Sunday, December 09, 2007

West Asheville is happening

As promised, I made a trip out to Tolliver's for a beer. The beer list is what you would expect from an Irish pub, with Guinness leading the way, along with Beamish, Smithwicks, and several other brews from Ireland and the British Isles. I had a Twisted Thistle IPA from Bellhaven, a Scottish brewery. It was good, but don't expect it to be an American version of an IPA, as the hops were more muted in this one. They also featured Highland on tap and had several micros in bottles. The menu was also what you expect from an Irish pub, but I did not get a chance to sample the food. Other features of the bar include two or three flat screen TV's, darts, and a foosball table that is presently out of order. Smoking is allowed inside during the later hours of operation (I think after 9).

Not only did Tolliver's open up last week, another bar in West Asheville has also opened up. The Admiral is located across the street from Harvest Records, and it is definitely a unique place. I would describe the interior as 'dive bar chic', with old school stools lining the bar on one side, a small sitting lounge in the corner, and booths and tables for eating. This isn't a beer geek destination, but they do have some micro bottles to choose from. The menu is fantastic though, and we sampled the Gaelic Ale pimento cheese spread and the steamed mussels, both being very good. As far as drinking, I actually gravitated to the Admiral's Grog, a tasty concoction featuring rum and cheerwine. Overall, I really liked the place, even if they don't have the greatest beer selection.

And lastly, I did walk by the Thirsty Monk downtown, and it does appear that progress is being made, so I am optimistic that we will see it open sometime in the near future.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

He's Alive!

Yes, I am still here. Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Between traveling for the holidays, and my normal life schedule I haven't gotten around to posting. Bad blogger. I even missed out on the bottled Highland Cold Mountain, which came and went in a flash. I've had several pints of it at Barleys however, so all is not lost. Now, on to some local beer happenings.

I've been anxiously awaiting the release of this year's Pisgah Baptista, and it is finally here. Bruisin' Ales got some in today, and I hurriedly rushed out to get it after work. This beer sold out quickly last year, and I expect it to do the same again. They did brew more this time around, about 100 cases or so, and I suspect that it will only be available for a couple of weeks. I am sipping on this year's batch as I type this, and it is as fantastic as I remember it. This is one of the better American brewed belgian style ales in the country. Yes, I said the entire country. Be sure to pick some up, and you can have a chance to taste some at Bruisin' Ales on the 13th for their beer tasting.

Speaking of Bruisin' Ale's beer tastings, be sure to check out the vertical tasting of the Brooklyn Chocolate Stout and Monster Barleywine tomorrow night. It is indeed a rare treat to be able to taste side by side different vintages of beers, and to see how the aging process effects the taste. This tasting costs five dollars and the proceeds will go to Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Another local brewery that has been delivering some extra special goodies has been French Broad Brewing Company. Hot on the heels of the Wee-Heavyest, they are hoping to have another as yet unnamed special bottled release by Christmas. I hope they can keep this up, although I know that they are spending a lot of time hand bottling these beers. Show your support by picking some up on the next release. French Broad has also resurrected their Flander's Abbey Ale, which is available at the tasting room and soon in other locations in Asheville. It is nice to have a sessionable belgian style ale to drink while out on the town.

Hops and Vines, West Asheville's newest beer store has a website now. They have beer tastings on Friday evenings from 3-6, and they are holding a homebrewing 101 class on Sunday, December 30th. This is an excellent opportunity to see what goes into making beer, and the best part is you get to take home some of the finished product.

And speaking of West Asheville, Tolliver's Crossing is finally open. I've been peeking in the window for the last couple of months, and when I drove by tonight I saw it packed with people. If my dog wasn't in the car with me, I would have hopped in for a pint. A full report will be issued as soon as I get a chance to drop in. In other bar news, I have heard nothing about the Thirsty Monk downtown. They were supposed to be open in October, but I understand that these things take time. Hopefully things are still on track there and they will be opening soon.

That's all for now folks.