Asheville, NC: Toasting Five Favorite Bars

We recently headed to Asheville, N.C. to visit the Biltmore Estate and celebrate David’s graduation from law school. We’ve long had a bucket list of Southern cities we need to check out, and Asheville’s been on it since the first year we lived here. Everyone hyped up its casual, laid-back vibe and the excellent beer scene (According to Explore Asheville, it boasts more breweries per capita than any U.S. city—roughly one brewery per 8,000 people!). So of course as soon as we finished the Biltmore tour, we headed to downtown for an impromptu bar crawl, based on suggestions from friends and locals alike. Here’s the rundown on our five favorites: 

Wicked Weed:
“Hops are a wicked and pernicious weed” -Henry VI. Good ol’ King Hank banned hops back in the day, so the good folks at Wicked Weed are taking the best kind of revenge: brewing delicious, delicious beer. I tried their Saison XXXI—it was a little bitter, but full of flavor. Not surprisingly, their hoppiest beers were the ones we liked best.


Barley’s Taproom:
All of the bars we visited in Asheville had great outdoor spaces—patios, rooftops, porches. Barley’s had neat little bars set up on the sidewalk, so you could sit along the street and do a bunch of people-watching. Their vibe was a little sportier, but they had a wide array of local brews and some mean garlic knots. I tried Highland Brewing Company‘s Gaelic Ale—so refreshing!


Thirsty Monk:
Everyone we talked to absolutely raved about Thirsty Monk, so it was a sure addition to our crawl itinerary. Tuesdays are Taco Tuesday, so we started with some absolutely killer tacos, and followed up with selections from their impressive Belgian beer list. The Ommegang Three Philosophers was probably the best beer I’ve had all year.


Towards the end of the night, we headed towards LaB, which we’d seen on our way back from dinner the night before (at Brasilia Churrasco Steakhouse—great food, great service). LaB had a sweet front porch area, and their Honey Wheat was an excellent way to finish out a long night of beer tastings.


The Yacht Club:
Turns out some weren’t as ready to tap out as I was, so we really finished at The Yacht Club, right across from Thirsty Monk. It cost $1 to join the club, which had a groovy tiki-bar meets biker-bar kind of atmosphere. They snagged another beer, but I ordered a pitcher of tater tots, which, surprise surprise, was an actual beer pitcher of tots.


Of course this is just a sampling. Got other places you recommend? Leave a note in the comments!

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