BEER SCOUT

FILL ‘ER UP: Alan Lowe opened Craft Room Growlers to give beer lovers on the south side of town a place to get fresh brews by the jug. Photo by Jayson Im
FILL ‘ER UP: Alan Lowe opened Craft Room Growlers to give beer lovers on the south side of town a place to get fresh brews by the jug. Photo by Jayson Im

Craft Room Opens in South Asheville

If you live within 10 minutes of downtown or West Asheville, there’s no shortage of options for fresh growlers of beer. Bruisin’ Ales stocks an ever-changing selection, Asheville Growler and Appalachian Vintner both fill to order and, of course, there are all the breweries.

But head down to Arden and Fletcher, and things change according to Alan Lowe, the owner of Craft Room Growlers. “I live down here, and there are a lot of nice places to sit and order a great beer. But it’s a struggle to find a place that serves fresh beer to take home,” says Lowe. So a few weeks ago Lowe took matters into his own hands and opened Craft Room Growlers in South Asheville.

When you walk in, you are immediately greeted with a small bar and a big wall of taps. “Right now I’m keeping 24 beers on tap and trying to support the North Carolina breweries,” says Lowe. The current list of beers has a wide range of styles with a focus on winter favorites like stouts, porters and winter warmers. However, Lowe says to expect that to change by the season. “I’m a big fan of saisons and IPAs … but a lot of my customers so far love the dark beers,” says Lowe. “I’m going to keep plenty of variety on tap, but also make sure the regulars have the styles they like.”

Pints to stay are mostly $4-$5 and flights of four beers are $4.50. Fills for 32-ounce growlers range from $5-$12, and 64-ounce growlers anywhere from $10-$20. Lowe will swap out Craft Room-brand growlers for cleaned and sanitized growlers. If you bring in another brand, it will take a few minutes for him to prepare the growler, but he will fill it.

Craft Room Growlers is at 1987 Hendersonville Road. Hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Check its Facebook page for details on a grand opening party to be held around St. Patrick’s Day.

Wicked Weed’s Spring Beer Dinners

Last year during Beer Week, Wicked Weed hosted an epic beer dinner called “V.” The event quickly sold out, and it’s easy to see why: Five courses were paired with five rare beers from five breweries. The dinner lasted more than three hours, and even industry celebrities like Sierra Nevada’s Ken Grossman attended.

This year, Wicked Weed has decided that more locals deserve a crack at attending one of its creative beer dinners, so it is hosting three dinners and kicking off with the first one, “Weird Science,” on Tuesday, March 25. As you might expect, the meal will let the teams at Wicked Weed play with flavors and textures using molecular gastronomy and other creative techniques.

According to Chef Cardiff Creasey, “It’s all about the chefs taking inspiration from the mad scientists downstairs [the brewers]. There are absolutely no restrictions, and we’re going to see how much fun we can have if we take away all the conventions of a classic menu.”

The second dinner will take place on April 29, and the theme is “Brewers vs. Chefs.” The two teams will compete to see who is better at pairing beer with each dish. Every diner will get a vote at the end of the night, deciding which team did a better job. “This style of dinner is perfect for a group of people. … We expect to see a lot of debate at the tables,” says Creasey.  The series will wrap up with the second year of “V” on May 27.

Tickets for the first two dinners are $65 and are available at Wicked Weed Brewing, 91 Biltmore Ave. or on Eventbrite.com. The May dinner will have more details and a ticket release closer to the event.

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About Thom O'Hearn
Thom O'Hearn covers beer and brewery news for Mountain Xpress.

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