By Chris Heagney
The relationship between food and beverage has long been a point of interest, spanning across an array of cuisines. Industries, cultures and traditions have been born from food and drink pairings. French kitchens and vineyards have evolved side by side for centuries, and the pickled foods of Russia seem to have a distinct bond with the icy vodka that is often served alongside them.
In America, we have a penchant for taking traditions and reviving, reinventing, fusing and dismantling them. The ultramodern craft beer culture is an example of this. From intensely hoppy or hazy IPAs to decadent and boozy, barrel-aged ales, the wave of our extreme flavor experiments has been felt around the globe, even pervading historically conventional beer cultures like that of the United Kingdom.
There are certainly archetypal American experiences such as football and jazz, but as a melting pot, Americans enjoy culinary staples and specialties from all over the world. That said, if one had to choose a quintessentially American cuisine, barbecue would be a top contender. And in Asheville, when one hears barbecue, 12 Bones is likely the first restaurant to come to mind. “We don’t believe there’s only one right style of barbecue and we’re not big on rules,” says the 12 Bones website. “You’ll find our recipes draw inspiration from all over the South (and sometimes the North), from old family favorites to new ones we’ve just whipped up.” Beginning this month, 12 Bones will continue to strike the delicate balance between rule breaking and tradition by brewing their very own beer.
12 Bones has brought on brewmaster Scott Hettig to spearhead its beer program. Hettig brings brewing experience from Milwaukee, Cleveland and Germany. Operating out of 12 Bones’ 15-barrel brewhouse, he will be able to produce enough beer for the taproom and both restaurants. Hettig plans to offer a regular lineup on draft and feature one special release per month.
With full command over both food and beverage, 12 Bones owners Bryan and Angela King are very excited about pairing the two. “The sky is the limit,” Bryan says. “Our brewmaster used the 12 Bones Smokehouse cookbook for inspiration in coming up with beer ideas that complement our menu offerings. While you will be able to enjoy traditional beer styles, we will also throw some curveballs into the mix. Do you like our signature Blueberry Chipotle sauce? Then you’ll really enjoy our Blueberry Chipotle Weissebier! Coming from a brewpub background, our brewmaster loves collaborating with the kitchens and coming up with Beer Dinners, pairings and other special events.”
Welcome 12 Bones to the Asheville brewing community by enjoying a beer at the restaurant in the River Arts District or the restaurant/brewery in Arden.
For more information, visit 12Bones.com. Christopher Heagney is the owner of Daidala Ciders, located in Asheville at the Historic Cotton Mill Studios at 122 Riverside Drive, Unit G.