As I mentioned last week, Miles and I went to Asheville recently. We met in the mountains when we were at Western Carolina University and lived up there for four years, so the mountains are a place we love to return to. We realized we hadn’t been to the mountains in over a year, so we decided it was time to rectify that.
We stayed with my aunt and uncle that live in the area and had a great time with them. We laughed a lot, which is hard not to do in both of our families. We went to a few places we hadn’t been before. We didn’t get to do as much as we hoped–we hoped to make it to more outdoor places than walking around downtown, but it was raining and cloudy the weekend we were there. We wound up making it through lunch before the rain began in earnest. We didn’t focus a lot on going to any particular places (other than Highland Brewing) and didn’t go brewery hopping or anything. This was a really relaxed trip with no expectations. It was great.
- When we got into town, we met my aunt and uncle at Highland Brewing. This brewery is almost like a visit to the homeland for us. When we lived in the mountains, Highland Brewing was among the first craft beer we had (along with Heinzelmannchen, may it rest in peace), so we frequently credit it with getting us into the craft beer scene. I had been to Highland before, but Miles hadn’t, so we had to go check it out. Let me just say that was the best brewery tour I’ve ever had. I had no idea there were different strains of yeast that create different styles and work at different temperatures. It was informative and fascinating. Plus, when the tour was over (45 minutes long), there was an awesome band playing. Highland has managed to cover all the bases with food trucks, beers, community involvement, and utilizing space. I could have stayed there all weekend, but we didn’t go back. We’ll go back another time.
- We walked around and found a few shops in downtown the next day. We had lunch at Farm Burger, which I didn’t realize is a chain or franchise or something. Either way, it was delicious and they had a great selection of beers on tap, not that we drank here. We’ll definitely go back there for the food, though.
- Right beside of Farm Burger was an alley . The alley claimed there was a brewery down it. We found it. It was like walking into a speakeasy, but we wound up going down a flight or two of stairs into a basement and found ourselves in One World Brewing. I loved the ambience in this place. A lot of the beers were IPAs and hoppy styles, though, so I struggled to find something I really enjoyed. Miles was very happy, though. He loves IPAs and the like. There was a Black Wolf Smoked Stout that I had, though. I enjoyed it and could stick to just drinking that if I went there. The beers were great–don’t get me wrong! I’ll go back. IPAs and DIPAs and the like just remain my enemy, despite how much I’d like to like them.
- We decided to go to a cigar bar after we left the brewery. Miles found some good cigars at Carolina Cigar Company that he eventually enjoyed, but we decided to go somewhere he could smoke a cigar and we could have a drink and still be inside. That’s how we wound up at Casablanca Cigar Bar. Y’all. If we lived in Asheville, we’d be in trouble. It was clean, modern, and had three units to keep the smokiness in the air down. The bartender had great suggestions that were right on the nose each time and the people were really friendly. We enjoy the places we go to here, but this was on a whole ‘nother level. The bourbon and whisky selection was fantastic. I had a pour of Old Forester Statesman (Old Forester hasn’t treated me wrong yet) and, at the suggestion of the bartender, Pikesville Rye. I don’t like rye bourbons just yet, but this one was excellent. Miles had two different scotches–Glenfiddich 14 and maybe a Laphroig. It was a relaxed, chill bar. It was just what we were looking for on this trip.
- The next day, we went to Papa’s and Beer. Because we can’t go up to Asheville and not go to Papa’s and Beer. This is a Mexican restaurant we used to always go to when we visited Asheville while we lived up there. It’s cheap, delicious, and they have this bean dip they send out instead of salsa that’s addictive. Seriously. So good.
We have a list going of stuff to do the next time we go up. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to spend an extended weekend or something up there during the summer so we can get some good weather, meet up with some friends, and spend some time outside. We’ll see! The list of places to visit is always growing.
(Picture taken by me as we walked down the alley to the One World Brewing entrance.)