Today, we introduce a new writer here at A Good Beer Blog, Josh Marlow, who wrote this when I asked him about himself:
I'm 25, living in Raleigh, NC, and recently married. I have a degree in chemical engineering and a degree in English. We both have families in Asheville, which is probably the biggest beer hub and brewing center in NC. I've been home brewing for a little over a year now and my ensuing desire to make excellent beer caused me to read prolifically, drink voraciously and try to learn what distinguishes a good beer. I've recently took the BJCP judge certification test but I haven't gotten the results back yet. My favorite types are stout and doppelbock, although I am also a big fan of weizens.Excellent! A voice from the US southeast is what I have been hoping to attract for a while now and one with those two particular degrees should make for an interesting one. Anyway, here is Josh's first post. Click on the pics for bigger views.
From the moment you begin the long climb up the creaking stairs to Mitch’s Tavern in Raleigh, NC you can sense that you’re in for something a little different. The subtle aromas of wood, spices, and tobacco hang in the air, comforting and inviting. Once at the top of the stairs the dim lighting and glowing polished wood that adorns everything, the bar, the walls, the tables, and the chairs help to offset the eclectic decor. Model airplanes hang over the bar, a deer head hangs over a booth, giant Christmas lights wind their way around the room, and interspersed with it all hang countless paintings of subjects as varying as the hunt of the stag to a ballerina putting on her shoes.
Despite being across the street from NC State University the crowd isn’t all students. It may get a little raucous on a game night, but on the average night it's possible to talk comfortably with friends. The music isn't insufferably loud, and is a pleasant mix from the waitstaff's iPods varying from funky jazz, to the best of The Cure, to a 90's mix in the span of a dinner. The food ranges from sandwiches such as the "Jessie Helms," a corn beef Rueben, to chili dishes such as Rudalpho's Feast, and salads. All of the food is inexpensive, filling and tasty.
The best part about Mitch's is that it's a comfortable place to eat, drink, and chat whether on a weekend, or a weekday - and that the atmosphere lends itself easily to return visits. It's the kind of place I'm happy to visit every week. In fact there was a period of time that my wife and I frequented Mitch’s enough that a waitress introduced herself at a concert as "our Mitch’s waitress."
For a small pub located across the street from a university Mitch's has a good beer selection. I went with a Carolina Brewing Company Pale Ale. It pours a clear light copper with a persistent white head of fine bubbles. The aroma is a crisp and clean and mostly comprised of floral hops with some sweet malt background poking through. The flavor is much like the aroma with some initial sweetness before shifting to a bitterness that while less then expected is still apparent. A nice moderate hop flavor makes an appearance before the beer finishes dry. It's a decent beer but not one that I would seek out.
In addition to the typical brew choices Mitch's offers offer other selections from NC craft brewers including bottled versions of Asheville’s Highland Brewery Gaelic Ale, and Oatmeal Porter. On draft they offer Duck Rabbit’s Milk Stout and, in addition to their pale ale, Carolina Brewing’s Nut Brown Ale, and their seasonal selection which for the summer is the Carolina Summer Ale. Mitch's even has a handful of out–of-state craft brewers in bottles including Flying Dog Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada’s Porter and Pale Ale, and Terrapin Rye Pale Ale. It's not an amazing beer selection but it's definitely enough for a satisfactory night, or a pale ale showdown.