If you are anything like me, you get excited when you receive newsletters from Wicked Weed Brewing in Asheville NC. When the newsletter for the Genesis release hit my inbox I jumped out of my chair with excitement. Having been to Wicked Weed nearly 4 times in the month prior I was able to taste Genesis on tap and, well, it was unreal! I cleared my schedule and got a group of local buddies together to make the trip from Charlotte to Asheville. It just happened to be one of their birthdays as well.
Four of us left Charlotte around 6am for the 2.5 hour journey through the mountains. Arriving around 8:30 am we parked the car and walked to the brewery where a line had already formed. Bottle sales started at 11am but Wicked Weed adds a nice little flair to their releases. To the first 100 people in line you get to enter the brewery 1 hour early! You are brought down to gorgeous outdoor patio area where you are greeted with the line up of stainless steel conical fermenters.
You have free reign over the beautiful downstairs bar that is accented with stone and reclaimed wood and this giant wall chalkboard with colorful writing on it and oak barrels sticking out it filled with taps. You have a full hour of being able to taste the never ending list of beers they have on tap at the brewery while everyone else waits inline outside. Most of the breweries I have been to have up to 10 maybe 15 beers on tap. Not Wicked Weed. There is easily 30 different beers on tap. I’m not talking 30 IPAs and Porters and only 1 or 2 specialty beers. I’m talking 4 or 5 sours from the Funkatorium, 3-4 Wicked Wood aged beers, 10 or so Beautiful and Belgian and 10 or so Hops are Heresy. Its beer paradise!
The four of us sat there for an hour and indulged in the amazing beers, passing the snifters between us sharing and tasting. In that hour we were able to taste almost every beer that was on the board. (Some of my personal favorites: Mosaic Saison, Freak of Nature, Lupulin Lab, Black Angel and Le Peche Blanc). Of course, there was Genesis. This golden yellow colored beer blew us away. The tart smell of sourness on the nose. The balance between sour and sweet with the tropical fruits. The dry fruity flavorful finish. It was perfection in a glass. As it warmed the fruit just kept getting stronger, papaya, mango, pineapple all making their flavors known in this complex and delicate weave of flavors. You couldn’t stop at just one.
At 11am it was time to start purchasing your bottles. We all got in line still with beer in hand and lined up by number on your bracelet. The lucky first 100 people who have been enjoying their last hour also get a signed and numbered bottle. But wait… there’s more! They announced that in addition to Genesis, they also had Bretticent available for purchase. Both limited to 1 case of 500ml bottles per person. Bretticent is a Farmhouse Saison that they barrel age with Brettanomyces. It sounded awesome so why not grab a few of those too! We all bought our case of Genesis and each picked up a few Bretticent as well. In addition to that, they had some Amorous and Indulgence from their Royal Cache series available as well. Twist my arm and picked up a few of both of those as well. By the end of the day each of us had about 2 to 2 1/2 cases of beer each! Throw some Wicked Weed swag on top of that and well we had a pretty good day!
After we bought all our bottles we stayed a little longer, had a couple more Genesis beers and had lunch. Let me preface this by saying I’ve had food at breweries before and well it was all ok. I mean its a brewery, you come for the beer not for the food. The fact that they have food is a perk. Well not Wicked Weed. You go to Wicked Weed for both the food and the beer! Reading through the menu is like being at a 4 star restaurant. Appetizers: Calamari and Beef tartar. Sandwhiches: Fried Chicken with house kimchi and miso mayonnaise, Sunburst trout with pickled shallots caper aioli and arugula, Carolina Bison burger with haystack shallots and blue cheese coleslaw just to name a few. All 4 of us opted for the Fried Chicken sandwich with the house kimchi. I’m not going to lie, I must have looked like a little kid tasting ice cream for the first time. My eyes lite up as I bit into this delectable sandwich and turned to my friends with a full mouth and a huge smile. “THIS IS UNREAL!!”. My stomach is literally growling and my mouth is watering as I am writing this that is how good this sandwich is. We left the brewery all with full stomachs and a truck load of beer. What more could you ask for. Needless to say we all are waiting for the day when the chime from our phones will be from a newsletter from Wicked Weed Brewing announcing their next release. Till then, I can only keep dreaming of that Fried Chicken sandwich and the endless list of amazing beers in paradise.