My last day of #AvlBeerWeek and Sunday @LaZoom ride w/ @FeralChihuahuas

June 4, 2012

Well here it is, Monday morning afternoon. My beercation ended, I’m back at work. I arrived back in Knoxville yesterday evening. After filling up all my beer fridges with the spoils of my Bruisin’ Ales purchases, I settled in for a long 8 1/2 hours of solid “back in my own bed” slumber.

I truly had a great time in Asheville. According to my Untappd check ins, I had 68 unique beers during the 5 days I was there. That’s not counting beers that I drank, but had previously logged into. I also posted to this website every day of my beercation. Here is Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s post. I want to thank the Asheville Beer Week Committee for doing a superb job of organizing events and promotion for beer week. I want to give a big shout out to everyone I met this week, and all the new friends I made. Thanks for the retweets, the invites, the converstations and the toast. Beer isn’t what makes Asheville great. It’s the people behind the beer.

That being said, I want to recap the last day of my Asheville Beer Week beercation. It started with me going to the lobby of the Hotel Indigo and buying a cup of coffee. I got the website updated, went back upstairs and started packing. I had to figure out how to get everything in the car, and still have access to put things in the cooler. After the car was packed, I headed to Asheville Brewing Company at Coxe Avenue. I had brought a few bottles of my homebrewed Rauchbier for Mike. When I saw him at Beer City Fest, I asked how I could get them to him. He said that if I dropped it off in the walk in cooler with a note that he’d get it and share it with Doug. So I did that and I headed to Bruisin’ Ales for a little more shopping and to say goodbye to Julie, Jason and the crew. I made my last minute purchase, including a cool bottle to drink on the bus tour. I put everything in the my remaining cooler space in the car. I then realized that I had less then 10 minutes to get all the way down the block on foot for the LaZoom Sunday Beer Run.

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Bruisin Ales, or as I like to call it “Heaven”.

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More of the selection at Bruisin Ales

Let me stop right here and tell you about the LaZoom Comedy bus tour. Everyone loves them. They do a regular comedy tour of Asheville that is highly rated. Mary and my son, Orion went on the tour on Saturday while I was at Beer City Fest and they had a great time. If you ever go to Asheville, this is a must do. For Asheville Beer Week they teamed up with a local comedy group, the Feral Chihuahuas to do 2 special Sunday Beer Run tours. One on Sunday May 27th and one on Sunday June 3rd.

Knowing that I was leaving on Sunday, I thought this would be the perfect end to my beer week experience. I was not disappointed! I jogged all the way (with beer in hand) from Bruisin’ Ales to the bus pick up point at French Broad Co-op. I got there and as soon as I got on the bus I saw Mike and Allison from Asheville Brewing Company. I sat right next to them on the other side of the isle. I told them about the beer I just dropped off for them. They were grateful. I forgot to bring a bottle opener for my beer, but knowing that it was a bus full of drinkers, all I had to do was ask. Mike gave me his Asheville Brewing Company credit card sized bottle opener that I could keep in my wallet so I wouldn’t find myself without one again. Well the tour started and it was laughs from start to finish. There were skits all the way through. Since it was a beer-centric ride, they had a cooler full of complimentary cans of beer from Asheville Brewing Company and Catawba. Below are pictures from the tour.

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My first beer of the LaZoom Sunday Beer Run

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John Barley Corn on the LaZoom bus

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The self proclaimed “Mayor of Beer City”

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Asheville’s beer poet laurete, Hopcorn Sutton

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The Reading of the will on the LaZoom Bus. Drink everythime you hear the word “boner.”

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The dead guy left everything to his douchey frat bros (in the background)

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“The Procastinator”, he’s from the future. We did drunken ab-libs with him.

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This guy stood motionless like this for a good 2 city blocks.

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A prop comic that used really bad beer label puns.

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second stop of the LaZoom Sunday beer run, at Green Man Brewery’s tap room aka “Dirty Jack’s”

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Green Man’s limited edition Summer Wheat Beer “The Traveler”

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10 minutes until we get back on the bus!

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Fermentors at Green Man

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Another shot of the bar at Green Man aka Dirty Jack’s

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Yay!

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The Beerstie Boys

We rode around Asheville while they did skits while stopping and picking up different characters. Both the jokes and the beer were flowing. We had our 1st 20 minute stop at Wedge Brewery, just long enough to have a beer, take a much need restroom break and hop back on the bus. We then drove around while a character with a bad accent called “The Procastinator” told us about the future where he was from. He got words from the riders and we did a drunken version of Ad-libs. We then stopped at Green Man Brewery where I found out that their tap room is also called Dirty Jack’s. I had yet another beer and some pretzels. They did one last skit before ending the tour. The told us at the beginning that we could take pictures, but no video recording. Well for the last skit they said we could record it as they presented “The Beerstie Boys”. Here it is from the video I took on my iPhone.

The tour ended and my face hurt from smiling and my sides were sore from laughing. It was time to head home. Mary and Orion picked me up, but Orion wanted to go to the toy store over on Wall Street. Great! That gave me time for one last beer at The Thirsty Monk before leaving town. I went and had a half pour of my last official beer of Asheville Beer Week on the front patio. A few minutes later my ride pulled up to the curb. It was really, finally, time to go. I took one last picture as we left downtown and headed towards the interstate.

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Asheville is such a tourist friendly town. They even printed guides to beer Week.

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Me on the front patio of The Thirsty Monk, looking in. My last beer of Asheville Beer Week.

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The outside of the Thirsty Monk, where I did a lot of my Asheville Beer Week drinking.

I’ll miss Asheville, but I take great comfort in knowing that it’s only 2 hours away and that I’ll return again soon. For now it’s back to work to build back up my decimated savings account so I can come back for my next beercation in Beer City USA.

Hope you enjoyed reading these post full of mistakes and typos over that last couple of days. I know I had fun writing them. I’d like to hear from people I met, so let me know your thoughts or just say hi in the comment section below.

Cheers,

Ratchet


Some of my tips for surviving (my 3rd day) #AvlBeerweek aka “note to self”

June 1, 2012

Well here it is Friday, day 3 of my Asheville Beer Week experience. I’ve had a really good time so far. I’ll go ahead and skip the set up and go directly into my recap of yesterday.

Started the day by lounging around in the hotel room, trying to get yesterday’s post to load.  At noon, I went and saw Men In Back 3 at Carolina Cinemas. It was the best of the 3, really well done and I recommend seeing it. What was really cool about the theater is that they have an amazing draft and bottle selection. I didn’t want to get started drink too early, so while I admired the list, I actually skipped the imbiding.

When the movie ended, I went next door to Wally-World to stock up on Multivitamins and spring water. While I was in the movie, My friend Booze Traveler aka Trader Scott came into town. I drove to Bruisin’ Ales where I met up with him. We sipped a few samples of beer that they had on tap and picked out bottles. I got some pretty good scores that I’ll post a picture of later. I dropped the big ol’ box of purchased beer off at my hotel room and contemplated my next move. I really wanted to go to Hops & Vines in West Asheville for thr homebrewers night, but that would have meant driving. That is one thing I do not do is drink and drive. That’s a set in stone rule as far as I’m concerned. So I elected to stick to events within walking distance. This of course meant the Thirsty Monk where they had a Colorado tap takeover. Breweries such as Oskar Blues, Ska Brewing, Great Divide and Breckenridge Brewery had brewers and reps on hand. I scored plenty of bottle openers, sticker and coasters. I met Arlo from Ska Brewing and talked about their beer and the fact that they had thier super limited release of Skaworks Orange on draft at the event.

Me with Arlo from Ska Brewing

We left the Monk and headed over to Barley’s where we sampled a couple of secret drafts from Lost Abbey. If you went to the upstairs bar and mentioned Untappd, they hooked you up with some free samples. Both beers were incredibly good and incredibly strong. Thank god for sample glasses, because if I would have drank a pint of either of those I would have had to call it a night. I only stayed for the samples so I could head to the new brewery announcement at Wedge.

A sample of Lost Abbey’s Saison at Barley’s

About The Lost Abbey beers I sampled

When I go to Wedge, the place was packed. There was a line going out the door for beer. All the Ashevillians I meet really love this place, and I can see why. Very cool, laid back vibe and amazing beers. I had a glass of their Oatmeal Stout that I will go out on a limb and proclaim one of the best I’ve ever had of that style. I stayed only long enough to enjoy that one beer, talk a little bit with Cleat from Thirsty Monk, and meet and speak with the owners of the newest brewery, the Wicked Weed.

About the New brewery, opening next to the Orange Peel, December 2012

The Wicked Weed brewery will be a 15 barrel system located right next to the Orange Peel. The owners I spoke with said they paln to open sometime in December. I think I just planned a future trip.

Mock up of the Wicked Weed

I wanted to stay longer at Wedge, but I was getting really hungry.

I hadn’t ate anything substantial since breakfast. I knew from checking the Asheville Beer Week website that there was a $5 buffet at Lexington Avenue Brewery. I went there for it, and I can only describe it as bizzare. The Buffet was in the back room where the bands play. I asked the doorman if I could check it out before I committed. He said to go ahead, and I walked into one of the most surreal scenes ever. The room was pitch black except for some muted blue lights illuminating a way too loud jazz fusion band. Lounging around is various states of disinterested hipness were honest to goodness beret and turtleneck wearing jazz beatnicks. The “buffet” consisted of 2 pans of unidentifiable stuff that you could only tell was there from the over powering curry smell and the lights from the stage reflected off the metal. The whole scene was weird, uncomfortable and awkward. I turned around and walked out.

After that fiasco, I met up with Scott at Jack Of The Woods. By then I was tired from all the walking, and worn out from not eating right. I ordered a half pour of Catawba’s Strawberry Rhubarb Berliner Weiss and a half order of nachos. The combination of spicy and sour was more then my empty stomach could handle. I took a few bites, a few sips, and I was done. I boxed up my food, paid my tab and went back and took a long powernap at the hotel.

After an hour or so, I was refreshed, so I rallied and met Scott in the hotel lobby where we headed back to, you guessed it, The Thirsty Monk. The place was at capacity, but the doorman was really cool and let us in anyway. We headed downstairs. I had a half pour of Ommegang’s Art of Darkness and Scott bought a bottle of Brooklyn’s Black Ops. We sat and conversed for awhile. Last call was made, so we paid our tabs and on the way out I introduced Scott to Brian from Sierra Nevada.

All and all it was another great day of my beercation. Which brings me to my survival guide. I am going to make sure to do ALL of this today. 1. Wear sunblock. Though today it’s overcast and calls for rain. So I guess #1 would be Check the weather online and plan accordingly. I plan on getting an umbrella. Number 2, Half pours are your friend. If you are going to be drinking for hours and hours, pace yourself. Number 3, eat something! You need a solid foundation for that beer to rest on, multivitamins help, but they are not food. Calories are good if you walk everywhere. Number 4, drink water between rounds, avoid the hangover. Number 5, carry cash. Bars like Thirsty Monk get packed it’s a lot easier to pay for your drinks without having to wait (or make someone else wait) while you pay by card. Number 6, TIP WELL! The bartenders around here are some of the nicest beer loving people in the world. With all the extra people in town for beer week, they are working their asses off. Make sure to let them know that you appreciate them.

Alright well this is all for now. I have an ESB brewing workshop at a gardening place to attend, I still have to shave, shower, change and hoof it there. I need to get off the computer, but I will try to upload more pictures as I check back in. This hotel’s interwebs run a little on the slow side.

See you around town. I’m looking to meet some of my tweeps and website readers, so if you see me, say hi!

-Cheers,

Ratchet

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The tap list at Wedge

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Scott aka Booze Traveler with Brian Grossman of Sierra Nevada

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That Wacky Booze Traveler with the beer that doesn’t exist

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Wedge’s awards

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Outside of Wedge

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Raffle for the new brewery