When we opened in 2004, our bar business was considered secondary to actually producing food and taking care of our customers. Biltmore Village restaurants, with one now defunct exception, were popular with foodies that liked to have a glass of wine with dinner. There is not really a late night bar scene and Joe and I never really wanted to create one here. We had about 12 wines on our list (all by the glass for $6) and about the same number of beers. Most of the beers were either popular sellers - such as Michelob Ultra, Bud Light, and Guiness – or favorites of ours – like Newcastle and Tilburg’s Dutch Brown Ale.
If you have ever visited the restaurant and seen our bar area, you may have noticed that while the bar is large, the area behind it is pretty tight. Part of my interview process is to assess whether the person I am talking to has the personality to deal with bumping into other employees 50 times during a busy brunch and handling it with grace. Not scientific but useful when working here. We have no room to fit kegs (even the little cigar kegs) so our local beer options, when we opened, were limited to one brewery- Highland Brewing Company. This was not a bad thing, as their beers are excellent and Oscar Wong, the owner, was a customer. Highland bottled in 12 oz. bottles and this made it easy for us to store and serve them.
Now there are several options for local microbrews in bottles. Asheville Brewing Company, French Broad Brewing, and Pisgah Brewing all offer beers by the bottle, albeit in 22 ounce sizes. We carry at least a couple from each brewery and will be picking up the seasonal brews as well. Step in for a cold one and see why Asheville tied Portland, Oregon for Beer City USA this year.
If we could just fit another cooler in the place…