I’m currently in Baltimore for Pi Kappa Phi’s annual Mid-Year Leadership Conference. We hold the conference in four different cities over the course of two subsequent weekends. The conference’s goal is to train the incoming officers of our chapters and to inspire them to create positive changes in their chapters. Naturally, upon my arrival in a new city, I scouted out the well beloved local brews in the area. As luck would have it, our staff dinner was down the street from the Harbor Marriot and featured a slew of new brews to try.
The selection did not disappoint. Oliver has one hell of a black IPA in this beer, a tribute to the late great Ronnie James Dio. The brew is a veritable ‘rainbow in the dark,’ offering up a peppery bitterness that pops off the tongue in a delightful way.
Highland Brewing came to town in 1994 and was Asheville’s first brewery since Prohibition’s end. The town of Asheville has transformed into the Portland or the Fort Collins of North Carolina following the recent boom in breweries over the past few years. Said explosion couldn’t have come sooner, as the region south of the Mason-Dixon line has historically suffered a tragic absence of local brews.
Highland’s Gaelic Ale is masterful. It’s malty and hoppy, but involves those attributes without overpowering your taste buds with the destructive bitterness that often accompanies similar beers. I can’t recommend it enough.