I am a beer runner. Not like this guy, an inspiration without question, but if you run and like to drink beer, you’re a beer runner too (and if you live in New England and want a perfect way to combine the two, check out the Cambridge 5K and Vert Race Series here).
I had spent a few days visiting family in Wilmington, NC earlier in the week, where I took advantage of the 60° temps and ran along the hard-packed sand of Carolina Beach. It was a marvelous break from the misery of winter in Cleveland.
Saturday morning’s mid-30°, windy but sunny run from our hotel into downtown Asheville was less about enjoying the climes, however. Consider it equal parts ‘sweat off/earn the weekend’s beers’, ‘do some moderate training for my upcoming second and third half-marathons’, and ‘kill some time before most of the area breweries open at 2’.
We asked the front desk attendant, Reggie, for a route that would take us past the river, and when he pulled out the map (in typical hotel guest services fashion) he slipped in the Joke of the Year:
Me: So does the Tunnel Rd. sidewalk go through the tunnel?
Reggie: Pulling out map Yes, and if you take Charlotte St. you’ll make a nice little loop around the river
Me: Jokingly Cool. I mean we’re probably going to do like 10 miles or something. (If you want to see why this is funny just look at my Twitter avatar)
Reggie: In a PERFECT! F.G. accent…I just felt like ruhn-ing.
Sometimes a joke just land perfectly. This was one of those times. Cheers, Reggie, you nailed it!
As you can see from the 250+ ft. climb into town, we earned our post-run beer at
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t realize that ‘LAB’ and Lexington Avenue Brewery were/was the same thing. It/they is/are. This downtown brewpub has ample seating, a modern interior, cool bathrooms, and, most importantly post-run, beer and food. It was a fine place to stop for lunch with a standard set of beer offerings: Porter, IPA, Pale, Brown (the best of the bunch), and we paired them with two fresh baked pub pretzels (w/ beer cheese and mustard) and honeyed kale chips with homemade tzatziki. Soft pretzels and beer is probably the best post-run pairing ever (and will likely be available at the Cambridge 5K Oktoberfest), but I have to go on a mini-rant about the kale chips and tzatziki will say that the kale chips and tzatziki missed the mark (chunky dip + inherently weak chip structure = basically impossible to eat dish). At LAB we ran into traveling beer geeks Dave and Teresa again; they also preferred the Brown Ale most of all.
Thoughts on Lexington Avenue Brewery
- Cambridge Brewing Company in Cambridge, MA has spoiled me for brewpubs. For me, it is the gold standard by which all others are measured. I will resist the urge to digress too much, but those who have been know what I’m talking about. LAB is no CBC, but really no place is.
- When you’re on a beer specific trip, try to appreciate each destination for what it is. For me and Erica, LAB was a place to grab a hard earned bite and refuel our beer muscles. It hit that mark 100%.
I can’t say enough positive things about the excellent service, affordable prices (some beer was less expensive here than at the brewery itself), and impressive selection at this wonderful bottle shop. Owners Julie and Jason Atallah are doing more than their fair share to promote craft beer and craft beer culture in Asheville and beyond. For risk of letting this post get taken over with praise, I’ll keep it simple with some things to know below:
- Bruisin’ Ales WILL SHIP YOU BEER (not to you though, MA, sorry 😦 )! Look at their list; call with your credit card info: it’s that simple. Go ahead and program the number in your phone now (828-252-8999).
- They have a Bruisin’ Ales tap at Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria. I’m sure there is a good story behind this, and I wish I would have thought to ask. When we were there, it was Stone Enjoy By 4-1-2013. ‘Nuff said.
- Julie tweets. ‘Nuff said.
- Bruisin’ Ales is one of the driving organizational forces behind Asheville Beer Week. Go. ‘Nuff said.
- Thank you again for everything, Julie, Jason, and the Bruisin’ Ales staff. If I knew how to add that clapping emoji here I would do it.
Special note: When we (I) missed the three phone calls from the Hampton Inn shuttle driver telling us that he had arrived, Reggie came in to the store to get us! Everyone now:
REG-GIE REG-GIE REG-GIE REG-GIE REG-GIE REG-GIE REG-GIE REG-GIE
Next up: Highland Brewing Company…