Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Road Trip!

This year's Southern Home Brewer's Challenge winners!

Last week's big news about the Southern Home Brewer's Challenge winner overshadowed the details of a recent and very successful trip to Asheville, NC. In what way what is so successful? We were just trying to have some fun and get a few of our hard working managers out of town to visit a few breweries. If you are not familiar with what is happening beer-wise in Asheville, let me just say that you need to get clued in, because it is a whole lot of fun up there. Here is what we did:

We left Atlanta pretty early in the morning, around 7:30 am. I like to get an early start. You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning. That is just pure logic; don't try to argue with it. The drive is roughly 3.5 hours, but somehow we made it in closer to 3 hours. I am only telling you that to encourage you to make the trip, not to drive 80 mph the whole way. But if that's how you roll, then roll on player. I recommend you take the route that takes you up I-985, as opposed to taking I-85 way up into South Carolina. The 985 route is way more scenic, and I have gone both ways. Neither is quicker by any substantial amount of time to make one preferable over the other.
Entrance to the Tasty Weasel

When we arrived in Asheville it was not late enough to check in,but who cares? The local Oskar Blues guy met us at the hotel and took the wheel of the van. My responsibilities were essentially over at that point. He drove us about 30 minutes away to Brevard where their new brewery is located. It wasn't much to look at from the outside, but I assume that will change over time. The insides were what you would expect them to look like. Tanks. Hoses. Forklifts. Guys with beards. The usual. Upstairs is what is called the Tasty Weasel, which is basically the tasting room, and that is where the fun is. It is worth the trip just to taste the freshest Dale's, G'Knight and all the others, made right there in the building. Wow. We got to try a new beer called, "The Deuce". It's a brown ale, and a damn good one at that. I think the way to order one is you say to the bartender, "Yes, I'll take a Deuce."

After we were done at OB, we loaded everyone back in the van back towards Asheville. Funny how it was a much more lively and talkative bunch compared to the same group pre-beer drinking. Once back in Asheville we headed out on foot from our hotel. Asheville is a very walk-able town if you get a hotel downtown. I highly recommend that. We were trying to get to the Green Man brewery for a tour, but somehow we got sidetracked into Barley's Taproom for a quick beer or two. Good stop. Once we got back on the street, we were just a few short blocks from Green Man...and it started to pour rain. Good thing that the Wicked Weed brew pub was across the street. That place was awesome, and I had actually never been there before. Don't miss this place, and be sure to check out the downstairs and the patio. Very cool spot with great beer. We waited out the rain there, and then headed to Green Man. The owner of Green Man is one of my favorite people in the NC beer world. He showed us around his operation, which is growing rapidly, and made sure we had full beers the whole time. The beers were great, and we could have stayed there a long time, but we needed to eat something. Next stop: Asheville Pizza and Brewing. We guessed and beer. Actually we ordered pretty much the entire menu, and it was all good. After that we bounced in and out of several Asheville beer spots and local watering holes. We particularly enjoyed the Yacht Club, but we were enjoying just about everything by then. Luckily it was all downhill to the hotel, so when it was time to shut it down for the night, we just had to follow the road in a comfortable direction.
Just some of the taps downstairs at Wicked Weed.
So there you go. A fun-filled day enjoying only a slice of the beer scene in that town. Easily could have made two days out of it. That is all I have for you right now. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend, and look for some event announcements on the other side of the holiday. We are gearing up for fall and have some fun new ideas coming your way. Talk to you soon.
Great stop on a great day.