ON AND OFF THE BEATEN PATH: A Quickie from Asheville

by David Daugherty on April 28, 2011

Although I was in Asheville for a few days, there just wasn’t enough time to visit all the breweries I would have liked.  So instead, I was able to go to the local market and buy some of those beers that I really wanted to try and French Broad Brewing Company was one of those.  I picked up three 22oz bottles and all three

were very different but distinct beers.  The first one I had was 13 Rebels E.S.B.  The bottle really stands out as there is a skull and crossbones with 13 stars around the side of the skull.  Poured into a pint glass, this copper colored extra special bitter was an easy drinking session beer due to the low ABV at 5.6%.  Nicely carbonated with a fruity aroma, malty mouth feel and a moderate bitter finish thanks to the addition of East Kent Golding hops.

The second beer was Rye Hopper Ale, described by the brewery as “An Asheville interpretation of an American Rye Ale. The rye malt character is accompanied by a distinctively heady American hop profile and a smooth, bittersweet finish.”  Deep amber in color, there was a great balance between spices and malt giving it a bready mouth feel.  The overall taste was of the strong citrus type, maybe grapefruit, with such an aroma as well.  Not a strong alcohol presence with an ABV of 5.9% which only adds to this beer’s drinkability.

Finally,  Wee-Heavy-Er Scotch Ale.  This is French Broad’s best selling beer.  The color is dark red.  The aroma is strong with caramel, peat and bread and the mouth feel also translates these aromas.  I found this to be your garden variety good, balanced Scotch Ale but that is not to say I did not enjoy it.  The ABV at 7% makes this an easy drinking, smooth ale.  I liked the faint chocolate finish.

Overall, all 3 French Broad beers were impressive and I would imbibe in their beers more if they  were available outside this area.

Ed: And the heartiest Congrats to Asheville NC from us all at YBN for being voted by Beerficianados, Beer City USA 2011!

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