The Best Breweries in Asheville, North Carolina
The Wicked Weed Flights | © WNJohnson / Flickr
Asheville burst onto the rising craft beer scene back in 2009, tying for first place with Portland, Oregon, as the #1 Beer City in America. Since then, the city has earned that top spot many times, securing it again in 2017 thanks in part to having the most breweries per capita in America. The current number of breweries in Asheville—all with taprooms—has surpassed 30, with new places set to open in 2018 and others in various stages of construction. Read on to find the 10 best breweries in Asheville, but keep in mind that all 30+ are worth a visit
Asheville Brewing Company
This colorful pizza joint and brewery has been a local favorite since 2005 when it was the first brewery to open in the now-famous South Slope brewery district. The huge covered patio features a projector screen, outdoor games, and picnic tables that more than one pooch will be lying under since it’s pet-friendly. Awesome pizzas, to-share appetizers, and plenty of sandwich options pair with their flavorful brews with spot-on names such as Fire Escape Pale Ale (made with roasted jalapeño) and Ninja Latte Coffee Porter (cold brewed with coffee from a local roaster).
Burial Beer Company
Craft Ale Bar, Pub Grub, European, North American
is one of the most respected breweries in town, and many locals will point to it as their favorite brewery. The reason why is because Burial has never lost touch with their roots as downtown’s first nano-brewery when it operated on a one-barrel system. The taps are constantly changing with seasonals and specials series like their Skillet series (think donut flavors) and Double IPA series, which included 17 releases. Today, little Burial is all grown up with a permanent food truck on location and a second two-acre farm dubbed the Forestry Camp, which they envision as an event space, bar, restaurant, and barrel house.
Green Man Brewery
At Green Man, beer lovers get a two-in-one experience. On one end is the original location, the dive bar and local favorite, Dirty Jack’s. The other end is their new Greenmansion, a three-story behemoth that features a top floor, open-air deck, and adjoining bar. Green Man brews up eight year-round recipes but has plenty of seasonals that people wait all year for, including The Rainmaker (Double IPA) and The Dweller (Imperial Stout).
Highland Brewing Company
Consider Highland the godfather of Asheville’s brewery scene. Opening in 1994 as the city’s first brewery since prohibition, Highland paved the way for Asheville to become the beer haven it is today. The name honors the Scotch-Irish Americans who settled in Appalachia in the 18th century, and that strong sense of community permeates everything Highland does, from their involvement with over 100 charities each year to their communal outdoor and indoor spaces that both feature stages. Unsurprisingly, they have one of the largest distributions with eight year-round brews and several seasonals, such as Cold Mountain, that cause a frenzy when they come out.
small space packs quite a punch thanks to a large front porch and garage doors that connect the two spaces on pleasant days. They also share the space with Rise Above Deli, which makes everything from scratch on-site, including killer Reubens, pastramis, and falafels. Even if you’re not hungry
, split a pig missile—a pretzel stuffed with brat and sauerkraut—while you work your way through their 15 in-house beers.
You know things are on a high note when a brewery opens a second location just two miles down the street, and that’s exactly what Hi-Wire Brewing did in 2015. Now, the original place serves as their sour and wild beerhouse and is a must-stop as you explore Asheville’s South Slope. They focus on approachable, balanced beers and are best known for their flagships like Bed of Nails Brown Ale and Hi-Wire Lager.
New Belgium Brewing Company
Craft Ale Bar, Street Food
Asheville headquarters straddles a large parcel of land along the French Broad River, giving patrons a place to hang by the water and watch kayakers and tubers cruise by while bikers and runners enjoy the greenway that New Belgium helped fund. A strong commitment to the environment has always been part of this employee-owned brewery’s mission, and they even have a Director of Sustainability and Strategy to help carry out the company’s core values and beliefs. A large swath of green space in front of the brewery also celebrates nature, as kids and dogs weave between cornhole boards and food trucks.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Craft Ale Bar, Gastropub, Contemporary, Seafood, Tapas, Dessert, Pub Grub, American
Asheville’s status as a craft beer destination was cemented when Sierra Nevada, America’s third-largest craft brewery, announced in 2014 that they were opening their East Coast headquarters in Asheville. The 90-acre adult playground features a huge rock, copper and wood building that contains two bars, a large production area, full-service restaurant, and gift shop. Out back, an amphitheater anchors a patio filled with firepits and rocking chairs overlooking a garden of fruits, veggies, and herbs that go into batches of beer made just a few steps away. Tours book out months in advance, so plan accordingly to see this striking location from every angle.
Wedge Brewing Company
prides itself on being the only brewery to lay roots in the River Arts District (RAD) of Asheville long before the area became a popular, and safer, part of town that now has developers scrambling to build high-rises. That same rebellious attitude led to their decision to open a second location nearby in a once-abandoned space covered in large graffiti murals that some of the nation’s best muralists have graced. Daily food trucks and clean, crisp beers only available on-site make Wedge a local hangout that will give visitors a glimpse into RAD life.
Zillicoah Beer Company
The newest brewery on this list, Zillicoah Beer Co. opened in late December 2017, enjoying steady crowds from the beginning. The industrial space puts beer drinkers and fermentation tanks side by side, making guests feel like insiders with a front-row view. But the big draw is the large outdoor space along the French Broad River, complete with a covered section that butts up to a large firepit flanked by a permanent food truck slinging Mexican cuisine.