I’ve heard people view the ways that people’s allergies, dietary preferences, and other restrictions have changed the cuisine landscape depicted as a challenge, the old “what can we possibly serve at dinner that avoids all the allergies while respecting vegan, vegetarian, and other needs?” question.
What I’ve found, instead, is that any kind of constraint on my cooking and eating helps me delve deeper into novelty and discover combinations I’d never try without it. I wouldn’t have discovered some of my now-favorite foods if I didn’t have vegan family members.
Similarly, the desire to choose hangout places that don’t require my gluten-free friends to drink gluten-y beer has helped me stumble on delicious treats like cider and, as in today’s case, ginger beer!
Ginger’s Revenge is a brewery that makes various flavors of alcoholic ginger beer. Their bottles are present at many local grocery stores, and they are a great option for a truly refreshing flavor – ginger is such a nice and gentle pep-up for me. They have breweries in multiple locations in town, but my main haunt is their North Asheville brewery at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Broadway, in the same shopping spot as Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff.
I love the story behind Ginger’s Revenge. The co-founders learned about how simple it was to make ginger beer when their homebrew hobby was interrupted due to a year-long move to Panama, where it was harder to source standard beer ingredients. They combined ginger, sugar, and citrus juice and brewed one gallon of ginger beer, which they’d occasionally drink on its own or add some rum to it.
Once they realized in 2013 that this drink was popular at homebrew festivals and award competitions, they incorporated Ginger’s Revenge and opened up in 2017. Now they have hundreds of gallons brewing at a time, with distribution all over NC, SC, and Ohio.
People want this naturally gluten-free, effervescent refresher that draws its flavor from real food ingredients. They’ve opened two separate taprooms, though, at the time of writing, they’ve chosen to focus on their Riverside Drive location, with open hours every day of the week.
They definitely embrace the brewery-chic of Asheville: from strings of Edison lights to visible brewing equipment to high ceilings with a concrete floor, the space has many of the standard craft-beverage-taproom looks. When you walk in, you’ll pass a couple picnic tables and, usually, a food truck under the overhang that helps them serve up dinner options even when there’s inclement weather.
I find this a good option for where to sit when you want a little outdoors space or, honestly, when the inside gets loud – Ginger’s Revenge has been echoey and loud the times I’ve visited, which is many people’s cup of tea but doesn’t quite work if you came in for a ginger brew and a chat with a friend.
If you aren’t sure what to order but do like ginger as a rule, I think your best bets are either the standard Ginger’s Revenge or the Lime Agave. These two drinks err on the side of refreshing and don’t overdo it with a lot of additional flavors.
If you’re a bit more adventurous, the Hibiscus Lavender brings a sour and botanical twist on the ginger beer riff, and the Cranberry Herb is my go-to for bringing to family Thanksgiving events, though most of the rest of the year it’s a bit too cranberry-y for me. If you’re in most of the markets and grocery stores around Asheville that sell beer and wine, these four flavors will frequently be available.
The fun part of going to the taproom itself, though, is that you get more access to the seasonal flavors, and some of them are hidden gems. I tried a butterbeer-themed ginger beer slushie when I was at a Harry Potter Trivia Night, and while very sweet, it was a totally lovely version of the iconic Harry Potter drink.
The taproom hosts many events, and going for a theme night almost always guarantees access to the latest ginger beer seasonals and experimental brews, if not also an on-point slushie drink made with ginger beer and all manner of other flavorful goodness.
They do bottle some of their seasonal drinks. Their Fall Harvest ginger beer is perfect for the person who loves a pumpkin spice anything but doesn’t want their treats to be frighteningly sweet, and the Pineapple Jalapeño is the perfect pairing drink with a really good and fresh dish of tamales, arepas, or tacos.
I think my favorite is the Caramelized Fig & Vanilla, both because it’s a sweet delight and because I run into fig flavors in booze basically never. Finally, the holiday-themed Chocolate & Orange Peel ginger beer is a lovely option for taking to Christmas parties or just sipping while watching a roaring fire in the fireplace – you cannot go wrong!
In the taproom, you’ll find an easy-going atmosphere where well-mannered dogs are welcome, kids can hang out and drink from the various non-alcoholic options, and the space is large and inviting. Events you might consider visiting include various types of bands, comedy shows, an interactive murder mystery night, and food trucks of various kinds, from gourmet grilled cheeses to barbecue and everything in between.
In the past, they’ve done fun mid-week events where people can come and try an experimental brew for just a few hours in the afternoons, with people who try a whole series of experiments entered to win a prize. A friend of mine who is a remote worker has said it’s got the right vibe for finishing out some low-intensity emailing and other work while sipping a low-proof ginger beer in a nice environment – a good place to get out of the house.
Whatever reason brings you to Ginger’s Revenge, you’ll enjoy the excellent flavors, pleasant service, and comfy set-up of the taproom on Riverside Drive. It’s a particularly nice option when you want to show friends and family something off the beaten path in downtown, and it’s not a particularly far drive from downtown due to being so close to I-26 – well worth it for a place where everyone can find something to like!
Ginger’s Revenge: 829 Riverside Dr #100, Asheville
Have you been to Ginger’s Revenge? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!
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