Weathering Winter Storm Jonas

So who got hit by Jonas last weekend? Hell of a storm, wasn’t it?

Knoxville somehow managed to be the only area within the storm’s path that didn’t get snow. I think the accumulation was roughly half an inch. Or so I was told – we actually weren’t here.

In what could have been one of the worst decisions we’ve ever made, Jimmie and I drove INTO the storm.

Yep. You read that right. Thursday night, we packed up the car and drove to Asheville for the weekend. Like crazy people.

We had tickets to the Winter Warmer Beer Festival, which was supposed to be that Saturday. Early Thursday we decided it was better to drive up that night, based on the forecast. About two hours after I booked our (nonrefundable) hotel, they rescheduled the festival. We decided to go anyway, and just drink beer and play board games all weekend.

The drive up was fine, and we hit the grocery store and Taco Bell for a few provisions since we had a full kitchen. We stayed at the Homewood Suites on Tunnel Road – we’ve stayed there twice now, and I highly recommend it.

We woke up Friday morning to a snowy wonderland. I’ll admit….for a little while I was convinced we’d made a huge mistake.

Asheville SnowJimmie didn’t want to try driving, so we agreed to walk the 1.5 miles from our hotel to downtown Asheville. Don’t tell him, but it was the right decision. We bundled up and set out.

Snow SelfieTruthfully, once we got past the first (uphill) half mile or so, it wasn’t bad. We took this picture after I stopped being grumpy and realized we were having quite the adventure. Or snowventure, as I kept calling it. I mean, who hikes in the snow to get beer? Dedicated people, that’s who.

A lot of the downtown businesses (breweries included) were able to open for the weekend, though a lot of them had to walk to do it. But it gave those of us out such a sense of camaraderie. We’d braved the weather to drink beer together. It was awesome, really. And funny, because we kept seeing the same people at each brewery.

We met up with some friends who’d stayed downtown, and made our way to Green Man. We were there right as they opened at noon – told you we’re dedicated – and snagged both some beers and a coveted table. I had their Old Smokey Altbier, which was absolutely delicious and I wish I could have brought home with me. The guy working the taps told us he’d actually sledded to work, and I think he had a special place in his heart for us because we’d walked well over 2 miles to get there.

Green Man

Green Man Selfie

I just really like this picture.

A few hours later, Burial opened, and since it’s just down the street we headed that way. They had their Skillet Donut Stout on tap, complete with donut hole. I opted for the Coffee Saison and Jimmie did the donut. I love the Coffee Saison, but that Stout blew mine away. It’s a seasonal, and I believe it’s gone or almost gone, but if you’re ever in Asheville in January you MUST try it.

Burial Beer

Eventually that night we made our way to Jack of the Wood for dinner, then up to the Top of The Monk for specialty cocktails. I didn’t get pictures either place. Afterward, we walked around a little and then Jimmie and I made the trek back to our hotel. All together, we walked 7.5 miles IN THE SNOW, and yes, it was actually uphill both ways. Believe it. It was awesome, and exhausting, and when we got back I had the most amazing taco I’d ever had….leftover Taco Bell. I was that hungry.

Saturday morning, it was still snowing, but they’d managed to salt the roads so we drove downtown. Shaved a little walking off that day! We started at Thirsty Monk. Loved their sign.

Snow Route

I had a flight: Lagunitas 34 Fusion Porter (meh), Sierra Nevada’s Otra Vez (loved it), Lookout Milk Stout (pretty good), and Thirsty Monk’s Screaming Monk (loved it too).

Thirsty Monk Flight

We played Smash Up, ate lunch (YUM TACOS), and just relaxed with good beer. If you go the taco route, try the brisket tacos (the one on the bottom – top is pork). Amazeballs.

Thirsty Monk Tacos¬†After Thirsty Monk we ventured to One World Brewing. Beer here wasn’t my favorite, but they had a couple of fun games. The atmosphere is pretty neat too, unless it’s crowded, and then it’s a little like being inside a steel drum with 500 of your closest screaming friends. As for the flights, those glasses look really cool…and make you feel really ridiculous drinking out of them. Of the 6 beers I tried, only one was something I’d ever consider drinking again. They did have interesting names though – one of them was called Whale of a Tale. Sucked me right in.

One World FlightOur last stop was Bhramari, a brand new brewery and restaurant. We were there on their 8th day of being open. The staff¬†are super friendly, the atmosphere is super chill, and the beer is actually pretty good. They’ve got one of theirs on tap, the Carolina Common. They also do an infusion with it – when we were there it was infused with Sour Patch Kids. Jimmie loved the infusion, but it was too sweet for me. The Carolina Common was something I’d order again.

BhramariWe ate there too, and while the menu is really interesting, I think they need to work out a few kinks. It wasn’t terrible…but it struck all of us as trying too hard. I’d go back to drink, but probably not to eat, at least not until they’ve sorted things out a bit.

We headed back relatively early that night, not wanting to drive to our hotel on ice. But we did snap a few quick pictures on the way back to the car. And no, we didn’t make the bunny. Cute, isn’t he?

Snow Bunny

Asheville Streets

Thankfully, when we woke up Sunday the roads were clear, so our drive home was a piece of cake. The whole trip was fabulous. Saturday morning, the National Weather Service was saying Asheville had gotten 14 inches already. It snowed all day, and I wish I’d looked up the final accumulation. It was insane. It was beautiful. It was absolutely worth the hiking, the uncertainty of whether we’d get home, and everything else. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.