This week is the 1st anniversary of Wicked Weed, so I decided to write a few things in celebration of them.
I know, I know, Wicked Weed isn’t a Raleigh brewery and this is a blog about beer in the Raleigh area, but hopefully you’ve been paying attention to what’s been going on with Wicked Weed in the Raleigh area over the past few weeks. Multiple bottle shops around town got kegs of Freak of Nature the week before Christmas. Three shops (Beer Study, Bottle Revolution, and Sam’s Quik Shop) were invited to partake in their 1 year anniversary celebration in conjunction with the brewery, for which special kegs were available. Anyone who hasn’t made the pilgrimage to the brewery in Asheville…go now! Get in your car and make the trek up there. It is a phenomenal place. I have been several times and if it wasn’t 3.5 hours away, I would have been there for their anniversary party.
I was in Asheville for a bachelor party back in May. I went up a day early with the sole purpose of spending the day there and needless to say it was well worth it. The upstairs has a bar, patio and restaurant that is open all day. The downstairs has a bar and patio that opens later in the afternoon, and is the only place where they have the Wicked Wood Series and Funkatorium beers available. It just so happened that on this very day they were releasing their collaboration with Foothills called Batch 69 (a blend of the Freak and Sexual Chocolate)…so it was obviously a sign that it was exactly where I was supposed to be. As part of the bachelor party we went to a beer festival in Asheville and after making quick rounds to some of the other local breweries that were participating, I spent most of the afternoon at the Wicked Weed tent. When we went out later that evening to go bar hopping, I was constantly encouraging everyone that we needed to go back there. For the guys that were against going…by the time they tried the Freak (now called the Freak of Nature…but it will always be the Freak to me), they regretted that they didn’t listen to me sooner. When my wife and I went back for the wedding (also in Asheville), we made it our mission to visit Wicked Weed each day we were there, and we succeeded. There are some other really good breweries in Asheville, but Wicked Weed was definitely my favorite.
Just a few quick notes after attending the anniversary party held at Bottle Revolution…it was amazing. I thought that it would be excellent and it didn’t disappoint. They brought in the Devilwood (a strong Belgian Blonde), Oblivion Sour Red, Milk and Cookies Stout, Prancer (an Imperial Brown Ale), Freak of Nature DIPA, Lupulin Lab IPA, and their Anniversary Barleywine. I was able to try them all except the Lupulin and even though some of the styles were not my favorite…they were all done exceptionally well. Just goes to show…Wicked Weed can do no wrong.
Even though I haven’t been able to find anything confirming any expansion or distribution across the state…I think its just a matter of time. This beer is too good and in too high of demand to limit to just Asheville. I’m yet to hear of a single person that had anything bad to say about the brewery. I’m hoping their use of bottle shops in Raleigh to get Freak of Nature more on the map is just the beginning of what will become a large market expansion of more of their beers. North Carolina already has a pretty good reputation when it comes to beer, but Wicked Weed would really put us on the map if their distribution footprint leaves NC. They are already getting national recognition in the beer world with their gold medal at the GABF (Great American Beer Festival), and that may just be the tip of the iceberg. I read about 6 weeks back that there were whispers (Check out this article) of them bottling sometime soon. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this is the case.