Jill: The newest of Asheville’s breweries (opening in 2010), Lexington Avenue Brewery was our first stop on our week-long tour.
Jill: With decor resembling that of an upscale martini bar or nightclub, LAB features an array of tempting bar foods to go alongside their beers, which are only available at the bar or to-go in growlers. To create a trifecta of entertainment—just in case beer and food aren’t enough—behind the bar is a second bar and music venue.
Jill: As with most places in Asheville, access was easy. It took two questions to be able to gain entrance to both the brew master and the brewing process.
Ben: Ben Pierson, LAB’s head brewer, cut his teeth in the industry by learning from German master brewers, and it shows in his selection of beers. In addition to a hefeweizen, a German wheat ale, Pierson brews a dunkelweizen (translating to “dark wheat”), an unusual choice for an American brewer. His Dunkelweizen essentially combines the banana and clove flavors of his hefeweizen with a dark malt bill, which is evident in the beer’s appearance and roastier flavor. Both weizens were world class, similar in quality to, and brewed with the same yeast as the world-renowned weizens of the Weihenstephaner brewery in Freising, Germany.
Ben: While the Dunkelweizen stole the show as far as uniqueness, LAB’s more conventional styles stood out, as well. Their Belgian-style witbier (White Ale) was crisp, and was flavored with coriander, chamomile, and orange peel—but not to the point of overwhelming the palette. Their Oktoberfest sported tasty caramelized malt flavors, and clocked in at a surprisingly hefty 7% ABV. They offered a tasty and balanced American Pale Ale, and a downright delicious and hoppy India Pale Ale, the latter of which we took home a growler for later. Last, but not least, was a Chocolate Stout served on nitro-tap, injecting nitrogen into the brew as it is poured, making the beer incredibly smooth and reminiscent of chocolate milk.
Ben’s Favorite Beer: India Pale Ale
Lexington Avenue Brewery
39 North Lexington Ave.
Asheville, North Carolina 28801