Category Archives: phirx On the Road

On the Road: Wicked Weed Brewing Part 3

Wicked Weed's World Cup beers: (from left) France; Brazil; Mexico
Wicked Weed’s World Cup beers: (from left) France; Brazil; Mexico

phirx On the Road: Asheville, North Carolina

Part 3 of 3 – Go to Part 1 or Part 2

This is the third and concluding post in my series about Asheville’s remarkable brewery restaurant Wicked Weed, which opened in December 2012.

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On the Road: Wicked Weed Brewing Part 2

20140629-093334-34414428.jpgclockwise from far left: Reverence; Serenity: Black Angel; Divergence; Bretticent; Oblivion

phirx On the Road: Asheville, North Carolina

Part 2 of 3 – Go to Part 1

Wicked Weed Brewing divides their beers into four regular draft categories on their menu and chalkboards: Hops Are Heresy, Beautiful and Belgian, Wicked from the Wood, and From the Funkatorium. They also list a fifth draft category for special, seasonal beers (during our visits they were rolling out a World Cup series), and a sixth category for beers available in bottles. During my two visits I was able to try 22 of these uniformly excellent brews, from all categories except bottles (although I did bring home three bottles that I haven’t cracked yet). Yet there were a few that I missed – some taps ran out and were being replaced with World Cup series beers, and at a certain point each day I had to give up taking notes and end my tasting session with a full glass.

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On the Road: Wicked Weed Brewing Part 1

20140624-103112-37872208.jpgKing Henry VIII lords it over the dining room at Wicked Weed Brewing

phirx On the Road: Asheville, North Carolina

Warning: long post in three parts

Part 1 of 3

With only a couple days to spend in Asheville on a family vacation, it was difficult to narrow down what beer spots to check out. When your very tolerant traveling companions are (understandably) not as obsessed with finding the best beer experiences to be had as you are, things can get tricky in a town like Asheville, especially when one of them is not even of drinking age. This narrowed down my choices to brewpubs – a term that is inadequate in the face of the subject of this post: gastropub? brewery/restaurants? – but even if I left out the taprooms that have limited food offerings, there were still too many to hit in the time I had, even if I did nothing but drink beer while I was there.

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On the Road: Highland Brewing Company

20140621-133713-49033334.jpgthe entrance to the Highland Brewing taproom

phirx On the Road: Asheville, North Carolina

Highland Brewing Company celebrates their 20th anniversary this year, and it was a natural choice to stop by and check out their operation on our visit to Asheville. I’ve enjoyed Highland beers for more than 15 years (I’m not certain when I first tried one), and remember when they weren’t distributed outside of North Carolina and we would pick up a few six packs to take home if we were passing through. Now Highland is the third largest craft brewery in the Southeast, after Abita (Abita Springs, Louisiana) and Sweetwater (Atlanta).

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On the Road: Thirsty Monk

20140618-102947-37787868.jpgphirx On the Road: Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is a regional Mecca for Southern beer lovers. There are more than a dozen breweries or brewpubs with an Asheville address, and many more nearby. Highland and French Broad have grown over the years to become major craft beer labels: their beers are widely distributed throughout the region and well known to craft beer enthusiasts in Nashville. New Belgium announced in April that they will build their $115 million East Coast brewery in downtown Asheville, Sierra Nevada will open a $108 million brewery in nearby Mills River, and Oskar Blues most recently announced that their new East Coast facility will be located in Brevard, 35 miles away.

Yet when confronted with a local beer bar that features two taprooms – one for American craft beer and one for Belgian style ales, many from Europe – I took advantage of the opportunity to try some rare Belgians I had never tasted before.

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On the Road: Steel String Brewery

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phirx On the Road: Carrboro, North Carolina

Steel String Brewery is a small boutique brewery and taproom located in a rustic warehouse in downtown Carrboro, right next to Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s largest university town. I am on a leisurely tour of the Tarheel state visiting family and friends, and my beer review itinerary has been spontaneous so far – we visited Steel String on my brother’s recommendation. I was glad we did! This is the kind of place I would expect to find in Nashville – I felt right at home.

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On the Road: Bull City Burger and Brewery

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phirx On the Road: Durham, North Carolina

This brewery restaurant in downtown Durham describes themselves as “farm-to-fork” and “like fine dining in a burger joint”. Clearly inspired by the local food movement, BCBB grinds North Carolina pasture-raised beef in-house for their burgers, bakes their own buns, makes their own pickles, condiments, etc. and…brews their own beer.

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