in San Diego...

Barley's Taproom
42 Biltmore Ave.
Asheville, North Carolina
(828) 255-0504‎

Jack of the Wood
95 Patton Ave.
Asheville, North Carolina
(828) 252-5445‎

Thirsty Monk
92 Patton Ave.
Asheville, North Carolina
(828) 254-5470‎

Bruisin' Ales
66 Broadway St. Suite 1
Asheville, North Carolina
(828) 252-8999‎

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