the 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).
Continue reading On the Road: Highland Brewing Company
Warning: Long Post
I’m taking an intermission from my On the Road series of posts to reflect on the smartphone app Untappd and how it has affected my perception of beer and my habits in regard to it. I’m a relative latecomer to Untappd, and to smartphone technology in general – I got my first smartphone just a year ago and started using Untappd in February. I probably haven’t figured out all of the best uses for the app yet, but have definitely seen both positive aspects for as well as drawbacks from its use.
Continue reading Untappd Mastery
phirx 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.
Continue reading On the Road: Thirsty Monk
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.
Continue reading On the Road: Steel String Brewery
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.
Continue reading On the Road: Bull City Burger and Brewery
phirx On the Road: Greensboro, North Carolina
Looking for a good place for supper on an evening leg of our trip through the Piedmont, we stopped in downtown Greensboro on Friday night. It was busy! There was a long wait at Natty Greene’s, whose beer I had hoped to try, but we were able to sit immediately at M’Coul’s a block away. It was a lucky break.
Continue reading On the Road: M’Coul’s Public House
Located in the heart of Nashville’s 12 South neighborhood near Belmont and Vanderbilt universities, 12 South Taproom is a neighborhood beer bar and restaurant par excellence. The Taproom opened in 2006 and I started drinking there sometime in 2007, and have been visiting several times a year since. In the first few years they were open I went even more, as during those years they had live music every night. Some of Nashville’s finest musicians – session players or sidemen of big-name artists – often were there, either showcasing their side projects on the stage or sitting at the bar listening along with the rest of the crowd. After a number of years 12 South Taproom phased out the music, installing flat screen televisions over the bar and thus attracting the sports bar crowd more than those interested in the esoteric music scene. I miss the music, but I guess it was a sound business decision – the place has been absolutely packed every time I’ve been there for the last couple years.
Continue reading 12 South Taproom