If you’ve been to Asheville before then perhaps you know that it’s been crowned ‘Beer City, USA.’ Ambassador Andrew Corbin gives you an intro on what that means and where to go!
Mike Jones, the owner of Fleet Feet Asheville and sponsor, describes the full experience of the Asheville Marathon & Half at Biltmore Estates when he texted me: “Come for a good time not for a fast time.” This is not to dissuade those who are attempting a personal best; by all mean go and ring that bell! BUT, don’t let that PR come between the Asheville Experience! The grounds of the Biltmore House are absolutely gorgeous, and by all means stay and enjoy them after the race, but if you do choose to venture beyond the magnificent house and gorgeous grounds of the largest historic home in the United States, Asheville and its neighboring cities are waiting to be explored.
Asheville is “Beer City, USA”. In 2016, “Forbes” reported that Asheville had 21.6 breweries per 100,000 people. Asheville has North Carolina’s very first craft beer and craft brewery. Highlands Brewing Company opened in 1994 and since then its original brew the Gaelic Ale became a staple among the Blue Ridge. Since then, breweries began to spread through Asheville like fire with the India Pale Ale reigning as king; every brewery has at least one if not three different IPAs on tap.
With the spread of small craft breweries popping up what seemed almost weekly, craft brewers out west began to take notice. One in particular is a race sponsor, which is Oskar Blues Brewing. Oskar Blues started in Colorado and they quickly took notice of the expansion occurring in Asheville and its surrounding communities and decided to settle about forty-five minutes away in the quaint town of Brevard. Oskar Blues is the first brewery to can their delicious craft creations. They knew that by canning their beers meant that the beer could travel on the trails, go to the beer friendly park on a hot day, or just crack one open on the porch. I know that when I finish the half on Saturday that I will immediately head to Oskar Blues’ tent and crack open their classic Dale’s Pale Ale because nothing says recovery like the absolute full-flavored hoppiness in a can after climbing, descending, and cruising along the trails of the Biltmore. I highly suggest you do as well, or try one of their other delicious crafted creations; I may go for the Old Chub, which is their scottish ale if the temperatures start to dip because it the smooth maltiness of the Old Chub will warm the cockles right up after a hard race effort.
So, good luck to you all and may your legs be swift and your beer be hoppy! Remember chasing PRs is a great goal, but remember what Mike Jones said, “Come for a good time, not for a fast time.” (And he knows a thing or two about racing many, many miles). May you train hard and drink crafted!