First of all, let me just say that Blogger.com is much much more blogger-friendly on Mozilla Firefox than on Internet Explorer. Why? Who can say. It just is.
Sara and I relocated to Tryon, NC from Raleigh at the beginning of this past summer. Raleigh, although by no stretch our favorite urban area, does nevertheless have any number of fantastic watering holes (the Flying Saucer, the Raleigh Times) and at least one solid brewery. I do miss those parts of the city.
Tryon is right on the state line with South Carolina, and one of my first impressions living here is that the townspeople are in a constant state of staving off invasions and incursions from folk across the line. It's an interesting little sub-culture as a result. Spartanburg is 35 minutes to the south; Asheville is 45 minutes to the north. Tryonites seem much more closely aligned with the former than with the latter -- which makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.
One thing I am learning is that Asheville has an excellent beer culture. Whether this statistic is true or not (and I have no reason to believe it is not), a friend told us that Asheville has more pubs per capita than any other town/city in NC. Here's a website to affirm that fact.
There are also any number of supremely solid breweries in the area: Highland, Asheville, French Broad, Green Man, Pisgah, Catawba, Asheville Pizza and Brewing, Heinzelmaennchen.... I'm partial to the French Broad brewery, if for no other reason than that Sara and I went there on our first wedding anniversary trip, caught some live bluegrass music, and made off with a souvenir tasting glass.
There are also quite an array of places to purchase solid brews in bottles, notable Bruisin' Ales (whom I have mentioned before), the Asheville Wine Market, Greenlife Grocery, and Earthfare.
What's frustrating is that Tryon is just far enough away that we can't hop in the car and zoom up to Asheville. My ecological conscience -- let alone the car budget -- won't allow such a thing. The upside is that, much closer to home, we've got the Purple Onion in Saluda, which has a dynamite beer selection, and frequent outstanding live music; most local markets stock Highland brews; and 25 minutes away is the Hendersonville Co-op, which has a small but stellar beer selection.
Even though the Durham World Beer Festival (held each October) will always and forever hold a very special place in our hearts, Western North Carolina plays host to any number of beer festivals itself -- and although as of yet we have not been able to attend any, I have no doubt as to our regular presence in the months and years to come.
And, how could I forget, Asheville Brewers Supply!
And lastly, I've just found a great local beer blog.