So I’ll recap my adventures that I had yesterday. I got to the hotel, checked into my room, unpacked the car and headed over to Jack of the Woods for lunch. I’m glad I only ordered the garlic cheese fries and not an actual entree. The portion sizes there are huge! Then I went ahead and ordered a beer I’ve never had before, 21st Amendment’s Hell or High Watermelon. For this trip, I’m all about trying unique beers that I haven’t had before.
I paid for lunch and headed across the street to one of the best beer bars in the world, the Thirsty Monk. I’ve written about the Monk pub before, and it never fails to impress me. This was an official Asheville Beer Week event taking place, a tasting of rare Stone Brewing’s beers. I ordered a flight and got to work. One of best things about this bar is the people you meet. I sat next to a couple of local fellows, Travis and Joel. Joel is also a homebrewer and we had a great conversation. We made plans to drink together again tonight. I also met the local Terrapin Brewing company rep. We spoke about Terrapin and I asked him when we could expect to have their beers back in Knoxville. They have recently added new fermentation tanks, so hopefully it won’t be long before we see them back on the shelves and on tap in Knoxville bars. At 6pm they tapped a cask of Terrapin’s Easy Rider. I thought it was a very well done beer, having a heavy grapefruit aroma from the hops used. Well, I wanted to bar hop, so I said my goodbyes and walked over to Asheville Brewing Company on Coxe Avenue for the District 12 Ale release.
District 12 is a new Summer wheat beer, named so for the movie, the Hunger Games which was filmed in this area. District 12 is the area in the movie that the main characters are from, which is made up of the Appalachains. When it was being filmed, the actors stayed in Asheville. I only stayed long enough to charge up my iPhone battery and enjoy the one pint. I checked the Asheville Beer Week website and chose the next event to go to. I knew my buddy Aaron (from Kingsport Oktoberfest, Thirsty Orange and Brewer’s Summit ) was at the Belgium Beer Dinner at Pack’s Tavern.
The dinner was a ticketed event, but sinced it was mostly a meat based menu (and I’m primarly vegetarian) I opted to pass on it. I knew however, that there was great beer there. Since the event started at 6:30 and my arrival was around 8, I knew it was pretty much over. I just walked in like I was supposed to be there. I saw my friend Aaron and went an hung out. At that point, most of the diners had left and the food and beer tables were packing up. I did try a few beers, and had a great conversation about the abbey style ales being brewed under the Ovlia label by Sierra Nevada. We finished our beers and headed out. Aaron and his friend headed to Thirsty Monk where I’d later join them. I sat down across from the Jackson Building while I played on my iPhone and contemplated my next move. While sitting there, a walking ghost tour group stopped in front of it and I heard some interesting stories.
My next move was to head to Lexington Avenue Brewery. I stopped in long enough to have their Chocolate Stout on nitro. I like LAB’s beers, but I have yet to have one that’s knocked my socks off. The chocolate stout was pretty unimpressive in my opinion. I do plan on going there again tonight, so I’ll give something different a try.
After quaffing my beer I headed back to Thirsty Monk to meet up with Aaron. I found him at the downstairs bar. The Thirsty Monk has 2 bars. The upstairs is mainly American Craft beers, the downstairs mostly Belgium craft beers. I elected to stay with 4 ounce pours since I had beer drinking the last few hours and wanted to pace myself. As we sat there drinking and conversating, who should walk in but Brian Grossman of Sierra Nevada and Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River. I introduced myself to these beer world celebrities and spoke with them about their beer. Both of them are giuninely nice guys and very engaging. Brian told me that Sierra Nevada was 95% ready to go to Alcoa when they looked to Asheville. He said he was very worried about coming to Asheville and being seen as the elephant in the room. His fears were put to rest when he met with the local brewing community and they welcomed Sierra Nevada with open arms. Next I spoke with Adam Kimball, the sales rep for Great Divide. I let him Know of my love of their Yeti series. I told him that I planned on visiting their brewery when I go to the Great American Beer Fest in Denver this year. He told me that on the Thursday at the start of the festival they host a big welcoming party event with free food and beer. I’m definitively going to that! Well, next thing I know Brian is next to me at the bar uncorking bottles of the Sierra Nevada & Russian River collaboration, Brux. He generously poured samples for everyone around to try. He explained the name Brux is for the yeast strain used in this beeer, Brettanomyces bruxellensis. He said that this beer was 2 years in the making. It’s going to be a super limited release in 750ml corked bottles. He said it’ll be gone as soon as it hits the market. I want to get several. He advises that this beer will age well for years.
Well the night ended and I stumbled back to the hotel. This morning I realized an important lesson. If I am going to be bar hopping and drinking all evening, I have to make sure to drink water between rounds. Hangovers suck.
There is a lot more events to attend tonight. It looks like I’ll have some company in the form of my Knox Beer Crew buddy, Trader Scott. Beer will be drunk, tales will be told and Hijinks will insue. To follow along in real time, check out my twitter feed @Ratchetbrews and friend me on Untappd.
Tune back in tomorrow for more tales of adventure during Asheville Beer Week.