A Beer Pilgrimage: Asheville, NC


Three shelves of beer — a challenge!

My fridge has never had so much beer in it. I know, I know! It hardly seems possible, especially given that on an average day at least one entire shelf is devoted to beer and the rest of the space is a bachelor-scape of condiments. But having just come home from one of the US’s beer Meccas, Asheville, NC, I have some understandably well-stocked shelves and hardly a square inch for my Dijon.

One flat tire, one broken boot, and a sad, lonely hotel out of the way, I arrived in Asheville just in time to get to Wicked Weed’s Funkatorium. Wicked Weed Brewing is a vacation destination on its own right, or at least for those of us who unashamedly admit to traveling somewhere specifically to get a little fucked up. The Funkatorium is a taproom dedicated solely to sour and barrel-aged beers.

The Funkatorium's back room

The Funkatorium’s back room

I opted for their set flight of two saisons and two sours. And then my biggest regret since not getting a second bloody mary at Casa in Athens that morning: I drank the sours first. I blame it on road weariness. The saisons didn’t taste like much of anything. I’m sure they were lovely, but being a bit of a Sour Puss myself, I was content with the fantastic tastes of Oblivion and Genesis — both just sour enough to playfully pinch your cheeks from the inside, yet robust enough to let you enjoy a full glass. My notes tell me that Oblivion tastes like the shape of Saturn, so there you have it. Continue reading

Community News: The Southeast’s Best at the Bonnaroo Oasis

My family always does a decent job packing in our own food to each Bonnaroo; we’ll equip camp with trail mix and fruit and bread we’ve already toasted so we can make PB&Js or cheese sandwiches.

But we inevitably end up eating at least one meal a day inside Centeroo, the main concert area, the first years out of convenience but now out of a sense of adventure and excitement.  Each year, the festival has grown its food presence.  You’ve got your typical “event” food, tweaked toward a more pleasant pitch: the traditional fries, sausages with peppers, and crappy beer in plastic bottles, as well as the Samosa Man, jambalaya, and a Broo’ers tent selling handcrafted beers.

Last year, they hopped the American food truck craze and established a Food Truck Oasis.  It perches on a slight rise up between the This Tent and the Other Tent.  At night, with the Christmas lights that outline truck awnings flashing pinpoints in the dark and the diffuse yellow bulbs from the kitchens throwing shadows of the along the metal, you can stand at a distance and believe that you’re watching a caravan in the desert or a circus camping down for the night.  It’s beautiful. Continue reading