The Brewery Meca
~Wednesday, April 28, 2021~
What most people know about me is that I’m a night owl. Jeff, not so much. I require about 6-7 hours of sleep while Jeff needs 9-10. So going to bed at 1:30 a.m and waking up at 7:30 was no easy task for me. We had a nail trim appointment for Sadie at 9:00 a.m. in Asheville, which is about 35 minutes from our campsite. But we decided to make the most of it, and have this be our day to see downtown Asheville. Instead of finding a good lunch place, we decided to have a breakfast outing instead; one where the food will carry us through most of our day. I think in all of these months of travel, we’ve only gone out to breakfast once.
The perfect little spot was Sunny Pointe Cafe in Asheville (location on the outskirts of downtown). Driving up, we saw a long line of hungry patrons, even on a Wednesday, which is always a good barometer of just how good the food is.
Highly recommend this joint. They are dog friendly, people friendly, have top notch food and attentive staff. They’re known for their Stuffed French Toast so Jeff had that one and I had an Avocado Toast that was out of this world….THE best I’ve ever had. Mine was a large piece of homemade, hearty, toasted bread, topped with avocado, egg, tomato, arugula, pickled onion, then finished with candied bacon (which I gave Jeff) and a drizzle of sweetened balsamic vinegar. Jeff’s dish had egg and sausage stuffed into the French Toast. Quite an interesting twist, right? Sadie was such a good girl, just hanging out next to her water bowl, being the center of attention and taking advantage of an occasional dropped morsel.
With stomachs full and our energy in full swing, we headed to downtown Asheville. The setting is lovely. It seems that the urban vs. city vibe blends together very well. Nothing about it jolts you, coming in or going out. The downtown is charming and very clean for the most part, even though there are a few bad areas, which every city seems to have. The city is definitely bigger than we thought with a population of around 90,000, and appears to be pretty spread out. They have a very strict mask mandate here, inside and outside of buildings. And the people…..very friendly.
To explore the city, we thought we’d take the Asheville Urban Trail, a self-guided walk about through the city, highlighting objects from yesteryear. As recommended, we downloaded the map to our phone and began, but it turned out many of the things they were highlighting weren't even there, so I’d say this was a complete failure. So we scrapped that idea and toured much of the city on our own.
With a lot of walking comes a lot of thirst. And you can’t visit Asheville and not check out their brewery scene. Asheville is known as the beer capital of North Carolina. They have more breweries per capita than any U.S. city; as NPR calls it, “The Napa Valley of Beer”. Even before leaving our campsite this morning, we made a list of the top 5 breweries in town. #1 was Burial Beer Co. We had to walk a little ways from the downtown portion to a more industrialized section but we love walking so all good. It appears most breweries convert their “digs” from old warehouse facilities which is actually really smart and cost prohibitive. They don’t have to make them slick and dialed in, but simply bring in the kegs, the bar and seating, and voila, you’re in business…...IF…...you make a quality product. This place was awesome.
They have a ton of outside seating, love dogs, and even offer food, which many don’t. Our beers were delicious. Me…..Pilsner style, Jeff tried 2 different IPA’s. There are even beer tours in Asheville, which we tried to book while hanging out at Burial, but, unfortunately, all were booked. The owner of Asheville Brews Cruise was super nice and told us that we were already in the prime area for beer tasting so that was reassuring. He even called me back to see if we could attend a different day, but we already had the Biltmore tour booked. Asheville Brewery Tours was the other we were recommended to try next time we’re in town.
On the way back to our car, Jeff wanted to hit one more brewery. #2 was Hi-Wire Brewing. I didn’t partake at this one, but Jeff found another top-notch IPA. Gosh, our bro-hams Tim and Ken would just love it. Maybe we can all do the brew tour together one day.
Got back to our campsite early evening, completely exhausted, so thank goodness for leftovers! Looking forward to our Biltmore Estate tour tomorrow!