Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wedge Brewing Opens

Well, the long wait is finally over. The Wedge Brewing Company has opened its doors with a very successful first day, as Asheville's beer population descended on the river arts district last night for a first look at the new brewery. Right now they only have one beer on tap, the Iron Rail IPA, which I would assume is named for the railroad tracks that run close to the building. The beer should be familiar to fans of brewer Carl Mellisas, who has always brewed a top notch IPA. As for the brewery itself, there is plenty of glass that allows you to look at the brewing operation, as well as having a small, U-shaped tasting room. If it gets too cramped inside, there is plenty of space to take your beer outside and enjoy the nice summerlike weather. For now, the brewery is going to be open from 4-9ish on Thursday and Friday nights. This should change as they get more beers online, and they are shooting for an official grand opening on the 18th of July. Here is a tentative release schedule for their beers:

Porter - June 14th
Pilsner - July 10th
Gollum (Belgian Stong Ale) - July 17th
Vit (Belgian Wheat) - July 17th
Pale Ale - July 17th
Maibock - August 14th

This looks like a great lineup of beers for the hot sumer months, and if you have a chance you should definitely go and check out Asheville's latest brewery. While you are there you can also check out some of the many fine artists in Asheville in the River Arts District.

(Photo taken from here, which incidently is right next door to the brewery and provides excellent directions to the Wedge Gallery.)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Thirsty Monk Gets Thirstier

Asheville's one and only Belgian beer bar is set to expand upward. The former home of Almost Blue and most recently Something Different on Patton is going to be home to an expansion of the Thirsty Monk, and will feature rotating drafts of American craft beer to supplement the great selection of Belgian beers downstairs. Work has already begun, but there is not set time frame for the opening of the new space, which will feature a small outdoor seating area to go with the new brews. Stairs will connect both spaces, so you will be able to order beer from either floor. If you have ever been to the Brickstore Pub near Atlanta the setup will be very familiar, only flipped as the Belgian section will be downstairs instead of upstairs as it is at the Brickstore. I'm really excited about seeing the new space.

Speaking of new things, the Bruisin' Ales blog has announced that the Wedge Brewery will finally be open next Friday on the 30th. It looks like the IPA may be the only offering to start, but it shouldn't take too long to get the rest of the beers online. I'll be there on Friday if you want to say hello.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Highland To Go Imperial Again

Well, it looks like you might have to set your alarm again this year for the morning after Brewgrass. A tip from the beerinator forums indicates that Highland will once again be releasing a special beer the day after Brewgrass, following the very successful releases of the Imperial Gaelic two years ago and the Imperial Kashmir IPA last year. So which beer is it going to get the Imperial treatment this year? (Drum roll........). It will be none other than the Black Mocha Stout, which in my mind has the potential to be the best of the special releases. Typically, Highland has released these special beers at noon on the day after Brewgrass. Last year they made a lot more of the Imperial Kashmir than the Imperial Gaelic the year before, so it was also available in stores around Asheville and in other parts of North Carolina (and there are still some bottles floating around). If they follow tradition, they will also be pouring the beer at Brewgrass, so make sure to hit the Highland tent early on the day of the fest.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Its Coming!

It was almost a year ago when I made my first post about the upcoming brewery at the Wedge Gallery. Well, our wait is finally over. Almost. According to Tony Kiss, the Wedge has begun brewing beer and they hope to be open sometime by the end of the month. That could mean the end of this month, the end of June, or the end of September, but I'm hoping it is sooner rather than later. I myself have driven by more than once to take a look at the project, and until now the only thing I knew for sure was that they were working hard and they had signs on the bathrooms. The other thing I know for sure is that the beer is going to be great. Most of you are probably already aware that the brewer is Carl Melissas, former brewer at Jack and a lover of Belgian style ales. His first beer though is going to be an IPA, with a pilsner, bock, and the oh-so-good Gollum soon to follow. I hope to be able to talk to Carl soon to see if he has anything else up his sleeve.

I'm going to have a little bit of fun with statistics, and make the claim that Buncombe County has the most breweries per capita in the entire United States. Portland, Oregon has been making this claim, but they only have 30 breweries to serve the over 2 million people in the Portland Metro Area, for an average of 1 brewery per 66,000 people. Asheville/Buncombe has 1 brewery to every 37,500 people. Of course Black Mountain can claim one brewery to every 7650 people. Okay, so throw out the statistics, but I still like to think of us as the best small city for beer in America.

(picture taken from River Arts District webpage)