Wicked Weed Brewing Company
91 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, North Carolina
Visited on July 5, 2013
Our second day in Asheville – after some excellent cuisine from Seven Sows – ended at Wicked Weed. And my friends, finally a brewery fully redeemed the city’s reputation for brewpubs.
I loved this place. There are a ton of beers on tap, which for someone who enjoys trying this is a must for any great experience to be had. Apparently the brothers who brew couldn’t decided between traditional American ales and a Belgian barrel system, so they went with both. An equal number of Belgians and American ales grace the chalkboard for your enjoyment.
Drinkers beware – only a handful of their brews are served in the full-service restaurant portion upstairs (the first floor). For the true beer experience, one must venture downstairs.
The first floor has a lot of tables, a really long bar, a ton of great wood work, and is pretty much always extremely busy. It reminds me of what a German beer hall would be like if they had been invented in modern times. Downstairs is a different story. Stone walls, brewing production equipment, a barrel room, and a beer garden produce a completely different atmosphere. And the lack of servers ensures you have to walk up to the bar to get your own drink, which I’m fine with.
Speaking of the beers, they’re pretty good. Throughout our time there (we came back the next night as well) we tried a lot of different varieties by ordering smaller, 10-ounce glasses – a convenient trade-off for not doing flights on the weekends. The American ales are above average, with a double IPA leading the pack. The Belgian varieties are interesting and fun to try, including the sours, which you don’t typically come across in-house.
I greatly applaud the effort. However, I never had that one beer that just blew me away. All of the saisons are nice, but nothing approached the real thing, or heavy hitters like Ommegang. Of the American ales, anything that was above 7% was too aggressive. The double IPA was overhopped/unbalanced and the bourbon aged ales had too much bourbon in them. When I drink these types of beers, I look for the wood and spirit flavors to add to the flavor profile, not dominate them.
On a final note, I loved the bar staff downstairs. When asked if they take American Express, I was told they’ll swipe anything with a magnetic strip and see if it works. Later on, when being indecisive about ordering after having gotten his attention, he just moved on and walked away. Some might find it rude, but they were super busy and I was being slow.
As for the food, we never came when we were hungry so we never quite got around to trying anything. Everything sounded very promising, and very gastropub-esque. Local ingredients, fanciful combinations – a menu created by people who know what they’re talking about. But whether or not what comes out of the kitchen walks the walk? I can’t say.
Total: 78 (of 80)