NPR calls Asheville the "Napa Valley of Beer!" Our 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 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 23, 2016: Winter Warmer Beer Festival
(Postponed to Feb 6, 2016 due to snow) 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.
February 27, 2016: Asheville Beer Expo
Produced by the Asheville Brewers Alliance trade group in downtown with 30+ breweries and 30+ beers. Meet brewers and attend educational sessions. $25/person. Limited tickets. Go to their Web site.
May 27-June 4, 2016: 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 2016: "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 15-16, 2016: 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.
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.
October 24, 2015: Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest
Head over to the Mills River Sierra Nevada Brewery for an evening of delicious beer, a German feast, entertainment by the spectacular MarchFourth Marching Band, Chicken Dancing, a mustache competition and more. Come hoist a stein in honor of one of beer’s best traditions—Prost! $40/person. Go to their web site.
November 7, 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. $30/person. Buy online.
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.
Brevard Brewing Company (63 East Main Street, Brevard) They specialize in lagers, cold-fermented and aged over twice as long as ales.
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.
Innovation Brewing (414 West Main, Sylva) They create traditional styles of ale and ol’ standbys, along with experimentation with a variety of fun and fresh ingredients for unique styles.
Southern Appalachian Brewery (822 Locust, Hendersonville) They specialize in making small batches of craft beer. Tasting Room downtown frequently has live music.
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.
BearWaters Brewing (130 Frazier St #7, Waynesville) Their full service Tap Room features 10 signature and rotating beers on tap. Start with a sampling flight paddle.
Frog Level Brewing Company (56 Commerce Street, Waynesville) Taste some of the smoothest craft beer to touch your tongue, from the bite of their IPA to the smokiness of their Scotch Ale.
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.