A long weekend in Asheville: Days 2-3

SO.  When we left off (you know, like a year ago), we were just leaving the Frog Level Brewing Co on a trip to we took with friends to Ashevile, NC that occured almost two years ago.  Don’t remember (because, why would you)?   Let me refresh your memory:

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We had spent the morning hiking and ended up at Frog Level to hydrate and grab some snacks.  We decided that we wanted to be able to enjoy more than one beer and we had about a 30 min drive ahead of us, so we went back to the apartment.  We had a pretty exciting activity set up for the night:

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Drunk bike rides!  I’m sure you are familiar with the setup, I’ve seen similar activities in a lot of different cities (on our recent trip to Budapest we even spotted a bachelor party wearing tighty whities having a brisk ride around town).  The premise is that you bring your own beer on board and ride around for about an hour and a half.  For anyone that was worried about physical exertion like I was, the bike has a small motor and is not actually dependent on your pedaling.  The driver was funny and we had a good crew on our ride.  We used Amazing Pubcycle and it looks like they’ve changed their tours up a little bit.  Now they offer a 1.5 hr ride with stops at a few bars or a 40 minute Nomad tour.  Either sounds fun, but the one we did had no stops.

After our ride we decided to track down some dinner.  We heard a lot of good things about Tupelo Honey Cafe, but they had a ridiculous wait time (seems to be the norm, we have one in Greenville and it’s ALWAYS packed).  We walked around a bit more and happened upon Mayfel’s.  We looked it up, it had good reviews and a more reasonable wait time, so we got in our best Mardi Gras mindset and Cajun’ed it up.

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Our waitress recommended peel n eat shrimp, so we got that as an appetizer.  It was good, but didn’t really stand out from any ol’ peel n eat shrimp?  We also enjoyed some Seafood Etouffe, Gumbo, and Meatloaf, among other things.

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All of our main entrees were great, but the dessert was probably the best part.  Beignets!  P.S. I’ve tried to make beignets before from a mix someone brought us back from New Orleans and they were so flat.  These were 1,000,000x better, unsurprisingly.  Very soft and fluffy.

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After dinner, we continued to chip away at the population of Asheville breweries.  Our first stop of the night was Funkatorium.  This is Wicked Weed’s brewery and taproom that is dedicated to sour beers.  Which, as it turns out, I was the only one in our little quartet that likes sour beers.  So, I loved it.  Everyone else tolerated it.  We decided to split a flight rather than get individual drinks and I think I ended up finishing them all after everyone had a sample.  You certainly have to like sour beers to enjoy but it’s so unique and a cute space so I think it’s worth a stop!

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Our last stop of the night was Hi-wire Brewing.  This place was pretty packed and had some sort of live music going on.  I was impressed with their diverse selection of beers and had a hard time narrowing it down.  We sat at the bar and enjoyed a few beers before calling it a night.

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We started off our final full day much like we started our first full day.  Exactly like it, in fact, with a plate full o’ biscuit.  I went with the Chicken Mimosa biscuit this time and a side of fried chicken gravy.  All delicious again of course.

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After breakfast we drove to the Biltmore with plans to see the estate all dolled up in holiday splendor.  We drove all the way there, stood in line, and were told that tickets were $75 PER PERSON to walk around this giant house.  A bit steep, no?  Ultimately we decided that we weren’t willing to invest several hundred dollars into this high fallutin’ endeavor and went back to what we do best, beer.

We went to Sierra Nevada for lunch, we couldn’t get all of the food that we saw the other day out of our heads.  We inquired about a tour but they were booked up for the next few weeks (??), apparently this is the sort of thing that you need to do arrange in advance.  After two failed attempts at activities, we decided to just accept what the universe was telling us and just sit/eat/drink some more.  At this point in the trip my body was completely rebelling against all of the rich and fattening food and demanded some vegetables and roughage (ifyaknowhatimean).

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We each did a beer flight and I got the seasonal salad (which was some combo of arugula, chickpeas, roasted red pepper and a vinaigrette).   The food at Sierra Nevada is almost all small plate/shareable type dishes with a focus on local ingredients.  The menu changes often and everything we tried was fantastic!  Nick and I have been back on a few occasions and have always been impressed with what we’ve tried.asheville73

While we were out and about we decided to visit another brewery outside of town, Oskar Blues.  This place was about as different from Sierra Nevada as you can get.  No grand entrance, no fancy hipster menu.  Just a warehouse, some beer, and games.  My favorites from here were their IPA Pinner Throwback IPA, and their pilsner Mama’s Little Yella Pils.

We enjoyed several challenging games of Jenga (Nick’s first move was always to remove the bottom two sides so the whole tower was balancing on ONE block) before heading back to Asheville proper.

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Once we were back at our apartment we decided to stay close by and enjoy a few West Asheville establishments (besides Biscuithead).  Things were a tad fuzzy at this point so I don’t exactly remember where we went for dinner.  I do know that we went to Pour Taproom, which was such a cool place.  Rather than serving beers by the pint, you get a wrist band and they have like 30+ taps set up.  You scan your wristband and pour as much as any beer (or cider, or wine) that you want and just pay by the oz at the end.  I was able to enjoy more sour beer here and have this lovely, blurry, pic to commemorate the event.

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They also had a lot of games in the basement (including pool and GIANT SIZED Jenga) that we enjoyed until we went home and concluded our Asheville trip.

Overall this was a great trip with great friends, we loved staying in West Asheville and found it to be a great cheaper alternative to downtown Asheville.  I don’t think I had a bad beer or meal the entire time we were here and can’t wait to go back!

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