I can't believe this day was two weeks ago all of a sudden.
(Remember, most of the beer reviews are actual notes from while we were drinking the beer)
This was our first full day in Asheville. It started with eating out at the Early Girl, then walking around the villages and eventually reaching the Craggie Brewery …
… and it was closed. Wah Wah. It didn’t open until 4, but I guess that’s what you get for falling in love. You get a little and it’s never enough. Fortunately, Asheville Brewing and Pizza was just a couple blocks east, so we found a break from the not quite Florida hot August Asheville sun. Sadly, we didn’t get any pictures of this place, which is most likely due to the fact we couldn’t see their brewery. Here’s what we had on tap:
The Rocket Girl Lager (4) – There are very few lagers I’d rank higher than a 5, so the 4 isn’t so bad. This was a million times better than a Budwieser. Not as good say as a Victory Prima Pils.
The Ninja Porter (7) – We had this at breakfast out of a bottle and it was decent. It tasted like our porter, so we were happy with it, but we’ve had some good porters on this journey thus far (See Founders Porter). When we had it out of their tap, it was an entirely different beer … much better than ours L. Possibly the most fun part of this restaurant/brewery was that they had a “Ninja Exit Only” sign right near the vent. That still makes me smile.
Escape Artist ESP (6) – It’s funny reading Angi’s comments versus mine in the book of beer (not to be confused with a bible).
Angi: Orange highlights, lasting lacing, good body w/ subtle hops – columbus or willemette? Very similar to our Skanky Ginger
Zach: Pretty good beer, kinda skanky.
Shiva IPA (6)
Angi: Golden lemon color w/ lasting lacing, lemony, citrus, nice malt backbone
Zach: Wicked hoppy but good.
The Fire Escape (3)
This is the spiciest beer I’ve ever had. Without getting into something about spicy beers and their affects on first world countries, my view on most is they’re fun to try, could never drink, unless they’re very mild and you only taste them in the aftertaste. Well, this one destroyed my taste buds for awhile. In fact, I even told Angi (who will not drink spicy beer) that she should watch No Country For Old Men before she tries this beer (there’s a lot of dead dog scenes in that, so it would ruin the Coen Brothers for her I’m certain).
Those 5 beers were all of their beers on draft, but while I was trying to get my taste buds back after drinking fire, Angi ordered the Foothills Brewing Hefewiezen which she liked, but I couldn’t taste unfortunately. Damn you Fire Escape!!!!! After this, we walked up to the Jack of the Wood Pub …
Monkey’s Unkel Dunkelweizen (5)
Angi liked this beer to the point that when someone else who ordered a beer and was unsure what they wanted, she offered her a sip of this one.
GreenMan ESB (6)
I know it’s only an ESB, but I like it, yes I do. I like it. As that last sentence was my notes, I can tell I’m starting to get buzzed.
Sweet Josie Brown (6)
From there, we went to Tall Gary’s Cantina. Though Gary may not have been that tall, he had a good cantina going.
This was more of a restaurant than a beer place, but there were 14 taps so …
Highland Cottail Peak Wheat (6)
Highland is the Budwieser of Asheville in terms of prestige (not shitty beer). It’s the one beer that actually leaves Asheville to great distances, yet we didn’t end up touring their brewery because we’re just not great fans of their beer. It’s not bad, just not really good. This was a good wheat beer which .. well wait, I didn’t learn my wheat beer lesson yet … yet.
Highland Oatmeal Porter (6)
Angi: Caramel flavor dominates with mild chocolate and roasty
Zach: Sadly, we’ve had this before and I’m in the land that time forgot. Good porter though, as long they don’t great white rock me in the public square for having a Highland. Yes, Jani Lane died and I’m sad which somehow makes me reference Great White, which is even more tragic because they killed 100 people. (These are the types of things one writes when they are at their 3rd beer bar and it’s not even evening yet).
Steve’s Point Black (7)
Angi: Delicious Crème Brulee type aroma/flavor. Light, fluffy foam, creamy, flan type flavor. Dark, yet not heavy.
Zach: Good to the extreme. Possible dessert beer. It’s the kind of beer we’d get in a 22 oz bottle, split and hope to see again in a few months.
By now it was after 4, so we walked down to Craggie’s.
Toubab Brewe (8)
Not to be confused with the 2 Live Crew, this may be the best lager I’ve ever had. In fact, I didn’t even know it was a lager until we had it again a couple nights later. Actually, it’s technically a bavarian zwickel, but c’mon. It’s a lager.
“I want to mail myself a letter about it, just so it’s literally something to write home about.”
White Squirrel (7)
No, no, no friends, it wasn’t fruit cocktail mix, vodka, and a 12 back of Bud Light mixed together, but it was a Belgian Style Orange. It was nearly as good as the Toubab Brewe.
Antebellum Ale (7)
Angi: 1840’s style American Ale. Molasses, Spruce tips and ginger.
Zach: It was pretty good. Not sure how much I could drink though.
Cherry Belafonte (3) (Great name)
I’ve never really liked any cherry flavoured beers I’ve ever had so …
Angi: Amazing sour cherry beer
Burning Barrel Belgian Porter (9)
I completely forgot about this beer and immediatley need to have it again. It was aged in a bourbon barrell and had a chipotle kick. When I say I don’t like spicy beers, this is the perfect example of how to do it right. You don’t even taste the chipotle while drinking it, then all of a sudden say to yourself, “Where’s that spice coming from?”
Suddenly, I have this feeling that I’ll never get to drink this beer again.
Craggie was a big winner on our trip. If the Thirsty Monk wins the award for Best Bar. Craggie wins the award for most unique tasting beers. I really wanted to go back there (it was a little bit of a walk) and am all of a sudden dissapointed we didn’t.
I don’t remember this brewery too much, and now that I’ve written this day up from notes I see why. We’ve had many beers by this point. I was hoping we’d arrive here and they’d have 8 different beers of theirs on draft (nope, no breweries really did, aside from the Lab maybe, but they’re at the end).
They only had a few, and only two that had yet to be tried. The Porter (5) which was okay, and a Cask IPA. I don’t like Cask Conditioned beers. You know why? This comes from brewing. Right before bottling, it’s only natural to taste the beer, which is always warm and uncarbonated at that point. It’s never really good, but sometimes it’s interesting so you know you’re about to have a good beer. Cask Conditioned beer doesn’t really taste any different.
From here, we went back to the Thirsty Monk I believe ... it starts getting hazy.