Asheville Oktoberfest was a mostly solo affair for me. I drove up early Saturday, checked in to my room which was literally 1 block away from Wall Street, and got my wrist band. With only 6 local breweries providing approximately 3 beers each, this wasn’t a “tasting”. This was full pour, let’s get drunk and have a blast. Which I did. I used twitter as a quick way to keep tabs on how much I’ve had. After my 5th or 6 full cup, I took a break. Since my hotel was so close, I took 30 minutes to relax in an air conditioned room and drink water. Once recharged, I headed back. Oh and let me say this. Sloppy Joe’s are NOT an appropriate beer street festival food. Please, don’t do this. I knew I had to eat, and should have went with a bratwurst, but I had serious doubts I could fit one of those monster’s in my belly and continue to drink. I got the sloppy joe ’cause it was the only vegetarian choice. Seriously Laughing Seed Cafe, next time veggie brats, or something similar. You’ll sell more food, I promise.
Well, I didn’t really meet any new people at the fest, but luckily I knew some people who were there. My ex-neighbors and friends Brad and Trish and L.C. and Pod. Also Chris and Lindey from the homebrew club. Later on I met up with Aaron and his crew the organizers of the Kingsport Oktoberfest. L.C. and Pod drank fast and crashed early. I spent most of the rest of the festival drinking, wandering and drunkenly dancing to the Stratton Mountain Boys by the stage. The band is great German drinking music, they led the crowd in drunken chants. A friend of mine later remarked on my facebook page in response to a video I posted that German accents cover up slurred speech every time. I found that to be more and more true as Oktoberfest progressed. The fest went from 12-6pm. Around 6:15 I got my last beer. The band was breaking down and most everyone was wandering off. I returned to my room, drink in hand. Crossing the street in front of the hotel, a cop asked me to pour out my full beer. I did so without regret since I was feeling pretty good by then.
My friends stayed in the same hotel as I did, the Downtown Inn and Suites. I went to their room and watched the 1st quarter or so of the Vols game. Knowing that Brusin Ales closed at 9, I walked over there and stocked up on rare beers and stuff you just can’t find in Knoxville. I had a sample of what they had on tap, and talked beer with one of the shop owners for awhile. She hooked me up with a free Asheville Brewing Alliance shirt, which was nice of her. She also gave me a shout on the http://twitter.com/brusinales which was pretty cool. The owners of Brusin Ales are good people, who know their beer. The store is recognized as one of the world’s best bottle shops in several beer magazines. I made my bank account smaller, took my loot and stashed it back in the room. Then I headed to Wedge Brewery which was a short 1 mile walk down the block. I got there real close to closing time, just long enought to have a “Derailed” hemp seed ale. I’ve been wanting to go to The Wedge for awhile. It seems like a great place to spend an afternoon drinking and I look forward to going back again one day.
I ended up the night at Lexington Avenue Brewery. I sat at the bar and ordered one of their amazing local cheese plates and their American Pale Ale. After I ate it became apparent to me that I was done. Like, get-my-ass-back-to-the-hotel-before-I-pass-out done. I payed my tab and shamefully left half of a really great beer behind.
The next day I got up and met with my friends at the hotel’s dining room to enjoy the free breakfast and hang out. I showed them their pictures on the Asheville newspaper’s (the Citizen Times) website. My friend Brad is on the front cover of the physical paper in a crowd shot. It was funny seeing him search for himself like he was playing Where’s Waldo.
Since I’m a complete coffee snob and don’t drink free hotel coffee, I went off in search of a cup of wake up juice. I found it at Wall Street Coffee house. With cup in hand I walked several miles through downtown taking in the sites. This is how I soak up the ambience of a place. I was also on a mission to find a place that was open that had an Oktoberfest poster in the window. I was going to ask for it to bring it back for the wall of my beer room. I didn’t have any luck, but made a mental note to come back after lunch when a printing shop that had one displayed opened. Unfortunately I did forget, so if any Asheville people see this blog, if you send me one, I’ll send you a pint glass in return. I met up with my friends for lunch at Plant, which is a vegan restaurant on Merrimon Avenue. It was a nice brunch, throughly enjoyable even though I’m not vegan. I then proceeded back to Brusin Ales to get a 4 pack of Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale since TN no longer gets Dogfish Head shipments. I also stopped at Earth Fare on my way out of town to get a few Asheville Brewing Company bombers. I got Ninja Porter and Moog Ale. Picked up a few actual brats I plan on cooking next weekend when I brew again.
I have a great time whenever I visit Asheville. I know that for the next few months I’ll be squirreling away money for a return trip. I’m already thinking of the Winter Warmer festival in January. I know for certain that next Oktoberfest, I’ll be there as well. Maybe I’ll have a travel companion for these, or maybe they will once again be solo affairs. Either way, I’m sure to enjoy tasty beers and the great vibe of Beer City USA.