Ben: Located below street level in the basement of a warehouse-turned-artist colony, Wedge Brewing Co. was perhaps the most off-beat of any of the breweries we visited as far as location and interior vibe.
Jill: Per usual for this trip, we arrived prior to the brewery opening. The tasting room was miniscule, and I found myself feeling a little sad for this out-of-the-way, tiny, unappreciated brewery. I felt this way until people started pouring in and ordering beers. The place went from empty to instant happy hour in about 12 minutes. Wedge did not need my pity; if anything, it needed me to move my ass so more people could sit down. Lucky for Ashevillians, if there’s not room to cozy up to the bar, Wedge’s brews are available at close to ten area restaurants.
Ben: The tasting began with their Julian Price Pilsner, a surprisingly flavorful Czech Pilsner. Malt and noble hop flavor was apparent in what is normally a very mild and subdued style, and was enhanced by a somewhat low level of carbonation (which was a theme at this brewery). Next was Payne’s Pale Ale, brewed with rye and cascade hops to give the beer both a spicy and citrusy-bitter flavor—a great combination.
Ben: One of our favorites, surprisingly, was their Abbey Ale, a Belgian Dubbel. I often find that a little bit of Belgian yeast, which imparts a spicy and sour flavor to beer, goes a long way. In this case, though, the Belgian yeast feature of the Abbey Ale was somewhat subdued. This beer tasted of dark fruit and caramel, and was delicious.
Ben: Upon entering Wedge’s taproom, we were confronted with a printed photo of “Gollum” from the Lord of the Rings movies, which was accompanied by a stern message which was something to the effect of, “Limit 3, or you’ll look like this the next day”. Wedge’s Golem, a Belgian Tripel, did not disappoint, with a well-hidden 8.5% ABV. Unlike the Abbey Ale, the Belgian yeast was in full-force here, and aided by the brewer’s addition of Belgian candy sugar during fermentation, producing a strong, intensely fruity, spicy and sweet beer.
Ben: Much like Craggie’s Herkulean IPA, Wedge took our expectation of a typical IPA and gave it a twist. The Iron Rail IPA was representative of an English-style IPA, with English hops (Kent Golding) making up the majority of the hop bill. While the addition of some American hops provided the bitterness for this brew, the emphasis on the softer, more herbal English hops allowed the malt backbone to share the spotlight and make a more balanced IPA. The result was an earthy and maltier-than-average IPA that could probably pass as an American Pale Ale in many bars.
Finally, the addition of maple and carob to the Community Porter took a fairly common style of beer and gave it a sweeter flavor, with strong notes of coffee. Smooth and delicious.
Ben’s Favorite Beer: Abbey Ale (by a slight margin)
Wedge Brewing Co.
125B Roberts Street
Asheville, North Carolina 28801