Beer I Have Known: Pisgah Pale Ale

This series of posts is dedicated to the many, many six packs, pony kegs and pints that have sauntered into my life at one point or another.

In a bit of fortuitous timing, we took up residence in our little mountain town just as the craft brew culture was truly ramping up. Down the road a stretch from the handsome college that kindly issues me a monthly paycheck there was a little brewery just getting underway. When I first visited, there was no bottles or cans to take away, no fancy tasting room. Patrons walked into the squat industrial building where they’d set up shop and headed straight for the brew room. There amidst the vats, emptied kegs, and piles of other excess material sat a group of intrepid beer connoisseurs sipping off pints that were filled from a spigot on the wall next to the walk-in cooler. Since the licensure for serving a little uncertain there was no price for the beer, but — ahem — donations were accepted. It was there and then I had my first Pisgah Pale Ale. Now, years later, Pisgah has a wide array of brews, in cans and bottles, and there’s barely a venue in the greater Asheville area that has tap lines that doesn’t list at least one of their products on the menu. I get spoiled by the abundance in our town, and I find myself chasing specialty beers or becoming enamored with whatever’s newest. I don’t drift back to Pisgah Pale often enough, but every time I do I’m dazzled anew by the first swig, usually verbalizing some variation on “Man, I love this beer — I need to get it more often.” If I need to give someone one beer to demonstrate why we value our local beer community, it’s this one, if only because it’s simultaneously excellent and the area baseline. I credit this as the beer that helped elevate the local scene: all the other breweries needed to make sure their flagship was on par with this. And anything intended to be special needed to be even better. As someone who appreciates a quality pint, I’m grateful for the level of competition Pisgah Pale Ale established.

Point Special
21st Amendment Bitter American
Abita Restoration Pale Ale
Rolling Rock
Skull Splitter
Highland Thunderstruck Coffee Porter
Red Stripe
Rhinelander Bock
Samuel Adams Boston Lager
New Glarus Brewing Company Wisconsin Belgian Red
ABA Hoppy Saison
Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager
Three Floyds Apocalypse Cow
French Broad Brewing Gateway Kolsch
Big Boss Brewing “High Monkey”
Stevens Point Brewery Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale
The Native Brewing Company The Eleven Brown Ale
Labatt Blue
Smuttynose Winter Ale
Point Beyond the Pale IPA
Capital Brewery Supper Club
Highland Brewing 20th Anniversary Scotch Ale
Central Waters Brewing Company Sixteen

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