Tuesday, December 25, 2012

NCBBBQ Tour Stop #7 : Asheville

Date: August 15th, 16th 2009

Barley's Taproom
Asheville Tourists Baseball
Wedge Brewery
Bridges BBQ (Shelby)

Attendees : Me, Allison, Matt Cabe, Lindsey

It was my birthday! And what better for a birthday present than a trip to the Asheville area for some beer, baseball and bbq?  (Spoiler answer: Nothing)

We actually hit Bridges (in Shelby, NC) on the way down to my wife's family.  (Technically Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge, as there is also an Alston Bridges nearby. Locals fight. I've never been to Alston's so I don't have a dog in this fight) Admittedly we didn't eat this on the spot, where the long wood-fired smokers cook the pig in the back for the kind of 50s diner-ish type store in the front.  However, even a about an hour later I liked this bbq. Particularly the long skinny hushpuppies are how I prefer them. So I'd imagine I'd really like it fresh and hot.

Later in the week it was off to Asheville. If you know nothing about the NC beer scene, Asheville is basically its mecca. It was true in 2009, it's truer now. Even with a solid scene in the Triangle and a burgeoning one in Charlotte, with the impending arrivals of east coast brewing operations for Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, and New Belgium well, there's no real threat toAsheville's throne.

For this leg of the trip we didn't have much time for brewery tours so we hit up one brew pub and one bar where I knew I could get a good selection of Western NC brews that might not make it over to my neck of the woods. The bar, Barley's, isn't the "have to go to" bar in Asheville but I like it for that aforementioned local selection. It's also more food friendly than other local bars and I needed something to eat. I got a couple local beers (don't ask me to remember - it's been 3 years - I'm sure it was good)
Then over to my favorite brewery in all of Asheville, Wedge.  Love it.  Love sitting outside and sort of watching the river but really just looking out over a parking lot and other people with a river in the background.

I can't explain why it's so nice but it is. A Golem (my favorite of their beers) and a half hour to sit and enjoy it and I'm a happy man.

We then met up with my friend Matt and his wife Lindsey for a game in Asheville.  One of the gems of the minor leagues, the stadium is a reasonable walk from downtown (though you'd probably want to drive as it's straight uphill back) and nestled into a mountain side.

The whole place is surrounded by the mountain including a good deal of the concourse carved out of the rock and painted with various Asheville and minor league baseball related items.   Here is the old logo which is so much better than the new one it hurts. Ouch.

It's a fine place to watch a game and usually even mid-summer Asheville is relatively cool.  Of course we hit Asheville on the hottest day of that year and sweated through a fairly uninteresting game.  Even then though the concourse had its cool spots being carved out of the rock.  Really there is precious little to complain about drinking beer and watching baseball in a place like Asheville.

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