Asheville'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 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.
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.
Breweries, Pubs, and Beer Tours
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.
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.
July 25, 2015: Ale Share Beer Festival, Highland Brewing
Go to Highland Brewing's annual beer festival in Asheville where 100% of ticket-sale net proceeds fund Asheville Parks & Greenway Foundation. This weekend is the former Bele Chere festival date. Enjoy brews from a big range of breweries with an extra VIP hour and limited ticket sales to retain comfortable space and short lines for full enjoyment of the beer, brewery folks and friends. Plus, they'll have great local/regional music and food trucks. Held outside on The Meadow, 1-6 PM. $35 general admission, $50 VIP
July 29-31, 2015: Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America
A traveling beer festival, aiming to be the largest craft beer celebration in history. Sample brews from local and surrounding regional brewers with food vendors and live music. Read more.
September 19, 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 in March 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.
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 Brewery (342 Mountain Industrial Drive, Brevard) Oskar Blues' east coast brewery opened 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.
Pisgah Brewing Company (150 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain) 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 (545 Mill Street, Sylva) 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. This microbrewery is about 45 miles west of Asheville.
Nantahala Brewing Company (61 Depot St, Bryson City) From their Flagship, Noon Day IPA, to their epic adventure inspired Trail Magic Ale™ Series, their brews ties to the rich history of brewing in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Blue Ridge Distillery (228 Redbud Lane, Bostic) Located near Morganton is the home of Defiant Single Malt Whisky. 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 and culminate your visit with a sampling of Defiant Whisky.
Fonta Flora Brewery (317 North Green, Morganton) This microbrewery is striving to create a totally unique North Carolina/Appalachian style of beer. By utilizing local grains and foraging the countryside for wild flora, we are taking brewing back to its agricultural roots.
Catawba Brewing (212 South Green Street, Morganton) This family owned, 15-year old craft beer maker with a great location for live music while sampling brews. They opened a downtown Asheville brewery in 2015.