So let me take a moment to say how awesome Asheville is!! I took my little sidekick, Mack, (see pic for evidence of his cuteness) and spent this past Saturday in Asheville and the surrounding area. First was a stop to the Arboretum to get in some hiking and mountain views and then onward to the city for some exploration.

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Downtown and surrounding districts have been a thriving community for tourists and locals alike but now focus is being brought to another such place on the south side of downtown. South Slope, also known as the Brewery District, is an old industrial and warehouse area where buildings have been repurposed and turned into cool little restaurants and breweries which gives it this old-meets-new vibe. There are 8, yes that’s right, 8 breweries within a couple block radius! Can you say Sunday Funday?! Most of these places have spacious outdoor patio areas and everywhere is dog friendly which was perfect for Mack and I.

I made 3 stops; more would have been my goal but I’ll save that for a time when I can stay the night and sample everything. First off was Burial Beer Co., a modest size building with a huge outdoor patio, table and game area. Mack and I went straight to the back bar where I grabbed a pint of their Keeper’s Veil honey saison. This brew has prominent honey flavor (obviously) which gives it this silky quality. There’s a little bit of funk to it which I believe is a result of the yeasts used and the fermented honey but overall has a tart and smooth body.

Second stop was Green Man Brewery which still operates a tasting room from their original digs, Dirty Jack’s, but has a beautiful new 3 story taproom/packaging hall next door which they dubbed the “Greenmansion” so clever! This place has a third floor indoor/outdoor taproom that overlooks production and has a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I stuck with Dirty Jack’s because I wanted to get the raw, earthy, original experience. I grabbed their Otis Ray IPA and we headed to the side patio. I have a thing for IPAs, but when you can make a crisp, slightly hopped and drinkable IPA that you could easily pout down a few of, now that’s just heaven right there! With a slight citrus aftertaste, this IPA is definitely going to be in my fridge ASAP.

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The last stop was Catawba Brewery and it had to be my favorite. I was very excited to check it out since a new location will be opening up in Charlotte early next year! There are a couple of Asheville locations but I went to the one in South Slope where the building is an old warehouse displaying barrels up the walls and huge factory windows in the back. Note: dogs are allowed in the front part of the taproom as well as outside in the patio area but not in the main area where this picture was taken, oops my bad! The elevated patio in the back boasts mountain views and down below is a hammock area with multiple seating options. Because it’s finally starting to feel like fall down here, I had to have their King Don’s pumpkin ale. This was a little bit spicy for my liking because I tend to like more pumpkin flavor than straight up spice, but the malt really mellowed out the bite and allowed you to taste a bit of the pumpkin. Overall not a bad brew, but I’ve had a couple others that I like more and there are so many to choose from that I will continue to go back!

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Mack and I ended the day with a relaxing trip back home full of mountain scenery, the smell of wood smoke and beautiful, sunset sky colors. I can say for sure that he loved all of the pets and attention he received and is well on his way to becoming a brewery dog! I have so much more to explore in Asheville and am definitely looking forward to more trips in the future.