Asheville Brewing's Perfect Day IPA is a really nice combination of downable and mean. Pours yellow/orange with decent foam. Aroma has some kick to it, a little bit floral and a little bit pungent. The flavor is even better. Well balanced, bright, tangy, tart, some lemon, some crackery notes. I could get behind this thing regularly.
Rocket Girl is a lager by Asheville Brewing. It's not a bad lager, but more or less just one more lager. It pours bright yellow with a little foam. The aroma is one more lager, maybe a little richer than the corn/rice macro stuff at every convenience store. There’s something slightly tangy on the nose. The flavor is slightly tangy in the close. I don’t know, I guess it doesn’t suck or whatever.
Asheville's Lemon Space Dog IPA is a wheat beer. It's a big pile of lemon meringue sweetness, but not in a bad way. This beer pours very bright yellow with no real head to speak of. The aroma is like lemon candy and mildly yeasty notes. The flavor is more of that with a tiny bit of zing in the finish. I think this beer is fairly tasty.
Ninja Porter is Asheville Brewing's flagship porter. It's not an unusual or surprising porter, but a solid one. Pours dark, chocolate brown with little head. The aroma is coffee, chocolate, porter malts. The flavor is the same, but it closes with a slight but nice hoppy twang. I’d drink this again.
Ninjabread Man is a seasonal variant on Asheville's Ninja Porter. It pours dark brown with a lot of foam. The aroma is sweet and rich. Cinnamon, ginger, sugar, sweet Christmasy notes. The flavor is the same, with notes of molasses and spice rounding out the warm, malty porter finish. This beer is very enjoyable.
Hardywood continues to impress with barrel aging. The barrel aged version of Gingerbread Stout is complex, it’s spinning a lot of plates at once. But it doesn’t drop a single one, and the show is glorious. This beer pours big and brown with average head. The aroma is just a series of clamoring nosegasms. Everything you might think could possibly be there is there in spades, with vanilla and ginger and spice and raisins all blending perfectly into that delicious stout malt base. The flavor manages to pack it all in there, keep the tones bright and distinct, and not lose a bit of it. This ain’t noise. This is music. At once there is a rush of bourbon barrel aging, cinnamon, candied fruit, candied nuts, and big, sweet malt. It never gets old. It never becomes cloying. It’s crazy. I am so completely Hardywood’s bitch right now, and if anyone gave me a hard time about it, I’d point to beers like this. If I ever have another child, I’m naming that kid Hardywood.