Day 150 – 150 days of blogging. BOO YAH!!
What a day. It’s like the holidays won’t end. The entire Donehue Direct team was finally back in the office for the first time in nearly 3 weeks and we were forced to take another half-day off. And by forced, I mean the University of South Carolina Gamecocks played in their biggest bowl game ever.
The Gamecocks didn’t disappoint, finishing the year with a historic 11th game win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers with the help of a highflying Alshon Jeffrey. We knocked off work today around 12:30 and headed straight for the bar. As we begin 2012, I am continuing a resolution I set in 2011 and that is to quit drinking shitty beer. But as you can see, I did not quite accomplish my goal to stop cursing.
Now would be a good time to tell you about our amazing microbrewery tasting trip to Asheville, North Carolina last friday. The trick to visiting Asheville is to make sure you stay in a hotel that is downtown. There are just too many amazing pubs and microbreweries downtown and they are all within walking distance to each other. Don’t be an idiot and drive. Stay somewhere close enough that allows you to stumble back to your room. Click here for a map of our tastings.
That’s what we did and I don’t regret that strategy, but it did force us to visit Asheville’s best brewery first. That’s never a good thing because this spot was so amazing that even great spots were a pretty big step down. I’m talking about Pisgah Brewing Company located in Black Mountain, North Carolina, which is about 15 min. outside of Asheville. I would advise you to do what we did and visit there first. You certainly don’t want to be driving drunk after visiting a bunch of other spots in downtown Asheville.
Pisgah is everything you want a microbrewery to be. The tasting room was rustic, the bartender was friendly, and most importantly, the beer was amazing. You can visit my Oink page to get my opinion on all the different beers we tried. My favorite was the Valadez. You know how much I love coffee and you know how much I love beer and this was by far the best combination of the two I have ever had in my life. It’s almost like God made this beer especially for Wesley Donehue.
From there we went to another brewery also requiring a car because it’s about 10 min. outside the city. Highland Brewing Company is Asheville’s most famous brewery because it’s so large. Unfortunately that gives the spot a more corporate and sterile feeling.
Don’t get me wrong, the owners have certainly created a beautiful must-visit location, but it lost the quaint feeling that I love in a microbrewery. That’s just what happens when you grow and I say it’s a must-visit for the simple reason that you should see the differences in a larger and smaller microbrewery. In particular, I love that they put big renovated trailers in the warehouse to serve as offices. Very cool.
From there we drove to my second favorite spot, Wedge Brewing Company. This place was packed and the atmosphere was amazing. They had a great outdoor area for the picnic tables and outdoor games, including cornhole. We tried a number of different beers and my favorite or should I say “my precious” was the Golum.
We then dropped the car at the hotel and hit the road for the rest of the evening. The Oyster House Brewing Company has great food and a pretty good oyster stout. It wasn’t quite as good as the oyster stout produced by North Charleston’s Coast Brewery, but it was good none-the-less. Elizabeth nearly fainted in delight over Asheville Brewing Company’s jalapeño beer. I fell in love with Craggie, a small brewery that opens up its warehouse for bands to play between its giant fermenters. Jack of the Wood, Thirsty Monk and The Bier Garden are three of the coolest pubs on the East Coast.
Life is too short to drink crap beer. Don’t do it. Asheville is right up there with the liberal bastions of San Francisco, Austin and Key West as the coolest cities in America. Make sure you get there often.
- Wesley Donehue
PS – We had breakfast at Early Girl Eatery. You MUST hit this place up when you visit Asheville. Get the local sausage and sweet potato scramble.
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