If I had to pick three words to sum up Asheville they would be: beer, mountains, and art in that order. So obviously it was a town that we were made for. A lot of the food and drink spots we went to were found on the Asheville subreddit, one of the most informative city subreddits I came across while planning the trip.
We had a gorgeous drive into Asheville proper and made a beeline for Luella's barbecue. My goodness gracious, it was excellent. Sam got a pulled chicken sandwich with garlic green beans. I had local pulled pork with red beans and rice. Both came with the best hush puppies I've ever had (Sam's not cornbread guy, but couldn't deny their worth in gold). Despite the fact that it was 2 PM we had to have beers because hey, it's Asheville! Did I mention that most full price pints in Asheville are about $4.25? Compare that to the $6 for a beer in Brooklyn and you can understand why we were pleased as punch to pay. After we were done we decided to stick around for one more beer and by 4 we were getting sleepy.
We headed into downtown Asheville and parked right across from our crash pad in the Sweet Peas Hostel. Even though it was a hostel they had a few rooms with a double bed, sink, and a door. The price of two bunks in a dorm was only $5 less so a room was a perfect solution for us. And then we napped because we had full bellies and a few beers.
That night we were on a mission to hear live music and looked over a list of options in the hostel lobby. 5 Walnut wine bar was just 2 blocks away and the John Henry's were playing ragtime so we hopped over and saw a crowd gathered outside of the wine bar's open cafe windows. Inside was packed (it was a Tuesday!) but we jammed in, grabbed two beers, and turned our ears to the music. This one was actually dedicated to some friends of the band who found a way to dance beautifully in the crowded bar.
The crowd in 5 Walnut was split between baby boomers and millennials, which was kind of a relief because we had definitely been the oldest patrons at Luella's and a lot of the people we saw out and about up until then had been in their early 20s.
Soon we were hungry and wandered around downtown until we came to the Thirsty Monk. We noticed that not only was it taco Tuesday (discounts on their awesome tacos) but they also had $1 off every pint they served. So we ate, sipped and sat on a bench out front to people watch.
Our last stop for the night was a rugged tiki bar called Asheville Yacht Club. We had to sign in as "members" which has something to do with old laws on the books about bars not being allowed to sell liquor (private clubs with membership can, hence the sign-in). They had ridiculously cheap and amazing beer specials as well but we only had the energy and budget for one round before walking back to Sweet Peas around midnight.
The next morning we grabbed breakfast at the Early Girl Eatery, which is also recommended. Sam had strawberry sunflower seed pancakes. I had poached eggs on grit cakes with spinach and an amazing tomato salsa. Who said they don't have enough veggies in the south!
We walked around to explore downtown Asheville some more and every few blocks came across some really gorgeous street art.
I was particularly drawn to this poem written on a mural. The colors, the illustration style, the content of the poem, and definitely the type.
The heat was kicking in so we hopped into a coffee shop inside of a double decker bus. Of course we had to go to the top floor for an impromptu "photo shoot". Here we are looking quite relaxed and photogenic.
As we walked with our coffee we came across a large church (the Basilica of St. Lawrence) and decided to go in. I wish we had taken pictures of the inside but it didn't feel appropriate. As we admired the domed ceiling I thought about an architecture book my mom has that features the mason work of a very popular architect's firm in the early 20th century. The mystery architect had also done brickwork in Grand Central and a few NYC subway stations. Of course I couldn't remember the name. We decided to look at two altars in the wings before heading out and as we turned to leave I saw tiles on a side door that said "1908, Gustavino". It was the architect from my mom's book! He actually had created this basilica! I was desperate to get a post card to send my mom, but the gift shop was closed. So a pamphlet would have to do. Sorry Mom!
Our last stop for the afternoon was to a little shop to indulge Sam in his fetish. Everyone knows that Germans are into some really crazy fetishes and Sam is no different. But being the GGG wife I am, I told him we should just go in to the store to check it out.
Don't worry, kids! We keep it PG most of the time on this blog. So the Chocolate Fetish is an amazing chocolate shop. We got to sample a truffle they called "The star of India" that was dusted in curry powder. Wow! It was really special. So we decided to splurge on a box, much to Sam's intense glee.
That night it was more craft beers, tasty food, chats with strangers (good and bad), and this lovely old time music jam at Jack of the Woods pub.
Random Statistics from Asheville (mostly beer related):
Number of new beers we tried: Twenty-two
Cheapest pint: $2.50 Highland Gaelic Ale at Asheville Yacht Club
Favorite pint: Oskar Blues Yella Pils
Weirdest pint: Lexington Ave Brewery Buck Mild Ale