Thursday, September 26, 2013

Creekside Taphouse - Asheville, NC

I’m going to try to keep this review short, but I already know I can’t.

I was in Asheville, NC with some friends watching the Divisional roller derby tournament. One of the volunteers helped me out with some food recommendations – during which he said “always trust a fat man’s food recommendations”. I told him we needed some good Carolina BBQ and he suggested this place. He also warned me it appears to be in a residential neighborhood, so don’t be alarmed when you get near it.

The place is large. There’s a pretty large dining room with some tall tables and short tables and bar seating. Then there’s the outside patio – which is like a wonderland. The place is really designed for outside maximization. There’s a bar outside, but there’s so much more:

A designated area for bags/cornhole/bean bag toss.

There’s a sand volley ball court (with a few bocce balls in it).

There’s a fenced-in children’s playground.

There’s skee ball and basketball hoops.

But the best feature is this awesome creek running next to the building. They’ve put picnic tables with umbrellas next to it. Such an awesome idea.

The menu at Creekside Taphouse has some delicious things on it – both for carnivores and for vegetarians. We saw something called Piggy Pockets that we all knew we wanted, so we got an order of those. Then we put in our orders for some delicious BBQ-ness! I got a club sandwich, which I understand is enormous, but they had an option to add beef brisket to it – so I DID. And I got sweet potato fries. Myrna got a half slab of BBQ ribs with a side of IPA collard greens. A-Wow got the beef brisket platter with mac and cheese. And Sarah got a burger and fries. All sandwiches can be order Michael Bolton style – which turns out means “extra cheesy”. That slays me.

The place has a serious beer menu, as well. Lots of local stuff, which our group is a fan of trying. I got a Gaelic Ale from Asheville’s Highland Brewing Company. It’s a fantastic amber ale that we had been drinking all weekend. Then I saw something called Red Devil from Pisgah Brewing. It is a Belgian-style ale made with cherries and raspberries, but is also 9% ABV. Boom! This might be the best beer I’ve ever had. I drank two of these (since A-Wow was driving).

The Piggy pockets came out and were fought over. Here’s the description of them, “Puff pastries of love filled with smoked pork, caramelized onions, and roasted corn. Served with spicy garlic sauce.” That’s exactly what they were. Puffy pillows filled with meat. I might have overstepped my bounds when I stole A-Wow’s last one.

But he got over it quickly when he ordered a second order. A spite order, I believe. Nicely done.

The beef brisket A-Wow got was good. A tad dry, but when you add the awesome sauces Creekside has, it apparently got MUCH better. Nice and tender with some good smokey flavor.

The mac and cheese was pretty good, as well. Nothing game changing, but still wonderful.

Myrna’s half slab of ribs was nice and saucey. She loved it. The meat wasn’t falling off the bone tender, but she was able to get the bones mostly clean. The sauce was smokey and not vinegary and she seemed pleased with this dish.

The collard greens were made with IPA and were just ok. I’ve become a collard green snob, and while these were good, I expected them to be much better this far south. They weren’t bad or anything, but I might have had my expectation set too high.

The burger got good reviews from Sarah, but she said she had had better fries.

I saved the best for last. I was warned the club sandwich was a force to be reckoned with. It’s massive. It also has a grilled cheese sandwich right in the middle of it. It is a triple-stacked club with smoked pork, sliced ham, smoked turkey, and smoked bacon. Then they throw on a couple of fried green tomatoes and club ranch sauce. Oh yeah – and I had added beef brisket to it. Serious sandwich. The awesome waitress we had, Kristen, said she’d be surprised if I ate the whole thing, especially after we ordered the Piggy Puffs. I’m happy to report, I killed that club sandwich! It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. I had to use a fork and knife to cut it into bite-able pieces, since there’s no way to get it in your mouth. But I loved it. Great smokey flavor in all of the meats. Delicious cheesy goodness. Incredible fried green tomatoes, and the sauce tied it all together. I’ll also add the sweet potatoes fries were top-notch, as well. Very thick, but not floppy and not too sweet.

This was one of the best meals I had all weekend in Asheville.

In fact, it was so good, we got a bunch of the Minnesota RollerGirls to come back that evening with us for round two. I also had to make sure I drank more of the Red Devil.

This go around, D.Rough and I split an order of fried wings with Cheerwine-habanero glaze on them. Some of the best wing flavor I’ve ever had. Awesome combination of sweet and hot.

D.Rough got the pulled pork to which she experimented with some delicious sauces.

I got the HNG Chili Dawg Plate. Two local hot dogs covered in chili and cheese and coleslaw. Soooo good!!!! I’m pretty sure people were happy with this particular venue. We made a serious dent in their alcohol supply that night. Thanks for all your help, Savannah!

I’ll recommend the heck out of this place to anyone. Vegetarians, even! Really awesome people working there and the BBQ is fantastic. Plus, you have the added benefit of getting some bar-sports-exercise while you’re there. Go Here!!!!

Top 5 things about Creekside Taphouse
1. Creekside BBQ Club
2. Amazing outdoor patio with creek
3. Red Devil Belgian Ale
4. Thorough menu for food and beer
5. HNG Chili Dawg Plate

Bottom 5 things
1. The place gets loud, especially lots of children noise outside
2. You have to get up and go to the BBQ sauce station to get sauce
3. Collard greens were a little underseasoned
4. People complained about the cornbread being dry and not sweet, but I assured them it’s a regional thing and how some people like it
5. seems like a lot of wasted space on the inside, but the patio is where you need to hang out

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