One of my favorite parts of travel and vacation is the opportunity to check out breweries. Sure, the brewery tours and equipment is super cool, but the best part is the chance to taste things found nowhere else but right there in the tasting room. Often times, a brewery only distributes its most popular offerings, but it’s the test batches, one-offs and the specialties that I love the most.
I recently visited one of the the most popular beer places in the country Asheville, N.C. Not only have my friends recommended Asheville as a place to visit for beer, but it has also been named Beer City, USA in online polls.
Out of all the breweries that were recommended, I decided that I would focus on a brewery right in downtown Asheville called Wicked Weed. Wicked Weed has what I found to be an incredible brewery, and it has a killer food menu, too.
It was jam-packed with beer nerds like me, but also had a large turnout of families who were enjoying lunch on the patio. The tasting room and brewery was downstairs. The room is open to the outside but it smelled of a fresh brew day.
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Wicked Weed had just done a collaboration brew with Holy City Brewing of Charleston. I hope that beer comes our way as I’m a fan of Holy City brewing, and I am now a fan of Wicked Weed.
With more than 20 brews on tap in the tasting room, I had to be choosey. Of course the one that jumped out the most was called “Pick me! Pale” and I had to oblige since it was obviously solving the choosing problem. I was so glad I did pick it because it smelled of heavenly pine and tasted of dry citrus with lingering, almost saison-like yeast flavor.
I decided to move on the heavy hop hitter and went for the Double IPA called “Freak of Nature.” It was absolutely true to name and tasted so much like sipping on cotton candy and pine, two of my favorite flavors that only a few certain hops produce. The rest of the brews from Wicked Weed were equally as well-made and the words “on point” came to mind as I thought about thanking my friend who said this brewery should be my No. 1 stop.
Wicked Weed also has a location set aside from their main location that specializes in special aging processes for their beers called The Funkatorium. This place is a sour and wild ale lover’s paradise. I am lover of sour beers so stopping here was a must. With names like “Oblivion” and “Bless Her Heart,” I knew each one of these beers had true personality.
Being born and raised in Myrtle Beach, I went with “Bless Her Heart” first. This was tart and almost peach-like and was simply delicious. I next noticed the beer called “Amorous” and fell in love the moment I smelled the slightly floral, pixie-stick and wine aroma. It had a taste of several citrus hops and the dry sweetness and finish of a red wine with no bitterness. It was such a wonderful experience that I’m already planning my next trip.
I want to visit places like Asheville and other breweries because I constantly want to try something new in the beer world. They each have their own personality and they all do something differently. Asheville has 40-plus craft breweries and brew-pubs just in their town, and they are growing.
While Asheville has many breweries tightly packed together, South Carolina is more widespread. We now have 20-plus breweries in the state, and quite a few more brew-pubs. We have new places popping up all the time and it’s only going to keep growing as more and more people begin to experience craft beer. There’s always going to be something new and exciting just around the corner.
Leaving Asheville to travel home to Myrtle Beach, I decided that a stop-off in Spartanburg was in order, seeing as it was home of a brewery I’ve recently written about, RJ Rockers.
Along with checking out the really awesome set up of their brewery, they had some pretty stellar things on tap. Among the unique, there was Brew-Tang, a witbier that was heavily dosed with blood oranges. This beer was significantly citrusy and had the backbone and body of a wit that was lemony and clean.
Last, I tried the Chocolate Cherry which was a variation of their Good Boy Stout. For a minute I thought I was indulging in a spoonful of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Ice cream. The Chocolate Cherry stout was extremely drinkable, indulgent and another fine testament to great breweries of South Carolina.