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Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Asheville Asheville, NC, Saturday, 05 November 2011 2:13am

The weather called for showers again today, and I didn't feel like riding curvy roads in the rain, so I took a day off. According to some sources Asheville is the "San Francisco of the East". I think that's a bit exaggerated, but it seems like a pretty cool town.

I had lunch at a noodle place downtown, and then headed over to the Asheville Art Museum for an hour or so. It's a compact museum with a lot of local and contemporary art. They had an exhibit on color, one about the square as used by Josef Albers (who taught locally) and his followers, a set of galleries devoted to the four elements, and one of local basket-weaving.

I spent the late afternoon on a tour of several of the local breweries. Our guide claimed that Asheville has the largest number of breweries per capita of any US city. We visited Highland (a "regional craft brewery"), French Broad (a microbrewery), and the Asheville Brewing Company (a brewpub). It was interesting to see brewing on the "regional craft brewery" scale. I've visited much larger breweries (like Tsingtao), and smaller ones (like Cantillon), but this middle-ground is new to me. It was a bit like the Steamwhistle brewery that I visited in Toronto in that the brewing process is largely automated. But, unlike Steamwhistle, Highland produces a broad range of beers and tries new recipes regularly. My favorite beer of the tour was the Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale, a small-batch seasonal with strong vanilla notes. It just happened that their 2011 brew was released today, so we were among the first to taste it.

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