ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
A cool mix of hippies, rastas, hillbillies, and mod rednecks make up the diverse populace of rustic western Carolina town, Asheville. On August ’08 journey, I became awestruck by the bohemian tree-strewn village’s extensive brewpub-microbrew scene.
First stop, FRENCH BROAD BREWERY, located close to impressive Biltmore Estate in railroad-bound commercial zone nearing Asheville’s yuppie southside, may be Carolina’s best microbrewery. Its warehouse tasting room featured small bar, tables, left side tanks, and small stage area (with ‘lagering disco ball’).
Alongside brewer, Drew Barton, enjoyed sun-dried fig-fronted peat-malted wood-toned black cherry-daubed Altbier, sweet corn-malted spice-hopped lemon-threaded wheat-dried Re-Session Cream Ale (labeled ‘economic stimulus beer’), and dryly citric mineral-grained Berliner Weisse. The latter German-styled lager was also offered with syrup options: lemon, lime, woodruff, and pomegranate. I chose raspberry syrup, which gave Berliner Weisse a sour-candied appeal, layering bittersweet raspberry above tertiary bruised lemon and distant banana.
Reviews for French Broad’s growing bottled-kegged selections (Wee Heavy-er; Wee Heavy-est; Dunkel-Witte; 13 Rebels ESB; Irish Stout) are listed in Beer Index.