I landed in Asheville almost 15 years ago and haven’t really considered living anywhere else since. Sure, I’ve entertained the notion of spending a winter in Canaan Valley so I could have top-notch powder right out my front door. And every time I hit the coast I like to imagine what life would be like with a little beach house tucked into the dunes within walking distance of a consistent surf break. I’m human. I daydream. But generally, I love my town. I’m happy here. It’s only 30 minutes from Breckenwolf, after all. But recently, I’ve been daydreaming about living in Charlotte, not because I’m craving the city life, but because I’d like to have constant access to this beer, Mountain Candy, from Sycamore Brewing.
I discovered it while I was in the middle of the state watching one of my kids in a soccer tournament. If you’ve never been a spectator at a U9 soccer tournament, let me set the scene for you. Picture a two-day event where hundreds of kids battle in a series of games on a sprawling complex of turf fields in 80-degree temperatures while their parents scream “encouragement” from the sidelines. It’s the kind of situation that demands an immediate post-game beer. Luckily, I came across this beauty of an IPA in my time of need.
Mountain Candy is an appropriately-named beer with a malty side that has depth, and a nose reminiscent of a fruit cup thanks to a hefty double dry-hopping. It’s loaded with sweet fruit notes but also has a fresh layer of dank bitterness that keeps everything in check. Honestly, I had never heard of Sycamore Brewing before and only picked up the can because A) I liked the name and B) it’s 16 ounces instead of the standard 12 and I desperately needed that extra four ounces of beer.
But I’m so impressed with this particular IPA that I’m dying to get my hands on some other Sycamore brews. Apparently, they won a bronze at GABF for their lager. And it looks like they have a solid rotation of intriguing seasonal beers (Watermelon Kolsch? Strawberry lemonade gose? Yes please). I want to drink them all. But Sycamore doesn’t distribute in Asheville, so I either have to start making a weekly beer run to Charlotte, or I have to uproot my family and move to the Queen City. That’s the power of a great IPA. It makes you reconsider your life choices. Like, maybe I should have majored in financing so I could have a job at a bank in Charlotte? I’d have to wear a suit and tie every day, but I could drink this IPA at lunch. So, it would be a wash.