The LAB (Lexington Avenue Brewery)
Active Beers: 24
Beer Ratings: 225
Beer Avg: 3.62
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 48 | Reviews: 37 | Show All Ratings:
2.93/5 rDev -20.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 3.75 | $$$
The third stop on our short July 4th brewpub tour of downtown Asheville was the LAB. It was the spot I was most looking forward to that day, mainly because the food sounded delicious and the reviews made it sound like it had the best beer downtown. This is by far the trendiest brewpub we came across during our time in the former Beer City USA. It wasn’t entirely unpleasant or unwelcome. While the place is lit up with colorful lights and everything looks brand new and a bit on the posh side, it still managed to seem inviting.
Not a complete dousch-hole is what I’m getting at here.
We bellied up to the bar after setting our soaked umbrellas on the floor and ordered the usual flight with some waters. The samples came back with a varying array of brews, including a pilsner, brown porter, IPA, pale, ESB, and blonde. Right off the bat I wasn’t impressed. The flight comes with tiny little glasses of beer, each barely enough for two people to get a tiny mouthful each. There’s nowhere near enough to get a proper smelling or tasting of the wares.
After trying a couple of the lighter options, I continued to be unimpressed but felt like the menu might make up for it. Plus I was getting pretty damn hungry. The menu is quite gastropubby and reads like mana from heaven. Truffle fries, Cuban pulled pork nachos, blue cheese burgers, lobster ravioli. The list goes on of mouthwatering options.
Eventually my fiancé and I settled on the drunken chicken sandwich – a grilled free-range chicken with whisky glazed bacon, arugula, carmelized peppers and onions, all sitting on a house-made hoagie. I mean, who wouldn’t want that? The sandwich that came back was a bit of a disappointment.
The hoagie roll was tiny, making it nigh impossible to actually get any of the ingredients between two pieces of bread to eat it like an actual sandwich. While my fiancé knife and forked her half, I basically ate mine like a messy flatbread sandwich. There was no other option. None of this would really be a problem if the taste delivered, but the chicken was rather dry, the bacon didn’t really have much flavor, and every now and then one of my bites would be extremely spicy and hot. I’m not sure if something made it on there that shouldn’t have, but I didn’t love it by any means.
After that heat that shouldn’t have been there, my taste buds were sort of shot for a while. So the remaining few tiny flight glasses we got to might have been better than I could detect, but in my state they all tasted flat and bland. I know that’s probably my own fault, but you’d think a good IPA could still cut through some of that.
And theirs didn’t.
Before leaving, we decided to give the nitro raspberry stout a go, since I’d read about how good it was and the assholes in the place don’t include it on their samplers. (What a dick move.) And either my taste buds had recovered by that time or this beer is the only one worth drinking here, but either way, it was absolutely fantastic and lived up to any and all of the hype.
If it wasn’t the best single beer I had my entire stay in Asheville, it was damn close.
01-19-2014 20:37:06 | More by bigkingken
3.23/5 rDev -12.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$$
Nice round bar setup in the middle of a large dining room area with open windows/doors up front when weather permits.
The food is quite impressive for a brewpub but the beers really are all lackluster. I tried them all and I really didn’t find one I wanted to have a full pint of. They had about 6-7 beers on draft and if I had to pick one that was decent I would have had the Roggenbier.
Service was nice but slow as the day is long. Staff has no knowledge of the product unfortunately.
10-11-2013 15:19:52 | More by claspada
3.84/5 rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75 | $$
I liked the place - modern and industrial with both indoor and outdoor seating areas which was great considering how nice a day it was. I visited in the early afternoon and while it was not too busy it had a pleasant buzz/energy about the place.
The beers were all served at the proper temperature but it seems like they only serve in pint glasses. The pours were generally pretty good leaving the proper amount of room for a nice head to form on the beers.
The bartender we dealt with was knowledgeable about the beers (and the Asheville area in general) and helpful in making suggestions on different beers the people in my party might enjoy. Friendly and attentive without being overbearing.
All of the beers available on draft are the beers for this brewery and they cover a range of styles, so everyone that I was with could find something they enjoy.
The food was hit and miss at this place, some was excellent and some was not too great. On the positive side, we had the seared watermelon salad that was excellent. While the pork bbq nachos were not something that I would order again - did not taste like it was made with fresh bbq but rather something that came out of a can. Presentation on both dishes was clean and nice.
Prices were reasonable and in line with what other breweries in Asheville are charging.
08-16-2013 11:37:47 | More by dbrauneis
3.83/5 rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75 | $$
Huge place in Downtown Asheville, large cavernous room with two full bars and lots of seats.
Seven selections on tap, I had the Amber, the IPA and the Pale. All were basic, but very good. There was a nitro berry stout that didn't look appetizing at all, I'd avoid that.
We split some nachos, huge portion and very good. There is a backstage area for comedy shows and the like that is very popular. This place gets packed early and often.
Service was good and quick, very friendly.
Overall, a little touristy but worth a stop, come see a show too.
08-10-2013 18:09:49 | More by TheDeuce
4.91/5 rDev +32.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75 | $$
If you are in or near Asheville NC do yourself a favor and stop by LaB.
Great food and great service, But both pale in comparison to the quality of the beer we had.
ESB was fantastic crisp and smooth drinking . Light bodied, low hop bitterness, medium alcohol, with malt and caramel flavors.
Brown porter, Creamy caramel flavors with a subtle hoppiness in the bitterness and aroma. Medium in body and alcohol, smooth and delicious.
Overall great experience.
07-17-2013 21:01:04 | More by awr84
2.79/5 rDev -24.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.75 | service: 3.25 | selection: 2 | food: 3 | $$
LAB is easily within walking distance to most places downtown, which adds to its charm, but in comparison to Asheville's other options, it falls short. Food is decent but more or less mediocre, beer is even moreso. I had a Raspberry Nitro porter which was warm enough to be on cask, under carbonated and desperately thin. Their Roggenbier was much better, but did little to salvage the establishment. The venue is wide open and has plenty of room, although its penchant for resembling a tourist trap means seats are hard to come by. The decor is nice enough and the staff is like any other restaurant: just pleasant enough to meet their job criteria. I didn't hate my visit, but the blasé cuisine and subpar beer selection makes it obvious that their primary motivation is to cater to tourists and not necessarily beer enthusiasts. If you just need to a place to visit, check out LAB. If you want a good beer and even better experience, look elsewhere.
07-14-2013 02:22:13 | More by TheBeerAlmanac
3.27/5 rDev -11.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3 | $$
LAB was in walking distance of a couple of our other Asheville destinations, so we decided to poke our heads in. Atmosphere...really wasn't my thing here. There's a nice large bar, and plenty of seating room, but the place looks like it was converted from an old grungy strip club, and the colorfully-lit bar could easily be the stage/walkway for the girls. Maybe my mind was just in the gutter, but that's the first thing I thought of. But hey, maybe they have something planned for the future!
The beer wasn't that great, and there wasn't much to choose from. Selections were: cream ale, amber, rye pale ale, hefe, IPA, porter. Nothing shocking, and nothing better than average as far as quality goes, and everything seemed to have a honey-like house flavor.
Service was fine. The bartender was a bit distant, but he served our beer quickly and with an explanation of the styles--not that we needed it, but it's good to know that they know about their own beer.
The food menu didn't look too interesting, so we decided to eat at a different venue. Prices seemed reasonable.
I wasn't too impressed by this place at all, and I'd have no problem passing it over on any future visits to Asheville.
06-18-2013 01:54:20 | More by Rifugium
3.75/5 rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $$
The atmosphere of the LAB is constantly bustling, even at lunch when we usually get to make our way over while in Asheville. Their food menu selection is terrific (Kobe Beef sliders and their Turkey Sandwich are always a good choice). Their beer selection is also not lacking. Take advantage of their home-brew beer flights!
06-07-2013 17:49:39 | More by hannahleedavis_k9SAR
3.8/5 rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4 | $$
Vibe: This is an industrial-looking place featuring a curvy bar and curvy walls. There's a large curved window towards the back that lets you look into the brewery's tanks. The front doesn't have any outdoor seating, but there are large garage door-like windows that open up and provide plenty of fresh air and breezes. I came by here early in an afternoon so it wasn't too crowded but when I passed by the place the evening before, it was packed and looked like a popular space to hang out.
Quality: Beers were served in the proper temperature in the proper glassware.
Service: I sat at the bar so service was rather prompt.
Selection: A total of seven of their beers were available on tap so there was a nice range of different styles.
Food: I tried the cheese plate and sliders as appetizers, which had a very nice presentation and were also quite tasty.
Overall: All pints were $3 when I came as part of a beer week special, so I couldn't complain much about the value of what I got.
05-28-2013 12:52:07 | More by metter98
3.53/5 rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4.25 | $$
This is a really cool place in Asheville. The beer quality isn't high, the beer is average. Selection is what you'd expect as they only carry their own. I love the food here, not fine dining but very good. Make sure you get an order of pretzels. Large soft pretzels are my favorite thing to get while sitting back and enjoying the scene!
05-26-2013 03:25:44 | More by NastyNate11
The LAB (Lexington Avenue Brewery) in Asheville, NC
85 out of 100 based on 48 ratings.