Bruisin’ Ales: A Place for Beer People

You folks like Third Eye Blind? I love Third Eye Blind. And the lyrics from one of their songs, “Misfits”, always fill my heart with joy.

My people are the misfits
The ones that don’t fit in
With the smile I know it comes within
I can feel you in the corners laughing when the lighting’s low.

This song speaks of that feeling you get, that warmth that glows and grows inside of you when you’re surrounded by a community of people that, while unlike many, are so like you that it just fits.

That’s how I feel about Beer People, and that’s how I felt at Bruisin’ Ales in Asheville, NC this weekend.

Put up your dukes!

In the Triangle, there’s Sam’s Quik Shop in Durham, Bottle Revolution and Tasty Beverage Co. in Raleigh, and TJ’s Beverage & Tobacco  in Carrboro. But I wasn’t in the Triangle, I was in Asheville, and after a day of shopping in the Biltmore Village, I needed less artisanal soaps and more craft suds of the boozy nature. Bruisin’ Ales delivered on that, and so much more.

Tasty Asheville beers!

There’s was a special treat waiting behind the bar, though, as Sierra Nevada’s Head Brewer Terrence Sullivan and Harry Wannemacher, NC Brand Rep/Distributor Extraordinaire, were in town serving up some tasting action of Sierra Nevada’s beers as well as their newest collaboration Abbey Ales.

So many options!!

I even convinced my beer-hating mom to try Sierra Nevada’s flagship Pale Ale (though after that, she booked it for more shopping.)

(Thanks to a less than professional photographer, you can't see too much of us.)

After she left, though, that’s when the recognition of my fellow Beer People came into play. I love to be surrounded by folks who get as fired up over things like Collaboration Ales and Randalization as I do. Bruisin’ Ales was chock full of them. I watched one man fill up two baskets with different beers, dropping over $150 on craft beer. He mentioned he stopped by every time he drove through Asheville, and lived about 800 miles away!  Other folks were scanning through the aisles, trying to find that elusive rare brew that they knew they could only find on one of Bruisin’ Ales’ numerous shelves.

I spent most of my time by the tasting, chatting up the fellows of Sierra Nevada. We swapped stories of our first sip of a sour ale, I explained the glory of Girls’ Pint Out to them, and they were more than impressed with the tale of Fullsteam’s Sean Wilson chugging a 4-year old Miller Chill (by “impressed”, I think I mean disgusted. To-may-toe, to-mah-toe.)

Harry and Terrence called this a Jordan Sandwich

The beers were delicious (my favorite was probably the rich, dark Ovila Quad), but the company was even more delightful. I laughed with strangers, I toasted the possibility of Sierra Nevada setting up an East coast Headquarters in Asheville (YAY!! NC is Beer Country, baby!) and relished in my new-found Beer People buddies.

I love the vibe of Bruisin’ Ales. I love the fact that you can get a beer to drink while you shop the store, and I love their festive decorations.

Merry merry

If you’re in the Asheville area and you’re a fellow Beer Person, get yourself to Bruisin’ Ales.

And if you’re Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, get yourself to Asheville, NC.

And if you’re a jolly monk, get yourself to my apartment, because we complement each other quite nicely.

Monks of a feather flock together.

Who are your “beer people”?




Six Pack Sunday: Asheville Eats!

Asheville: It’s a hell of a town.

Even though I was there for less than 24 hours (whoah, didn’t even realize that until now), I certainly didn’t go wanting for food during any of those hours.  My mother flew in on Friday night and, after whipping up a DELECTABLE cream cheese dip which we nibbled on and enjoying several cocktails, we hit the hay hard with alarms set for 7:30 am.

We drove across North Carolina in a few hours, and before I knew it, we were in the mountain hippy HQ, Asheville!

Quality State, that North Carolina

And while I’ll write more about the trip later, I figured a PERFECT Six Pack Sunday would be on the fantastic foods I enjoyed during my stay.

1. Corner Oak Chocolate

Mmm mm good.

Upon arrival at the Corner Oak Manor, our B&B for the weekend, we were welcomed with my FAVORITE of the Ghiradelli chocolate squares.

It was a perfect, pepperminty way to be welcomed to town.

2. Reuben Romance

Oh, it is love.

This photo truly doesn’t do the Turkey Reuben from Julian’s Gourmet Sandwiches in the Biltmore Village.  The hot turkey, the 1000 Island Dressing, the marble rye…. it was a dream come true. AND, in a true game changer, I actually liked the (not-so) sauerkraut. Our first meal in Asheville was served with Kettle cooked potato chips, and fueled massive amounts of shopping.

Wait, this one might do it justice.

Much better, good to the last bite.

3. Pretzel Pairing

Match made in heaven

So it’s not like I didn’t know this before, but something about pretzels and beers together just make both taste exponentially better.

My first trip to the legendary Bruisin Ales was timed right, apparently, as there was a tasting of Sierra Nevada beers.  Word on the street is that the West Coast brewery’s looking to set up shop on the East.  Well, I personally think that Asheville’s got Sierra Nevada written all over it.  Just saying….

4. Olive & Kickin’ (Get it?)

EVOO bar?! Yes, PLEASE!

Ok, after looking at that picture, I want you to read the description of my new favorite store concept.

Olive & Kickin’ sources the freshest extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars from hand selected growers.  They are held in the store in stainless steel containers called Fusties that allow you to sample the individual flavors of each prior to buying them.

So basically it’s a store that sells Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. And you can sample all of it. Chipotle EVOO? Garlic EVOO? Cranberry Pear Balsamic?

I wanted to gargle with it.

The women who run the shop, Karen and Vic, are nice as nice can be, and we could hardly control ourselves as we sipped gourmet oils and b.v. If you go to Asheville, do NOT miss this shop!!

5. Shrimp and Grits that Just Won’t QUIT!

Creamy, spicy, decadent, delightful

Tupelo Honey Cafe.

Recommended by more people than any one spot in Asheville, this establishment lived up to the hype.  Described by the restaurant:

Brian’s Shrimp and Grits » When your chef puts his name on a dish, he has to be pretty proud of it. Such it is with our shrimp and grits – seven large delectable shrimp served over Goat Cheese Grits and anointed with a spicy roasted red pepper sauce

It couldn’t get any better. The creaminess of goat cheese lent itself so well to the grits, and the shrimp, plump and fresh, were spicy in that way that demands you keep eating it.  Don’t worry, I did. I virtually licked my bowl at the end, and that last bite was like saying farewell to a best friend.

A best friend that you’re about to digest.

6. Putting the Breakfast in B&B

From Karen's Kitchen!

Corner Oak Manor was actually the first B&B I’ve ever been to, and I loved the Breakfast B just a little more than the Bed B. Creamy eggs with spinach, tomatoes, and feta served with fresh fruit and pepper bacon was a great way to fuel the long trip back to Durham.

It was a most delicious weekend, and rest assured, I’ll write more about the trip later. Now I’m off to digest and (hopefully) finish my applications.

Asheville, I’ll be back, I promise. And I’ll definitely come hungry.