There are two ways you can pedal up Town Mountain, a small ridgeline that rises from the edge of downtown Asheville. You can make your way up the steep side, or you can pedal up the super steep side. Either way, you’re gonna sweat, and you’re gonna climb about 1,000 vertical feet before it’s all over. From my house, it takes a little less than 30 minutes to reach the top via the super steep route. It’s about three miles door to peak, half of that is flat through traffic, half is straight up through a neighborhood of modern ‘60s style ranches that hang over the mountain overlooking downtown. In a good week, I’ll get to knock out that climb at least twice, so I know a thing or two about the route. I know there’s a water tower at the peak of the mountain next to the Governor’s Western Residence that makes for the perfect spot to crack a beer. I know that the super steep route gets progressively steeper. I know there’s a false summit before the actual top. I know you can bomb from the water tower into downtown in 4.2 minutes…
Every once in a while, we’ll do laps on Town Mountain during our weekly group ride, and every once in a while the stars will align and that group ride will coincide with Thirsty Thursday, that beautiful day when the Asheville Tourists (a single A minor league team) are playing a home game, and beers are only $1. Games start at 7pm, which means there’s just enough time to do a fast 1.5-hour road ride between work and the National Anthem.
The thing about baseball games these days, is the beer is actually good. Macro beer no longer has a monopoly on stadium concessions. You can get Sweetwater at a Braves game. In Richmond, Virginia, Center of the Universe Brewing even brews a lager specifically for their local ball club called “Chin Music.” And in Asheville, Oskar Blues dominates the stadium. On Thirsty Thursdays, you can get a Bud Light for a $1, or you can get something from Oskar Blues for $2. It’s a no brainer. I sat in my bike chamois on the third base line drinking several Pinner Throwbacks, a session IPA with plenty of fruity citrus character and just barely enough biscuity malt to hold it all together. The best part? It’s just 4.9%, which makes it the perfect baseball beer.
One thing you should know about these session beers, is they’ll sneak up on you. If you drink enough of them, like say, one per inning for several innings, and you will have a hard time riding your bike home. Even if the ABV is sub 5%, it all adds up. Math is like that. Unavoidable.