Asheville's beer scene features an amazing selection of bars, brewpubs, micro craft breweries and restaurants. Sample 50+ local brews from a 25 western North Carolina mountain brewing companies (14 in and near Asheville). Asheville, per capita, has one of the highest rates of craft brew consumption in the Southeast. Readers of Examiner.com voted Asheville as Beer City USA for four years in a row. Sample some excellent brews, enjoy some great food, and meet some very interesting people along the way.
New for 2013: Oskar Blues Brewery opened the Carolinas largest brewery in Brevard in December 2012. Sierra Nevada opens its east coast brewery in 2014, and New Belgium opens its big brewery in the River Arts District near downtown in 2015. Sake and hard cider will be added to the brewing mix in 2013 with sake breweries Blue Kudzu and Ben's Tune-Up and cideries Noble Cider, Black Mountain Ciderworks and Urban Orchard Cider Company.
2013 Accolades: Forbes Travel Guide 5 Beer Cities To Hit This Summer. CNN 8 Best Beer Towns in the USA
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 Guide
Pack’s Tavern (20 South Spruce St): Opened in 2010 after 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.
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.
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 2000 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.
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 tapped a whopping 1,072 different beers in 2011. 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 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.
Hannah Flanagan's (27 Biltmore Avenue, downtown Asheville): Across and just up the street from Barleys is feisty Irish atmosphere and authentic Irish food. Hannah Flanagan's serve some of the finest Irish draft (40 taps) and bottled beers around. Some of their specialties include authentic fish ‘n’ chips, corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, steaks, and more! Hannah Flanagan’s was named after the owner’s grandmother, whose picture still hangs above our bar. Experience their authentic 20th century themed interior or enjoy the breeze on an outside terrace which is surrounded by walls beautifully draped with ivy. Come sing and dance to some live music on Thursday and Saturday nights.
The 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. From ales to stouts, lagers to bitters, Bruisin’ Ales is Western North Carolina ’s stop for the tastiest beers available. 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. A unique feature is the movie theater showing $3 movies. 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 theater seats are very comfortable, and tables between each row make eating and drinking a non-messy affair. Another back room opposite the theater has a large-screen TV and several pool tables and video games. The downtown location features indoor and outdoor seating and well-stocked bar. Both are open until Midnight seven days a week.
Westville Pub (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. The pub is entirely smoke-free and offers live music many nights.
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.
Wicked Weed (91 Biltmore Avenue, downtown Asheville): Opened in December 2012, this 15-barrel brewhouse has a bar in the basement and another bar and restaurant upstairs with 20 beers on tap.
Altamont Brewing Co (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 DJ’s weekly plus open mic-night every Tuesday. Altamont’s first ale, a porter, debuted in December 2012.
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. Opened in September 2013.
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. Open in June 2013.
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. Opened June 2013.
Opening Soon in Asheville!
Twin Leaf Brewery will have a dozen beers on tap, including seasonals and one-offs. Coming to 144 Coxe Avenue, Asheville. Open in early 2014
One World Brewing is coming downtown to the basement of The Leader Building at 10 Patton Avenue. The nano-brewery will have a 1.5 Barrel H.E.R.M.S. (Heat-Exchanged Recirculating Mash System.) They will be offering their own favorite versions of classic styles: very hop-forward IPA's, Pale Ales and Stouts, light, refreshing Summer Ales, Cream Ales, and Porters and limited batches of a wide range of rotating beers and styles from around the world.
Catawba Valley Brewing (2 Fairview Road) will open a seven barrel brewhouse in Asheville near Biltmore Village. Their main brewery and tasting room opened in 1999 in nearby Morganton.
Oktoberfest: Sample beers and local food at this ticketed street festival in downtown Asheville on October 12, 2013. See our Oktoberfest Guide.
Winter Warmer Beer Festival: Held on the third Saturday in January downtown at Civic Center from 3:00 - 7:00 PM. We highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance, as the last two year’s event sold out.
Asheville Beer Week: May 25-June 1, 2013: Includes the Beer City Festival at Pack Square Park with a showcase of Asheville beer. Beer Week will include workshops, special infused brews, cask ales, a collaborative brew made by the Asheville brewers, a beer dinner and more.
Beer City Festival: June 1, 2013 at Roger McGuire Green in Pack Square Park (in front of City Hall downtown). .
Brewgrass Festival: September 21, 2013 at MLK Park near downtown Asheville and 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 in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina, they gather around 40 American breweries to showcase more than 100 different beers with a great lineup of national and regional bluegrass musicians.
Outside of Asheville
Pisgah Brewing Company is located in Black Mountain, NC 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.
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. Their tasting room opened in 2011.
Oskar Blues Brewery opened the largest brewery in the Carolinas in Brevard in December 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 launched the canning operation in 2002, the first American Craft Brewery to brew and can their beer. See our Oskar Blues Brewery Guide.
BearWaters Brewing is a microbrewery in Waynesville with a full service Tap Room open Thursday-Saturday evenings. 130 Frazier Street Suite 7, Waynesville
Blue Ridge Distillery in Bostic 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.