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
(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 recently with a taproom, restaurant, free brewery tours and live music.
New Belgium (West Asheville) opens its impressive big brewery near downtown Asheville in early 2016. Located in the River Arts District on French Broad River, it will feature a 200-barrel brewing system, a tasting room, greenway and public tours.
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.
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.
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.
Download the free Dig Local Asheville app and use their Daily Scoop feed to see what's on tap at breweries and pubs, live music, specials and more. It's updated every day. Then use their interactive map to find your way.
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!
(20 South Spruce St, downtown Asheville) 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.
(147 Coxe Avenue, Asheville) 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.
(91 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville) This 15-barrel downtown 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.
(197 Hilliard, Asheville, South Slope) Hi-Wire 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 in downtown.
(747 Haywood Road, West Asheville) This cool space 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.
(23 Buxton Avenue, Asheville, South Slope) 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 downtown is seven days a week with tours on Saturday. (Next door to French Broad Chocolate Factory.)
(32 Banks Avenue, Asheville, South Slope) Catawba opened its seven-barrel specialty brewery and tasting room downtown in April 2015. They have 30 taps and open 2-10 PM Monday-Thursday and Noon-10 PM on Friday-Saturday. Their main production facility is in Morganton.
(77 Coxe Avenue, Asheville, South Slope) In addition to their longtime favorites, their brewer series pushes the paradigm with amazing creations. Ask for a tour! In addition to great pizza, their downtown spot have a huge covered patio. Their original "mothership" location at 675 Merrimon Avenue has a movie theater.
Locals just call it "LAB," home to unfiltered beer crafted in-house and a meal featuring the freshest food the region has to offer, with beef on their own farm. Comfort foods and bar favorites with a delicious twist. Live music. 39 N Lexington Avenue, downtown
(10 Patton Avenue, Asheville) One World is located underneath the Farm Burger in the The Leader Building downtown near Pack Square. 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.
(625 Haywood Road, West Asheville) Oyster House 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.
(125 Roberts Street, West 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.
(1042 Haywood Rd, West Asheville) 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.
(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.
(95 Patton Avenue, downtown Asheville) 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.
(92 Patton Avenue, downtown Asheville) 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.
(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 local microbrewery favorites, they also have a full bar and fine wines. Their extensive food menu features American fusion cuisine. Enjoy 16 televisions including a 15-foot screen, great for game days.
(42 Biltmore Avenue, downtown Asheville) 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.
(800 Haywood Road, West Asheville) Pay by the ounce! This 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.
(777 Haywood Road, West Asheville) 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.
(210 Haywood Road, West Asheville) Visit 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.
(100 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain) Their Tasting Room has four ciders on tap, made from Henderson County apples.
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 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.