Were you to call me a happy camper today, I might just punch you in the nose. I am not in a good mood, and to be quite frank, I am more than okay with that. I am annoyed, aggravated, and more than just a bit pissed off. If you know what’s best for you world, you will keep your distance.
So what has my feathers in a ruff? Simply put….I NEED TO BREW BEER. I am in the throws of some serious brewing withdrawal. I am like a brewing junky, and I NEED a fix! I want to brew it now. But I can’t. Once again, stupid work is in the way. Nope, I have to wait until Friday night. Normally, this wait would be more bearable, but I didn’t get to brew last weekend either because I had to go to a stupid wedding.
(Disclaimer: If any of my family members happen across this post, please take this post with a grain of salt. You know me. I’m sarcastic. It’s how I roll.)
Don’t get me wrong, the wedding itself was not a bad thing. It was my sister’s wedding, and I wish her and her betrothed nothing but the best. I just wish she would have taken my beer brewing addiction into consideration first.
Is that too much to ask? This is seriously epic stuff we’re working on here. I think it deserves much more respect than to be interrupted by some run of the mill wedding.
Yes, sis, it’s great that you got married, but couldn’t you have opted for a better day for the ceremony, reception, and rehearsal. Maybe a Wednesday perhaps? Seriously, weekend weddings are so overdone. They are beyond played out.
Sadly, my sister just isn’t the vanguard that I wish that she were. So instead of spending last Friday fine tuning recipes, mashing grain and boiling sweet wort, I was tied up with family affairs.
On the plus side, the wedding took place near Asheville, NC…the craft beer capital of the south. So I was able to take in quite a few adult beverages that are unavailable in the Midwest. And some fine brews they were.
I wish I could report on all the beers that I sampled, but I am a notoriously crappy note taker. I will say though, that as a whole, North Carolina brewing did not disappoint.
Asheville is an amazing city, and is probably one of my favorite destinations in the United States. It is a vibrant locale, and offers a great blend of culture and wilderness. It’s part hippy and part redneck, but not so much of either to scare the average visitor away. It’s artsy but still down to earth. It is a mecca for eclecticism.
Nestled in the mountains, Asheville is surrounded by mind-meltingly awesome drives, hikes and vistas. As such, opportunities to connect with Mother Nature are plentiful. I highly recommend a drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway to Craggy Mountain and hiking up to its pinnacle. The view is spectacular!
If you are a disc golfer, like me, you simply must play Richmond Hill where even your errant shots look beautiful against the mountain and forest landscape.
Back to the important stuff though. The beer flows through Asheville like a waterfall. With a dozen or so breweries in a relatively small geographic area, it has more beer production per-capita than anywhere else in the country (or so I think I heard from someone). I would have loved to try them all, but I only had so much free time and my pregnant wife only had so much patience to sit and watch me drink beer.
That said though, we were able to make two stops that deserve some special attention.
The first of these said visits was to a the French Broad Brewery. We swung by their tasting room and brewhouse on a Monday afternoon. It wasn’t easy to find, as it is located in little more than just a warehouse. We actually drove by it twice, before I caught the gleam of their fermenters through an open garage door. Inside their tasting room was small, but inviting. From our table, we were able to watch the brewers at work, which I really enjoyed. The wife was not as amused by this as I was. Instead, she just wanted to know why Regular Guy Brewing didn’t have a disco ball yet. A fairer question has never before been asked.
I ordered a flight, and while they only had four of their six beers available for sampling, it was a delightful zymurgological tour nonetheless. As I sat there enjoying my samplings, I was struck by the fact that this was the future of Regular Guy Brewing. This location, this brewery, is what we could be in just a few years time. While we haven’t written anything up yet, If I had to venture a guess, I would say that this would likely be something like phase 3. Still a way’s down the road, but it was great to catch a true glimpse of something that we very well could become.
From French Broad, we made our way to downtown Asheville for a visit to Lexington Avenue Brewing. LAB, was a great stop. We had walked past it a few nights earlier while on our way to the rehearsal dinner at Mellow Mushroom (a great southern pizza chain with many fine local and craft brews on tap), and it was quite the hopping place on a Friday night. Monday afternoon though, not so much.
Personally, I didn’t mind the quiet. It gave me the chance to talk a bit to the bartender, and check out the place a bit. The key feature of LAB was the serpentine bar which wrapped around their brewing operation. I ordered my second flight of the day, and was impressed by almost all (sorry Raspberry Porter, you just didn’t cut it for me) the samplings.
The wife and I split an order of nachos (which were brilliantly delicious) and I took in what was probably one of the coolest bars/brew-pubs I had ever been in. I loved the place. Loved, loved, loved it. I can’t wait to go back to Asheville, just to go to LAB again.
Once again though, I was struck by the fact that this too could be the future of Regular Guy Brewing. While it might be really far down the line, say phase 12 or somewhere in that vicinity, there is a possibility that this could one day be us.
Both of these brewery visits were inspiring and motivating in their own unique ways. They were each a revelation. Each a call to action. But at the same time, they were both kind of a tease.
I want this, but I can’t have it…yet.
Instead, here I am. Back at work. I want to brew…but I can’t. I have to wait until Friday night. It kind of sucks.
These visits, as wonderful as they were in their respective moments, have resulted in some serious (albeit most likely short-term) damage to my soul and psyche. I find that these glimpses of the potential future of Regular Guy Brewing have very much thrown the reality of our present into a very harsh contrast.
I can see now, as clear as day, what Regular Guy Brewing can be. It’s a sight that is as splendorous as any mountain vista, but it hurts me inside that I can’t have it yet. I want it…sooooooo bad. I want to cast these shackles of office life aside, and climb to the metaphorical peak of that beautiful beer mountain and soak in the grandeur. I will not rest until this climb is…well, um…climbed.
More than ever, I am convinced that this is the life for me. I want to brew beer. I NEED TO BREW BEER.
Some might call it an addiction.
I say nay. This is a vocation. Bring it on.