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Asheville Beer City Top 50: Craft Brews, Pubs, Cideries, Events

Also see: Sierra Nevada Brewery | New Belgium Brewery | Downtown Asheville | Nightlife | Performing Arts | Asheville Restaurants | Downtown Coffee Shops | Downtown Asheville Chocolate Tour | Downtown Wine Bars | Oktoberfest | The Orange Peel | Asheville Tourists Baseball | Top 12 Foodie Favorites | Moonshine Train
Sister Bad Habit Ale
The beer scene in Asheville is heavenly. See photos and videos of "nuns" celebrating the release of the Sister Bad Habit Ale.

Asheville's beer scene features an amazing selection of bars, brewpubs, micro craft breweries, cideries and restaurants. Sample 100+ local brews from dozens of western North Carolina mountain craft breweries. Asheville, per capita, has one of the highest rates of craft brew consumption in the Southeast. Accolades include being named Beer City USA for four years in a row, Forbes Travel Guide 5 Beer Cities To Hit This Summer and CNN 8 Best Beer Towns in the USA. Sample some excellent brews, enjoy some great food, and meet some very interesting people along the way.

Here are our top picks for beer the Asheville area. Many of the spots are located downtown Asheville within walking distance of each other. Also see our guide to the best downtown Asheville bars for wine and cocktails.

Asheville Craft Micro Brewery & Beer Lover's Guide

Amazing Pubcycle
The Amazing Pubcycle
Ride through downtown on a wicked-cool 13-person pedal powered (motor assisted) contraption like no other. Imagine riding your bike sideways, hanging out at your favorite pub on wheels. Join for mixer tours of downtown or private party tours. Pubcycle is a BYOB activity, so get your brew on! Seven days April-October, weekends November-March. Click here to view their Web site.

Asheville Brewery Tours
BREW-ed Brewery & History Walking Tours
Take the only brewery tour in Asheville led by a certified beer expert! Learn how beer is made and how to taste it. Get special access to Asheville's breweries and learn the stories behind the pints. On the short walks between breweries, your guide will share stories of the early days of Asheville.
Click here to view their Web site.

Highland Brewing Co (12 Old Charlotte Highway, Asheville): They started brewing in Asheville in 1994 and they are the biggest craft beer brewery in western North Carolina. You will find their brews in many area restaurants and stores. Stop by their Tasting Room east Asheville to sample tasty brews and hang out with staff on Thursday-Saturday, 4-8 PM. Guided tours are Monday-Saturday at 4 PM. See our guide to Highland Brewing and their tours.

Sierra Nevada opens its east coast brewery in south Asheville near the airport in Fall 2014 with tours and tastings. Take a free guided tour with a beer tasting. Read more and see pics and video from the tour!

Troy and Sons Distillers(12 Old Charlotte Highway, Asheville): Located next to Highland Brewing in the former Southern Railway Wheelhouse, the distillery houses a custom-made 2,000-liter copper moonshine Kothe Still and state of the art distilling equipment needed to produce high quality spirits. Tours are on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Their Moonshine is available now mostly in North Carolina ABC Stores. See our guide to Troy & Sons Moonshine Distillery.

Cedric's Tavern (Biltmore Estate): Named for George Vanderbilt's beloved Saint Bernard, Cedric, this warm, relaxing tavern overlooks the village green at Antler Hill Village. The décor, ambience, and menu pay tribute to the neighborhood pubs of Britain and Ireland. On tap are Biltmore's own Cedric's Pale Ale and Cedric's Brown Ale. Click here to visit their web site.

Pack’s Tavern (20 South Spruce St): A great place thanks to an extensive renovation of an historic building downtown by Pack Square Park, in front of City Hall. Much care was taken to expose the original brick, original tongue and groove ceiling and wood trusses, and to uncover the 100-year-old flooring. Pack's Tavern carefully pair beer styles with food items on the menu and rotate 30 or more local, national, and international craft beers to offer the best selection available. The large eclectic menu features over 60 items; everything from signature salads to hand-pattied burgers, from wonderful appetizers to fresh cut steaks and seafood.

Thirsty Monk (92 Patton Avenue, in the big purple building): Recognized by national media as one of the best beer bars in the world, and dedicated to keeping their beer menu fresh, they tap a whopping 1,000+ different beers a year. The upstairs bar is a bright and lively space that features American Craft Beers with 20 constantly rotating tap lines. High ceilings and a hopping atmosphere complete with large glass doors that open onto the outdoor porch – perfect for having a beer while you watch Asheville walk by. Or, take the stairs down to the basement level where you'll find the Belgian Bar (50 Commerce St.)/ The stone walls, rustic wood and leather couches invite you to relax and take your time enjoying one (or more) of the 16 Belgian, European and RARE beers on draught at any time. An extensive leather-bound bottle list will impress beer-snobs and novices alike. Both floors offer a unique “Beer You Can Eat” menu that incorporates local beers into the recipes Mon-Sat.  Late nights and Sundays you can order small bites...don't miss the addicting Monk Nuts.

Lexington Avenue BreweryLexington Avenue Brewery (39 N. Lexington Avenue, downtown Asheville): Also known as the LAB, this brewery pub and restaurant features a 92-foot serpentine bar that snakes the brewing equipment and glows with changing colored lights. Enjoy typical a typical pub menu and a variety of brews: Belgian wit, a golden pilsner, dark chocolate stout, an American pale ale, an India pale ale and a marzen (or Oktoberfest).

Jack of the Wood (95 Patton Avenue, downtown Asheville): This lively, Celtic-style pub features handcrafted English style ales are brewed at their nearby brewing facility and served fresh daily. At any given time, the mash tun and fermenters are giving life to a new batch of handcrafted brew under the watchful eye of our resident brewer John Stuart, who is producing up to 21 thirty-one gallon barrels of beer a week. The beer flows almost non-stop in the pub. Using English and Belgian yeasts and specialty grains gives the beers their unique appeal and distinctive style. On a typical evening at Jack's, you will find many of the patrons gathered around the black walnut bar or at long tavern tables, engaged in conversation through which the taboo subjects of art, religion and politics are heavily woven. Others play darts or scan the papers while sipping pints of ale or munching on a plate of fish and chips, while local musicians are fiddling away on Irish reels or picking some olde time mountain music in the corner.

Barley's Taproom (42 Biltmore Avenue, downtown Asheville): A renovated 1920s appliance store is home to Barley's Taproom, where fresh sourdough pizza, lasagna, and sandwiches are served up daily. The stage showcases live bluegrass, jazz, and Americana music 3-4 nights a week with no cover charge. The downstairs bar has 24 taps featuring the South's best selection of American craft brewed beers. Upstairs is the Billiard Room with four regulation slate billiard tables that are available by the hour. Five regulation dart lanes are available for private and tournament play also. An additional 19 taps are highlighted at the upstairs bar.

Beer GardenThe Bier Garden (46 Haywood St, downtown Asheville): The Bier Garden has had the best beer selection in Western North Carolina since 1994. With a selection of over 200 beers of the world including some local microbrewery favorites, they also have a full bar and a large selection of fine wines. Complementing their wide selections of beers is an extensive food menu featuring American fusion cuisine. A late night menu is also available until midnight. Enjoy 16 televisions including a 15-foot screen to catch the big game or news event with all your friends!

Wedge Brewing Co (125 Roberts Street, Asheville): Wedge uses the best available ingredients to brew in the lower level of the Wedge Studios situated in the River Arts District. The building is a classic brick warehouse adjacent to the railroad tracks. The space the brewery is in at onetime stored slaughtered hogs. Tasting room open Monday-Thursday 4-10 PM, Friday 3-10 PM and Saturday/Sunday 2-10 PM.

Mellow Mushroom (50 Broadway Avenue, downtown Asheville): The decor is funky with lots of 50's memorabilia. This location features over 50 taps, making it the Asheville bar with the highest number of draft selections. They also offer outside seating on the front patio in warm weather. The location attracts a varied crowd, including students, professionals and families who bring the kids for the pizza. The atmosphere inside is that of a pizza joint but the Mellow Mushroom should not be missed because it has a great choice of beer selections. It's also a very popular spot late at night.

Green Man Brewery (23 Buxton Avenue, downtown Asheville): Around since 1997, Green Man is now crafting seasonals and specialty brews like “The Rainmaker” Double IPA, and “The Dweller” Imperial Stout. The tasting room is open seven days a week at 4 PM, or maybe earlier. It is also a renowned haven for soccer fans. Their pub offers a variety of its own Green Man ales, casks (on authentic beer engines), specialty brews and guest taps, as well as those famous pretzels and mustard and assorted oddities. (Next door to French Broad Chocolate Factory.)

Bruisin’ Ales (66 Broadway Ave, downtown Asheville): Asheville’s retail store just for beer lovers. No wine, just beer. It’s pure “beerlanthropy™” for the greater good. They specialize in Belgians, Belgian-style, high-gravity, craft brews, microbrews, and the best from around the globe. With over 600 different beers from across the country and around the world, you’ll find a delectable line-up sure to please any beer lover’s palette. You’ll also find a wide selection brand merchandise, including beer glasses, apparel, hats, magazines, bottle openers, beer guides and more.

Asheville Brewing Company (675 Merrimon Ave, about 1.5 miles north of downtown Asheville, & 77 Coxe Avenue, Downtown Asheville): The Merrimon location (Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company) is one of the most unique brewpubs anywhere. Several well-crafted brews are usually on, including other regional craft beers with pizza, specialty sandwiches and pub appetizers, complete with a movie theater. There is a second bar in the theater so customers don't need to miss any of the movie to get another beer or to pick up a food order. The downtown location features indoor and outdoor seating and well-stocked bar. Both are open until Midnight seven days a week.

Wicked Weed (91 Biltmore Avenue, downtown Asheville): This 15-barrel brewhouse has a bar in the basement and another bar and restaurant upstairs with 20 beers on tap. They specialize in west coast style hoppy ales, open fermented belgian beers and barrel ages sours. They are opening a barrel house called "Funkatorium" and sour tap room in September 2014. This new barrel facility will have the capacity to store up to 1000+ wine and bourbon barrels, and will host a tasting room focused on showcasing sour and brett beers. This tasting room will house 16 taps, the majority of which will pour sour and wild beer, and be located at 147 Coxe Avenue in the South Slope region. Wicked Weed Brewing is also opening a $5 million production brewery eight miles from their downtown brewpub to increase beer production in 2015.

One World Brewing (10 Patton Avenue, downtown Asheville) opened in Spring 2014 under the Farm Burger in the The Leader Building. With 12 fermenters, they rotate several of their 10 taps with different beers every week, Ranging from light session beers, to super hopped-up IPA’s, to the dark, rich malty goodness of stouts and porters. Open Wednesday-Sunday, 4 PM until midnight.

Burial Beer (40 Collier Avenue, near downtown Asheville) focuses on Belgian ales and German lagers with a one barrel pilot system. Taproom open Thursday-Saturday.

Hi-Wire Brewing (197 Hilliard, near downtown Asheville) is open every afternoon with four-year round beers: Prime Time Pale Ale, Hi-Pitch IPA, Bed of Nails Brown Ale and a pilsner lager, Hi-Wire Lager. They also offer seasonals.

Twin Leaf Brewery (144 Coxe Avenue near downtown Asheville) opened in March 2014 and has a dozen beers on tap, including seasonals and one-offs.

French Broad Brewing Co (near Biltmore Village, 101 Fairview Rd, Asheville): The unassuming exterior belies what is going on inside: a booming microbrewery business that is part of the backbone of the Asheville craft brewing scene. French Broad beers can be found on tap in many establishments around the Asheville area and in 64 ounce glass “growlers” on the shelves of local markets. Taps can also be found in selected bars and restaurants in the Raleigh/Durham area, upstate South Carolina and eastern Tennessee.

Catawba Valley Brewing (63 Brooks Street) opened its pub in Biltmore Village in February 2014 at the location of their seven barrel brewery under construction. Their main brewery and tasting room opened in 1999 in nearby Morganton. Their Brewtal Double IPA, weighs in at 8.8 percent ABV and showcases the brilliant citrus notes of the Mandarina Bavaria hop variety. Moving to 32 Banks Street in the South Slope of downtown Asheville in fall 2015.

West Asheville Beer Stops

Buffalo Nickel (747 Haywood Road, West Asheville) has 18 beers on tap with a large bar upstairs with a farm to table restaurant downstairs. The "rumpus room" bar has trivia on Tuesday nights and TVs for watching NFL and SEC football, plus pool tables, foosball, darts, vintage arcade games and pinball games.

Altamont Brewing Co (1042 Haywood Rd): Known locally as “the bar”, the Altamont boasts a wide open floor plan with regulation ping-pong, a foosball table and single disc-golf basket. It hosts a variety of musicians and DJs weekly plus open mic-nights.

Pour Taproom (800 Haywood Road) Pay by the ounce! This new craft beer bar (opened in September 2014) has 44 taps with a wide selection of beers and wines. And you get to pour your own drink! Open a tab and you’re free to sample the unique selection.

Westville Pub (777 Haywood Road): This local favorite has about a dozen taps pouring a frequently-changing variety of local and regional craft beers. This neighborhood bar in West Asheville is a bit off the tourist path but well worth a visit. The pub is entirely smoke-free and offers live music many nights.

Oyster House Brewing Company (625 Haywood Road) creates craft beer in various styles, including their award winning "Moonstone Stout" brew with oysters (shell and all) as an ingredient to give hints of sea salt, calcium and other minerals. They have a full food menu.

Blue Kudzu Sake Co. (372 Depot St - River Arts District) is one of the few micro-sake breweries in the entire United States. They focus on producing small batch, hand crafted, organic sake, a fermented beverage consisting of water, rice, yeast and koji, a mold that converts rice starch into sugar. Sake is brewed like beer, but has a higher alcohol content more like wine.

Opening Soon in Asheville!

New Belgium opens its big brewery in the River Arts District near downtown in 2015.

Cideries

Urban Orchard (210 Haywood Road) in West Asheville is one of the few “True Cider Bars” in the nation. Their taproom offers several varieties of their naturally gluten-free hard apple cider on tap.

Black Mountain Ciderworks (100 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain) has a Tasting Room in Black Mountain with four ciders on tap, made from Henderson County apples.

NC Beer Month 2014
Cheers to the annual NC Beer Month in April! This statewide celebration includes many beer related events in Asheville and western North Carolina.

Asheville Beer Week
Asheville Beer Week & Beer City Festival

Oktoberfest Asheville
Oktoberfest

Beer Events & Festivals

TIP: Buy tickets in advance since most sell-out ahead of time!

January 24, 2015: Winter Warmer Beer Festival
Held inside on the main floor of the US Cellular Center in downtown Asheville. Tickets are $45/person and include a souvenir mug, samples during the event, and food provided by a local caterer. Go to their Web site.

May 22-30, 2015: Asheville Beer Week
A full week of special events, workshops, dinners, infused brews, cask ales, a collaborative brew and more, held at many locations.

May 30, 2015: Beer City Festival
Outdoor festival features dozens of breweries and live music on the Roger McGuire Green in Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville.

June 2015: "State of Origin" Craft Brew Festival
Go to Morganton for a craft brew festival held on the historic Courthouse lawn. Presented by Fonta Flora Brewery, 20 craft breweries from all across North Carolina will present unique beers brewed with local ingredients. Read more.

July 2015: Oskar Blues Burning CAN Beer Fest
Held on the brewery grounds in Brevard, they partner with the Pisgah Omnium for a weekend of bike races and rides, with a road race that will begin and end at the brewery. Enjoy beer tastes from more than 35 local, regional and national breweries. . Read more.

August 2015: Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America
A traveling beer festival, aiming to be the largest craft beer celebration in history. It's also the grand opening of the Asheville brewery. Sample brews from local and surrounding regional brewers with food vendors and live music by the MarchFourth Marching Band spectacle. Read more.

September 2015: Brewgrass Festival
Held at Memorial Stadium near downtown Asheville (above McCormick Field baseball park) from 1-7 PM. A total of 4,000 tickets go on sale July 6 at brewgrassfestival.com. Hosted by the Great Smokies Craft Brewers Association, the Brewgrass Festival has quickly become one of the most popular beer and bluegrass events in the Southeast. Each year they gather around 40 American breweries to showcase more than 100 different beers with a great lineup of national and regional bluegrass musicians.

September 2015: French Broad Brew Fest
This outdoor festival in Hot Springs features craft brew, great music and beautiful scenery. Located on the banks of the river and on the Appalachian Trail, camping is included. 15+ breweries will be onsite for sampling from 12 Noon to 10 PM on Saturday. $75/person. Go to their web site.

October 2015: Oktoberfest
Sample beers and local food at this ticketed street festival in downtown Asheville, mixing Bavarian traditions with Asheville’s eclectic vibe. See our Oktoberfest Guide.

November 2015: CiderFest NC
Cideries from North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina will be serving samples of this crisp fall beverage at the WNC Farmers Market, 570 Brevard Rd in Asheville. Live music, food trucks, panel and activities for kids. Benefits WNC Green Building Council. Tickets are limited. Buy at http://ciderfestnc.com.

Craft Breweries Outside of Asheville

Oskar Blues BreweryOskar Blues Brewery opened the largest brewery in the Carolinas in Brevard in late 2012 and will produce 56,000 barrels of beer a year. Take a tour any day of the week. Some specialty draft ales will be only available at the brewery tasting room, with includes a restaurant and music venue. Oskar Blues Brewery main location is in Longmont, Colorado, opening in 1997. Oskar Blues is the first American Craft Brewery to brew and can their beer. See our Oskar Blues Brewery Guide.

Brevard Brewing Company in downtown Brevard is the only brewery in Western North Carolina to specialize in lagers, cold-fermented and aged over twice as long as ales.

Pisgah Brewing Company is located in Black Mountain about 10 miles east of Asheville. They specialize in brewing hand crafted certified organic beer. Try the Pisgah Solstice, a Belgian-style ale, or the darkest ale, the rich and smooth Pisgah Porter.

Heinzelmännchen Brewery is a microbrewery in downtown Sylva, about 45 miles west of Asheville. German-born brewermaster Dieter Kuhn and his wife Sheryl Rudd are creating light and refreshing German beer made with wholesome grains, fresh hops & no preservatives. All beers are keg conditioned and non-filtered, making them smooth and lighter in body. Stop by the brewery for a tasting and a tour. Take home one of their unique, German 2-liter growlers, or a keg.

Innovation Brewing in Sylva supplies traditional styles of ale and ol’ standbys, along with experimentation with a variety of fun and fresh ingredients for unique styles.

Appalachian Craft Brewery is located in downtown Hendersonville (822 Locust St) and specializes in making small batches of craft beer.

Nantahala Brewing Company is located in downtown Bryson City. Nantahala Brewing Company’s inaugural beer is made with pale malt and a generous amount of crystal malts. Appalachian Trail Extra (ATX) Pale Ale is a lighter golden version of the Nantahala Pale Ale with a crisp dry flavor and a touch of bitterness.

BearWaters Brewing is a microbrewery in Waynesville with a full service Tap Room with a very large selection of locally made craft beers.

Frog Level Brewing Company in Waynesville has some of the smoothest craft beer to touch your tongue, from the bite of their IPA to the smokiness of their Scotch Ale.

Blue Ridge Distillery in Bostic (near Morganton) is where Defiant Single Malt Whisky is created. Nestled in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, the distillery reveals the story behind the whisky created 500 feet below the sea by international salvage divers. Enjoy a free guided tour of the mashing, fermentation, and distillation processes, bring a camera to capture photos of the distillery and breathtaking surroundings, and culminate your visit with a sampling of Defiant Whisky.

Fonta Flora Brewery in Morganton opened a cozy pub in 2013 and was an instant hit. With an emphasis on seasonal flora, they bring English tradition and Belgian inspiration using an amazing variety of local ingredients.

Catawba Brewing in Morganton is a family owned, 15-year old craft beer maker with a great location for live music while sampling brews.

 

     
     

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Writing & Photography By Mark File - ©2003-2014 File Investments, Inc - All Rights Reserved
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