Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekend Edition: Asheville Breweries

beer city, usa 

For Justin's birthday, I took him to Asheville to take a few tours of the breweries there.  Asheville was dubbed Beer City USA in 2010.  According to the Asheville tourism site, "[duringan online poll celebrating American Craft Beer Week...passion for the small, but mighty, brewing culture of Asheville, North Carolina surpassed brewing giant Portland, Oregon."  We kicked off our trip with a stop at Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mountain, NC.

We started out with a flight of four delicious beers at Pisgah Brewing Company including the Valdez (coffee stout), the Nitro stout, the Pisgah IPA, and the Spring Wheat.

Justin ended up getting a pint, and later a growler, of the Pisgal Pale (not pictured).

The coffee stout was my favorite

The bar (cash only)!

I got a sample of the Bacon Beer- a mere 650 calories per glass, brewed in 100 pounds of bacon (100% all natural, grease included).

After that, we headed to Highland Brewing Company, about 20 minutes away.

I got the Chai Tea Dubbel, and Justin got the Devil's Britches IPA.

All the flowers seemed to have bloomed over Friday night; everything was gorgeous!

Highland was in a super cool, old factory.

This was our wonderful tour guide, Dirk.  He showed us the run of the brewery and was really up on his chemistry.  It turns out that Pisgah is a microbrewery producing 15,000 barrels of beer a year, and that Highland is a craft brewery, producing 30,000 barrels of beer a year.  Highland is also the third largest craft brewery in the southeast behind Abita and SweetWater.

At the beginning of the tour, Dirk gave us a sample of the Gaelic Ale and told everyone with a pint in their hands that they were now in Irish handcuffs.

Just wee bit different!

Dirk explained that the Y shape of these conical tanks is conduce to yeast production.

The sticker on the counter says "It's all about fermentation!"

Both tours were very cool and very informative.  If you like Breaking Bad, you'd love a brewery tour- science bitch!  In the picture above, you can see some yeast producing alcohol and carbon-dioxide in the sweet water, which is the essence of any brew.

Pisgah only offers kegs and growlers to reduce their carbon footprint; but here's the bottling line at Highland, and all the glass comes from Atlanta.

Kegs on kegs on kegs.

Flight at Highland.

The Gaelic Ale was definitely our all-year favorite.

Next door, Troy and Sons' Distillery had recently opened.

Troy and Sons specializes in spirits with no kick- and I mean that in the best way possible.  The founder is a woman with two sons in need of special medical attention.  She decided to start the brand after receiving bottles of moonshine  from the neighbors when her family moved from Austin, TX, to Asheville, NC.

Troy and Sons produces three types of whiskey- Platinum, Oak Reserve and Blonde.

Troy prides her operation on using heirloom corn, grown locally, which she attributes the smoothness of her spirits.  She won the silver medal at the NYISC 2011. 

Barrel-aged whiskey.

I loved their marketing:even the first president made shine!

Do you have a favorite brewery? I'd love to hear about it and any other travel tips! 

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