Our weekend trip to Asheville was a mix of waterfalls hikes, views and beer tasting, so here’s the beer list…
- Raspberry porter nitro and Oktoberfest @ Lexington Avenue Brewery — Great people watching spot, we managed to grab some stools on the patio for a quick beer before dinner on Friday night.
- Green Man Porter @ Bouchon— This option from Green Man was available almost everywhere we went, clearly a popular choice.
- Mother Earth Old Neighborhood (porter) and Catawba Azuelejo de Calabaza @ Thirsty Monk — We had to wait for others to leave before we could go inside and order. It was half-empty, so I guess it’s policy to keep this place uncrowded? At least the upstairs and downstairs tabs could talk to each other. Since we had Riesling we stayed on the small patio and enjoyed the people watching. Leandra’s porter was pretty standard and Eric’s was pretty funky.
- Community Porter, Altbier, and Belgian Abbey @ Wedge — (photo above) Very cool hang out spot in south Asheville. Free peanuts, cornhole, and lots of people watching. The Altbier was solid but unremarkable; the Abbey was a stand-out beer.
- Catawba Valley Brown Bear Ale and Crispin Cider @ Jack of the Wood — By 7pm on Saturday night they were out of several draft beers including the two pumpkin ales that looked interesting. The remaining selection was heavily geared toward hoppy West coast-style beers.
- 2 oz tasters of Oktoberfest, Solstice (tripel), Porter and Pumpkin @ Pisgah — We stopped here quick on our way out of town and were not disappointed (photo below).
A French bistro with tasty food and reasonable prices. Eric couldn’t pass up the croque monsieur with frites, and though the white bread was a bit strange, the sandwich overall was very tasty, especially with the non-traditional smoked bacon suggested by the waiter. Leandra choose the moule frites. The beer and local mustard broth was tasty but the serving size of the broth was a bit skimpy. The waiter actually suggested taking all the mussels out of the shells first and letting them sit in the bottom. Say what? The fries were especially good with a sprinkling of herbs de provence and served with roasted red pepper aioli. We would definitely return.
We met some friends for dinner around 7pm on Saturday evening and luckily arrived just as a table was leaving. After being told that a few of their beers were already out, we managed to find two that weren’t crazy-hoppy. Leandra’s bison burger was cooked well although the accompanying house-made BBQ chips were just okay. Eric ordered the short rib sandwich special and we found out later that he snagged the last one. Running out of a special at 7:15pm on a Saturday? Frankly, they just seemed unprepared for the volume they were serving that weekend – I guess that’s what a peak color weekend can do in the mountains.
After Jack of the Wood we headed over to French Broad Chocolates, much like everyone else in Asheville. The line was to the door for ordering which made us a bit nervous about tables. Thankfully finding a table was not a problem. Ordering was a slow process, in part because you couldn’t see the full range of available options until you were at the counter. There seemed to be only one printed menu that was passed through the line. It was also rather strange that you received some items at the counter, and others were delivered to you. As an ardent admirer of chocolate chip cookies, Eric disagreed with the claim of the “perfect chocolate chip cookie” finding it lacked several qualities (chewiness, browning, flavor) needed in a good chocolate chip cookie, much less a perfect one. Leandra’s chocolate-dipped ginger cookie was good but not quite as gingery as expected. Our friends ordered the hot chocolates and those seemed to be very nice.
Due to its location just three blocks from our hotel we decided to have breakfast here our first morning. Arriving 30 seconds too late we saw the last seats go to the couple in front of us and ended up waiting about 20 minutes for a table… but we did score the table on the window! Eric tried the croissant egg sandwich and Leandra had the (trout) lox and bagel, both good and filling for a day of hiking.
In fact, it was good enough (and open early enough) to go back to on Sunday morning. This time we got one of the last seats! Eric ordered the stuffed french toast- delicious, though the apple stuffing was rather bland and skippable. Leandra tried the mexican breakfast plate with corn tortillas, chorizo (the real stuff, not the soysage veggie version!), scrambled eggs, black beans and avocado.
We managed to try this restaurant on our third attempt — they were completely booked for Saturday evening, and their Sunday brunch started too late for us. However, on our way home Sunday afternoon we stopped for a snack and were glad that we did. We split patatas bravas and a bocadillo serrano, with Eric trying their unique rosemary lemonade (it was good!) and Leandra trying a glass of rose. Next time we head to Asheville we’ll make a reservation a few days before for Curate.