You can hear Leigh talk about her trip on this week’s episode…as well as what we’re drinkin’ this week.
In this episode it’s the 3 GBS OG’s or the Three Amigos or the Original Recipe Podcast. Either way Carrie, Leigh and Lauren carry the show. Lauren and Leigh talk about their weekend trips to the Henderson Brewing Company and Asheville North Carolina respectively. We extensively discuss the third season of Last Change U, the GBS news of the weird encounters an interesting yeast strain that is turned into a beer a takes us down innuendo road. We have a heartfelt RIP for Mrs. Garrett and play an interesting round of Take It or Leave It. If you want to know where the title of this episode comes from, you’re just gonna hafta listen.
A “Wicked” and “SparkLing” Weekend Adventure
This weekend I was excited to celebrate one of my dear friends pending nuptials in Asheville, NC. As much as I was pumped to celebrate her bachelorette weekend, we visited some amazing places that all included alcohol 😉 Here is a recap of my fabulous weekend!
Asheville is a very happening city and THIS was my first trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Driving in to the city, there was the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival happening along with the Village Art and Craft Fair. So many people were playing music on street corners and vendors were set up downtown. With all of this going on, and it being a Friday night, we did finally chose to visit Wicked Weed Brewing Company on its rave reviews of its craft beer selection AND the fact they have a cidery as well! The brewery had a great patio with plenty of long benches and table tops for all different sized groups. Our group of 11 was easily seated inside after just a short wait. While we waited, we explored the bar a bit. The downstairs opened up to another large patio area that had a great view of the actual brewing operation. Tours were available as well.
The Wicked Weed started in 2012 and in 2017 became part of the Anheuser-Busch family of craft breweries. They want to be known for forward-thinking, ingredient-focused, and a direct reflection of their need to create craft beer. There were many options as you can see from their menu, but they also had mixed drinks available for those that may not be completely on the craft beer train. As for this gluten free, cider lover there was an Oak Fermented Cider available from the Wicked Weed Cidery. There was even a Gluten Freek, Double India Pale Ale that I unfortunately didn’t get to try. At 7% this cider was fruity, tart, and dry and everything I love in a cider. You can order a glass or a bottle. It was reasonably priced for a craft cider at $11.95 a bottle. Our group selected many options, like the Manna (7% Golden Honey Ale) to the Pineapple Sage-On (5.6% Blonde Saison). Their food was an interesting as there the traditional bar fare like beer cheese and pretzels and chips and homemade French onion dip, but there was some more sophisticated offerings that included an artisanal cheese assortment and grilled quail as well as salmon, shrimp, and Italian sausage. My favorite part of this adventure was that the large portrait of King Henry VIII on the wall and on their merchandise area that has a quote from him from 1519, “Hops are a wicked and pernicious weed”. LOVED my experience at the Wicked Weed Brewing Company.
On Saturday we were treated to a self-guided and a special roof-top tour of the Biltmore (also known as the American Castle). This was an experience I will not forget. I want to go back as we weren’t able to spend as much time on the actual grounds of the house because we then had a sparkling wine tour scheduled. But first, let me tell you that the 8,000 acre property (down from the original 165,000 that George Vanderbilt originally bought) is so expansive and gorgeous I cannot describe it properly. There were 250 rooms, most of which we didn’t get to see, but there was a 70,000 gallon pool, 2 bowling lanes, 65 fire places, statues of Joan of Arc and King Henry sculpted by the entrance, a slate roof that is guaranteed for 500 years. The limestone house is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The grounds were designed by the gentleman that put together Central Park. Chiluly’s large-scale glass sculptures were on display in many of the rooms and grounds of Biltmore, most I didn’t get to see because of our tours being so close together. I had no idea this artist’s work was on display here, but was an awesome surprise.
After our tour and many photos later, we rushed to get to our Sparkling Wine tasting at the Antler Hill Village. Antler Hill is the farm and outdoors area on the grounds, it does house the Winery as well. The Winery used to be the cattle milking station on the estate and there is even photos depicting its former roots as you walk to the tasting room. The first vines were planted in the early 1970’s by Vanderbilt’s grandson, William Cecil. The Biltmore Wine Company as established in 1983 and bottled its first bottle in 1984. It is to be known that this is the most visited winery in the country and I can see why. We were shown to a special room where it was set up to taste ‘sparkling wine’ which is a type of wine all by itself. Our guide’s name was Kim and the knowledge and love for sparkling wine he has is vast and so appreciated.
As Kim explained there is a whole different process to making sparkling wine, which is named methode champenoise, and yes that is French for the traditional method of making champagne or sparkling wine. The best way to know a good champagne or sparkling wine is by the size of the bubbles, the smaller the bubbles (and subsequent increase in number of bubbles) all make sure a fantastic sparkling wine. There was a tour of the facility and machinery that they use to make each bottle of Biltmore Estate Sparkling Wines. I’d like for you to visit the Sparkling Wines page on their website to a detailed explanation on their process: https://www.biltmore.com/wine/wine-101/wine-t. We were paired different accompaniments with all 5 different wines we were able to taste. The photo here shows each bottle we were able to taste. ALL of them were amazing. I do not consider myself a champagne or sparkling wine person, but as Kim told us, “All of us are sparkling and need sparkling wine in our lives.”
There was so many different things to take away from this experience, but I purchased a bottle of their Century Sweet Red wine and I just don’t know if I will ever open it, because of what my trip represented and what I was able to do. All of their souvenirs and knick-knacks were very reasonably priced and I was just floored by the beauty and expanse of the Biltmore Estate. I will definitely be making a trip back and will make sure to plan to stay multiple days because there is just so much to see, just at the estate, not to mention the actual town. Maybe a GBS trip is in our future and I would definitely love to experience this with my GBS family!