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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 | South Slope District

FunkatoriumAsheville's beer scene features an amazing selection of bars, brewpubs, micro craft breweries, cideries and restaurants. Sample hundreds of 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 are located downtown within walking distance of each other. Also see our guide to the best downtown Asheville bars for wine and cocktails. See a Google map of locations at bottom of page.

Asheville Craft Micro Breweries

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.

Pub and Grub Crawl
Pub and Grub Crawl
Start the weekend with Creative Mountain Food Tours at some of the best pubs and eateries in town! Drink up the flavor of Black Mountain with old and new friends on a 2-3 hour guided walk through town. Stop at pubs, restaurants and a brewery and get introduced to local beers and ales paired with snacks made by local chefs. Historical fun facts and ghost trivia included! Click here to visit their Web site.

Highland Brewing Co (12 Old Charlotte Highway, Asheville): One of the largest craft brewers in the South started in Asheville in 1994. Stop by their Tasting Room in east Asheville to sample brews every day of the week, along with weekend live music. Also, take a 45-minute guided tour of the fasciniating brewing and packaging. See our guide to Highland Brewing and their tours.

Sierra Nevada (100 Sierra Nevada Way, Mills River) opened 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!

New Belgium opens its big brewery along the river near downtown in late 2015. Read more.

Troy and Sons Distillers(12 Old Charlotte Highway): 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 Fridays and Saturdays at 5 & 6 PM. See our guide to Troy & Sons Moonshine Distillery.

Downtown Asheville Craft Breweries

Read about the South Slope Brewing District. See a Google map of locations at bottom of page.

Wicked Weed (91 Biltmore Avenue, downtown Asheville): This 15-barrel brewhouse has a Tasting Room 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. Open daily. See our Wicked Weed Review.

Funkatorium (147 Coxe Avenue): Wicked Weed opened their nearby barrel house and sour tap room in the South Slope in late 2014 to store 1,000+ wine and bourbon barrels. This tasting room has 16 taps for sour and wild beer. Open daily. Read more about the South Slope Brewing District.

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. Open daily. Home of beer yoga!

Hi-Wire Brewing (197 Hilliard) 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. Open daily.

Burial Beer (40 Collier Avenue) focuses on Belgian ales and German lagers with a one barrel pilot system. Taproom open Tuesday-Sunday.

Green Man Brewery (23 Buxton Avenue): As one of North Carolina’s oldest breweries, Green Man produces iconic ales loyal to traditional English styles. Expanding again in 2015 with a rooftop garden with mountain views. Additionally, their brewers bring innovative and exciting new flavors. Try them in the tasting room is seven days a week with tours on Saturday. (Next door to French Broad Chocolate Factory.)

Asheville Brewing Company (77 Coxe Avenue). In addition to their longtime favorites, their new brewer series pushes the paradigm with amazing creations like the jalapeno infused Fire Escape, the Mardi Gras inspired Bier de Garde, to the malty, yet hoppy Ashevillian black I.P.A. Ask for a tour! In addition to great pizza, they have a huge covered patio. Open daily. Their original "mothership" location at 675 Merrimon Avenue is one of the most unique brewpubs anywhere, complete with a movie theater.

Lexington Avenue Brewery (39 N. Lexington Avenue): 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).

One World Brewing (10 Patton Avenue) 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.

HiveMind Brewhouse (101 S. Lexington Avenue) will open in Summer 2015 with a brewery, taproom and restaurant, one block behind the Orange Peel.

West Asheville Breweries

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.

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.

Wedge Brewing Co (125 Roberts Street): 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.

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.

Biltmore Village Breweries

French Broad Brewing Co (near Biltmore Village, 101 Fairview Rd): 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.

Downtown Asheville Pubs & Bars

Packs TavernPack’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. They carefully pair beer styles with food and rotate 30 or more local, national, and international craft beers to offer the best selection available. The park-side outdoor dining area is especially fun during festivals.

Jack of the Wood (95 Patton Avenue): This lively, Celtic-style pub features handcrafted English style ales are brewed at their nearby Green Man Brewing and served fresh daily. Using English and Belgian yeasts and specialty grains gives the beers their unique appeal and distinctive style. Sample brews while local musicians fiddle away on Irish reels or picking some olde time mountain music nightly.

Thirsty Monk (92 Patton Avenue): Recognized as one of the best beer bars in the world, they tap a whopping 1,000+ different beers a year. The upstairs bar features American Craft Beers with 20 constantly rotating tap lines. Or, take the stairs down to the basement level where you'll find the Belgian Bar (50 Commerce St.) with 16 Belgian, European and rare beers on draught. An extensive leather-bound bottle list will impress beer-snobs and novices alike.

The Bier Garden (46 Haywood St): 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. Enjoy 16 televisions including a 15-foot screen, great for game days.

Barley's Taproom (42 Biltmore Avenue): Enjoy fresh sourdough pizza, lasagna, and sandwiches at this long-time local's favorite with 40+ beers on tap. Their stage showcases live bluegrass, jazz, and Americana music with no cover charge. Upstairs is the Billiard Room with four regulation slate billiard tables and five regulation dart lanes.

Bruisin’ Ales (66 Broadway Ave): Asheville’s retail store just for beer lovers with 600 Belgians, Belgian-style, high-gravity, craft brews, microbrews, and the best from around the globe.

West Asheville Pubs & Bars Read more about West Asheville

Buffalo Nickel (747 Haywood Road) 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.

Pour Taproom (800 Haywood Road) Pay by the ounce! This new craft beer bar (opened in late 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 with live music many nights.

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.

March 28, 2015: Burly Beers and Barleywines Festival
Sierra Nevada Brewery celebrates the bold, malt-forward beers common in the cooler months. More than 50 breweries from across the country will pour a selection of their heartiest beers that will include at least one of the following: Barleywine, Stout or Imperial Stout, Barrel-aged beer or Spiced beer. 12-4 PM, Tickets $65/person. Buy tickets onlne.

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 13, 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 17-18, 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 26, 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 in Brevard in late 2012 and produces 56,000 barrels of beer a year. Take a tour any day of the week. Some specialty draft ales are only available at the brewery tasting room, with includes a restaurant and music venue. 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.

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 - ©2003-2015 File Investments, Inc - All Rights Reserved
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