Bruisin’ Ales and Bier Garden (Asheville, NC)

On Thursday, we made two visits to Brusin’ Ales at 66 Broadway in Asheville.  Our first stop was just to say hello, and our second was for the evening beer tasting.  This place is like a candy store for beer lovers!  There were rows and shelves of local and imported beers of all kinds (okay – no macros, no A-B products, but lots of things we enjoy and many unusual and generally unavailable [to us] bottled beers.)

The colors of the shop are so vibrant and warm, and one wall is lined with a wooden rack, similar to what one would expect to see at a specialty wine store, with bottles of high-end, specialty beers.  There are six pack displays, and refrigerated six packs as well. Shelf-talkers are posted, but Bruisin’ Ales owners Julie and Jason are a wealth of information, and we overheard them giving lots of good advice to customers.

In addition to selling the beers, Bruisin’ Ales has a terrific selection of collectable glassware for beer tasting, and a selection of beer literature to enhance any library.

On our first visit, we walked in while Jason and Nate were examining a bottle of Indica – a very hoppy and unfiltered beer from Lost Coast Brewery in California.  A customer returned it because it was “bad”, so they need to check it out.  Not bad at all!  Very, very good!!  I enjoyed the chance to help make that determination.

Our second visit, after an afternoon at Pisgah, was the tail-end of the scheduled tasting.  Julie was at the bar with four items to try:

+ Gaffel Kölsch (Crisp and lightly citrus; 4.8%)

Fraoch Heather Ale (a Scottish ale at 5%; possibly one of the oldest styles of beer, brewed with flowers of heather multiple times throughout the process giving it an herbal, earthy goodness – one of my favorites!)

Moosbacher Kellerbier (a dark, amber German lager at 5.4%), and

+ Orkney Skullsplitter (a Scottish ale at 8.5% ABV; named for Thorfinn Hausakluif (SkullSplitter), the Seventh Viking Earl of Orkney)

Only the Kellerbier was new to both of us.

The store closes at 7 PM on Thursdays, so Julie and Jason were available to go grab a pint afterward at The Bier Garden on Haywood Street.  We certainly didn’t get to take the place in fully – it was crowded inside, so we sat out in the “mall” area – but it looked like a fun place to hang out anytime. The beer menu included a nice selection of draft and bottled beers.   I decided to have something new-to-me (Redstone Black Raspberry Nectar – a mead), and D had an old favorite from the bottle, which we’ve never seen on tap before (Urthel Hop-It.)  Jason and Julie both had Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, which we understand will soon be discontinued.

It was a lot of fun chatting with them about their store and how they came to be in the business.  We had plenty to talk about with these folks, who got their beer-drinking start in Pennsylvania, and the next day, when I listened to their podcast with Tony Kiss, it was clear he captured their enthusiasm.  They are extremely dedicated to the industry and running a professional operation.

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