Wicked Weed Brewing
By: Ben Dofflemyer
It’s very hard to start a review about Wicked Weed Brewing, and I have a feeling I
may have to be a little long-winded to cover everything I’d like to say about it. The
first thing to know is that it is an almost overwhelming experience for beer lovers.
Since moving to Asheville in April, I have frequented them the most. It’s hard not to
stop in there, with up to, and sometimes more than 30 different, uniquely styled
beers on tap at a time. And it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the constantly
changing, magnificent chalkboard of unique beer varieties. It would be extremely
difficult to try every one in a single visit, even in an entire weekend.
The place is always buzzing with the same locals, which was one reason it
was my go to stop for watching the World Cup this summer. Another reason was
their vast and particularly unique World Cup Series lineup, which, like most of their
beers, was only available at the brewpub. Whenever I have guests in town it’s an
essential stop as well, for food and libation. It’s no longer the first stop though,
because it’s easy to spend a lot of time there. Also there is a strictly sour facility
that will be opening up very soon, rightfully dubbed The Funkatorium, for you
people with funky taste buds like mine.
The first time I visited was for the release of their first bottle, the 2013 GABF
Gold Medal winner in the American Style Brett Beer category, Serenity. I hadn’t
heard much about Wicked Weed before then, so I didn’t know what to expect. The
atmosphere and energy in the outdoor seating area was amazing. Live music, beer
jockeys taking our order in line as soon as we got into the beer garden, and the head
brewer standing behind a little table in the corner, very humbly selling t-shirts. The
excitement of people filling their allotment of bottles, souvenirs, and delicious sour
beers was so contagious we didn’t want to leave. We planned on going to so many
places that day but didn’t leave there until late in the afternoon.
Since I have been living in Asheville, trying to experience the town as a
whole, I still find myself gravitating to Wicked Weed. I really enjoy a lot of the other
breweries in town, but Wicked Weed offers such a one of a kind experience with the
combination of the very supportive local beer community and the madmen in the
brew-house. Sometimes when I ride my bike by the brewery, I can smell the grains
boiling downstairs, then promptly pull over and enjoy a beer while outside while the
guys are brewing with the doors wide open.
Right now, I’m thoroughly enjoying a bottle of the first release of Black Angel,
a barrel Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Sour. This flagship sour is aged in Four Roses
bourbon barrels with a hefty amount of sweet and tart cherries and souring
bacteria. It’s also a blend of aged batches, this one in particular is a blend of barrels
that have been sitting for either 6 or 9 months. I had plenty of this when it was
fresh, and back then I noticed the flavors of the bourbon, cherries, and slight graham
cracker finish all slightly separately. This bottle, which I suppose is about 6 months
old now, has already started to blend very nicely, resulting in something completely
different from what I’m used to on tap at the brewpub.
Most of the bottles are great for aging, and the flow of said bottles should
increase soon with the recent, exciting announcement that Wicked Weed will soon
be handling a larger distribution operation. Hopefully soon people in neighboring
states and perhaps even folks across the country will be able to enjoy their delicious,
unique sours along with their other staples, like Coolcumber, Freak of Nature DIPA,
and their World Beer Cup Bronze medal winner, Tyrant Double Red Ale. But for
now, you’ll have to visit this new Mecca of the craft beer world.