The other day I spent 20 minutes in the car behind two big tractor-trailers carrying brand new brewing tanks to New Belgium that’s being built in Asheville. It’s the only time I’ve ever been excited to sit in traffic. It’s difficult to express my feelings about New Belgium’s impending brewery. Giddy, excited, emotionally erect…all of these words are accurate, but they don’t do my feelings justice.
And it’s not just New Belgium that I’m excited about. Catawba Brewing just opened a swanky new taproom in downtown Asheville. Wicked Weed started building their production facility on the outskirts of town. Sierra Nevada just opened their taproom and restaurant, which, by all accounts, is plated entirely in gold and everlasting rose pedals.
Craft beer is booming all over the country, but there’s so much happening in Asheville, North Carolina on a variety of different scales, that it’s easy to think we’re living at Ground Zero during the Golden Age of Craft Beer. I can walk out my door and hit a dozen breweries within two miles. If you find yourself in Asheville, you can paddle a mellow stretch of the French Broad and hit half a dozen different breweries, big and small. You can mountain bike directly to the door of one brewery, on Pisgah singletrack.
We’re so fortunate to be alive now and living here. It’s complete happenstance that I’ve found myself in this town, during this beautiful time in history, when craft breweries are sprouting around me like weeds. Personally, I’ve done nothing to deserve this embarrassment of riches, but I’m going to do my best to enjoy it while it lasts. As they say, all good things must come to an end. In this case, I’m not sure if they’re talking about the craft beer boom or my liver. Either way, carpe beer.