Beer City USA
(Also Info on Cideries, Wineries, Beer Tours and Distilleries)
“Work is the curse of the drinking classes.”
With around 50 microbreweries and brewpubs in the Asheville and WNC area, and with two large national craft breweries (Sierra Nevada and New Belgium), plus a large regional brewer, Oskar Blues, having their East Coast headquarters here, Asheville has won four national online polls as “Beer City USA.” Asheville claims to have more craft breweries per capita than any other city in the U.S.
New Belgium Brewing (21 Craven St., West Asheville, 828-333-6900, www.newbelgium.com/brewery/asheville) broke ground in April 2014 on its $175 million East Coast headquarters along the French Broad River in West Asheville and the River Arts District. It began producing Fat Tire and some other brews at its Asheville location in April 2016. Free tours of New Belgium are available daily, and USA Today named New Belgium’s tours the best in the country. While the brewery does not have a restaurant, it hosts a rotating selection of food trucks. In late 2019, it was announced New Belgium was being acquired by Lion Little World Beverages of Australia, itself owned by Japan’s Kirin. The impact on Asheville’s site is unknown.
The new Sierra Nevada (100 Sierra Nevada Way, Fletcher, South Asheville, 828-708-6176, www.sierranevada.com) brewery is on a beautifully landscaped 190-acre site in Mills River about 20 minutes south of Asheville, near the Asheville Regional Airport. The California-based craft brewery is turning out a number of beers at its North Carolina site. Sierra Nevada has a restaurant and tasting room and also offers brewery tours. The tours often are booked far in advance. Sierra Nevada has life music weekly. Check the website for details.
Cider is also a growing industry here, with around 10 local cideries. Ditto, distilleries.
Especially notable spots are highlighted in RED.
Most brewpubs are open daily, often just for the afternoon and early evening. In most cases, we've noted days when craft brewery taprooms are closed, but because hours change frequently we are not able to post those. Check with the breweries for current hours.
Local Craft Breweries and Brewpubs
All Sevens Brewing (777 Haywood Rd, West Asheville, 828-225-9782, www.allsevensbrewing.com) opened in 2018. It is an offshoot of Westville Pub and op-erates from an expanded space in the pub. The small 5-barrel brewery delivers ales and beer straight from the brewery to the customer’s mouth, claiming this is the “freshest beer in town.” It is open daily from 10:30 am to 2 am.
Archetype Brewing 265 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-505-4177, www.archetypebrerwing.com. Opened in 2017, Archetype brews about five core Belgian- and American-style lagers and ales, plus another nine IPAs, ales and others in regular rotation. Among its offerings from its 10-barrel open style brewhouse are a coffee porter using Last Dance cold brew. Archetype also brews many small batch and seasonal beers. It doesn't serve food, but you can bring in food to Archetype's indoor and outdoor spaces including that from nearby restaurants including Gan Shan West, Pizza Mind and Owl Bakery. Archetype has two other locations: Archetype North (174 Broadway St., North Asheville, 828-505-8305) and Archetype South Slope (39 Banks Ave., South Slope, Downtown Asheville, 828-505-1783.) The South Slope location, new in mid-2023, has a rooftop bar and serves good pizza.
Asheville Brewing Co., 77 Coxe Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-255-4077, www.ashevillebrewing.com, makes beer at its downtown brewery and pub. The pub, with 15 of Asheville Brewing’s beers, has a rooftop full bar with a 40-foot LED movie screen. It also sells its suds in a converted movie theater in North Asheville, Asheville Pizza & Brewing (675 Merrimon Ave., North Asheville, 828-254-1281). Here you can enjoy a movie ($3, and often sold out), a pizza or burger and a freshly brewed beer, seated on sofas and reclining chairs. Asheville Brewing also has a takeout and delivery location at 1850 Hendersonville Road in South Asheville. Its Ninja Porter has won national awards. An expansion in 2014 increased the brewery’s capacity to 13,000 barrels a year.
Balsam Falls Brewing Co. (506 W. Main St., Sylva, 828-631-1987, www.balsamfallsbrewing.com) is a small brewer in downtown Sylva that opened in 2017. The nano brewery specializes in classic beers. Its taproom, open afternoons and early evenings daily, serves wings, burgers, fries and salads.
Bearwaters Brewery (101 Park St., Canton, 828-237-4200, www.bearwatersbrewing.com), has seven of its own craft beers on tap in its tasting room, plus about 10 brews in rotation. It also serves a few wines. Bearwaters also has a brewpub in nearby Maggie Valley, Creekside, and says it plans to open another location in Hazelwood.
Ben's Tune Up (195 Hilliard Ave., South Slope, Downtown Asheville, 828-424-7580, www.benstuneup.com), in a building that was once an auto shop, began as an Asian fusion restaurant but has evolved into more of a bar with snack foods such as eggrolls, fried tofu and Asian street corn. It makes its own sake, Ben’s Sake, and has a beer garden. It has brewed beer but currently is not doing so.
Black Mountain Brewing (131 Broadway Ave., Black Mountain, 828-357-5010, www.blackmountainbrewing.com), opened in 2017, has seven of its brews on tap.
Blue Ghost Brewing Company (125 Underwood Rd., Fletcher, 828-376-0159, www.blueghostbrewing.com). Located in a 4,000 sq. ft. building in Henderson County near the Asheville Regional Airport, Blue Ghost Brewing has indoor and newly expand-ed outdoor seating. Blue Ghost brews about a half dozen IPAs, ales and a porter, plus more than 10 seasonal releases. The name of the company comes from a native firefly, the Blue Ghost, Phausis reticulata.
Boojum Brewing (50 N. Main St., Waynesville, 828-246-0350, www.boojumbrewing.com). A pleasant downtown Waynesville brewpub with burgers and other bar food. It has 16 taps of Boojum brews. Closed Tuesdays.
Brevard Brewing Company (63 East Main St., Brevard, 828-885-2101, www.brevard-brewing.com) focuses on lagers. It brews Bohemian pilsner and German dunkal (dark) beer and has about a half dozen drafts on tap.
Brouwerïj Cursus Kĕmē (155 Thompson St, South Asheville, 828-412-5193, www.cursuskeme.com) is a brewery tucked away at the end of a side street off Swan-nanoa River Road. Opened in mid-2018, it's in a former truck repair shop, but once inside you’ll note the attractive refinished woodwork and a number of interesting beers. The name comes from a variety of sources: “Brouwerïj” is Flemish for brewery, “Cur-sus” is Latin for “courses” and “Kĕmē” alludes to the historical mysteries related to brewing. Currently it’s open daily (hours vary) except Monday and Tuesday.
Burial Beer Co. (40 Collier Ave., South Slope, Downtown Asheville, 828-475-2739, www.burialbeer.com), owned by folks who moved here from Seattle and opened a small one-barrel system in Asheville in mid-2013, starting with about a half dozen regular brews. By mid-2014, Burial had expanded to a 10-barrel system, with the ability to produce a large variety of canned beer. The Tap Room on the South Slope, now fed by its production brewery along with a second Asheville location at Forestry Camp. It has about 15 Burial draft beers, plus nearly as many beers in bottles and cans to go. It also has wines from its own winery and elsewhere. Burial has a full-service kitchen serv-ing "Asheville food" daily for lunch and dinner. It has a good double-patty cheeseburger ($15). Burial Beer also has Raleigh and Charlotte locations.
Burning Blush Brewery (4891 Boylston Highway, Mills River, 828-595-9859) opened in 2019. It was an ambitious project, with six 15-barrel fermenters and two bright tanks, on about 2 acres. The bar in the taproom reportedly is a 1930s-era bar from Chicago. There is no restaurant but at times there is a food truck on site.
Catawba Brewing Company (63 Brook St., Biltmore Village, South Asheville, 828-424-7290, and on the South Slope at 32 Banks Ave. next to Vortex Doughnuts and Buxton Hall BBQ, 828-552-3934, www.catawbabrewing.com), originally from Glen Alpine and then Morganton, now has two locations in Asheville, one on the South Slope and one in Biltmore Village. Catawba brews a variety of ales, IPAs and stouts year-round, along with many seasonal beers. Its brews are sold on tap in its tastings rooms, in kegs and in cans. It also has a location in Charlotte and Wilmington, NC.
CANarchy Collaborative (39 N. Lexington Ave., 828-348-1622, www.collaboratoryavl.com), in the former location of Lexington Avenue Brewery or LAB, which was a lot easier name to remember, is a part of a group of breweries around the country called CANarchy. It includes Oscar Blue, Cigar City Brewing and others. In 2022, the craft beer collective was acquired by Monster Beverage for $330 million cash.
Cellarist Beer Project (395 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-231-1350, www.cellaristbeer.com) produces farmhouse-style gluten-reduced ales and lagers. The brewery uses wild yeast and bacteria bioprospected from the wilds of West Asheville. It ages its beer in three different kinds of wood barrels. A cellarist is someone who watch-es over a cellar.
Currahee Brewing Company (100 Lakeside Dr., Franklin, 828-634-0078, www.curraheebrew.com) opened in Franklin in 2016 with a German-inspired biergarten and then opened in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta in 2018. It is also in Clayton, Ga. Currahee has about a half dozen year-round brews but does a number of seasonal and special release beers. Currahee is a Cherokee word that means "stand alone."
DSSOLVR (63 N. Lexington Ave., Downtown Asheville, www.dssolvr.com) opened in Downtown Asheville in late 2019. It does cider, mead and wine as well as craft beers of all types.
Eluvium Brewing Co. (11 Florida Ave., Weaverville, 828-484-1799, www.eluviumbrewing.com) opened in Weaverville in 2017. About a dozen of its beers are on tap at its upgraded tasting room, which serves snacks and bar food daily, plus brunch on Sunday. The brewery is named after alluvial gold placer deposits (in the early 19th century, North Carolina was a leading gold mining state).
Ecusta Brewing Co. (451 Ecusta Rd., Brevard, 828-966-2337, www.ecustabrewing.com) is a brewery and taproom near Pisgah National Forest in the Brevard area. It taproom has about 20 beers, ales, ciders and non-alcoholic beer on tap, including more than 15 of its own ales, IPAs, sour ales and stouts.
Eurisko Beer Co. (255 Short Coxe Ave., South Slope, 828-774-5055, www.euriskobeer.com) opened in 2018. It says it is “taproom-focused” and strives to be a place where friends hang out. Eurisko has a taproom upstairs, a new downstairs space and an outdoor patio. It has brewed more than 40 different ales, porters, stouts, IPAs and others. Some are limited production. Erisko’s taproom is open daily in the afternoons and evenings.
Fahrenheit 828 Pizza & Brewhouse (17 Lee St., Skyland, South Asheville, behind Skyland Fire Department, 828-676-1800, www.fahrenheitpizzabrew.com) serves New York-style crispy pizza, chicken wings and basic brews. Closed Monday.
Fonta Flora Brewery (317 N. Green St., Morganton, 828-475-0153, and 6751 NC-126, Nebo, www.fontaflora.com) has a small brewery and taproom in downtown Morganton and a farmhouse brewery on a 9-acre former dairy farm in Nebo. Fonta Flora brews more than 100 different fruit beers, ales, lagers, seltzers, porters and others.
French Broad River Brewery (101-D Fairview Rd., near Biltmore Village, 828-277-0222 www.frenchbroadbrewery.com), established in 2001, was one of the pioneers of craft brewing in Asheville. It brews lagers and specialty ales in the European tradition, but it has expanded to add IPAs and specialty Pale Ales, along with seasonal brews. Wee-Heavy-Er Scottish ale, is a best seller. New owners Paul and Sarah Casey took over in 2017. The taproom has an outdoor space, pizza and live music some nights.
Frog Level Brewing Company (56 Commerce St., Waynesville, 828-454-5664, www.froglevelbrewing.com) is a brewer in the up-and-coming Frog Level section below downtown Waynesville. Frog Level, which has live music on some evenings, has 21 taps and serves food inside and on its riverside patio. It was the first craft brewer in Haywood County. Its sister brand is 7 Clans.
Ginger’s Revenge (RAMP Studios, 829 Riverside Dr., Suite 100, North Asheville, 828-505-2462, www.gingersrevenge.com). Ginger’s Revenge specializes in alcoholic ginger beers. The tasting room has eight different ginger beers on tap, along with other brews. Open afternoons and early evenings daily except Tuesday. Ginger’s Revenge recently opened a second location with 18 taps on the South Slope (32 Banks. Ave., South Slope, Downtown Asheville, closed Mon. and Tue.)
Green Man Brewery (27 Buxton Ave., South Slope, Downtown Asheville, 828-252-5502, www.greenmanbrewery.com) is one of North Carolina’s oldest microbreweries, having opened in 1997 as a brewpub. In 2010 new owners turned Green Man into an independent brewer specializing in English ales. Green Man expanded in 2012 with a 30-barrel system and in 2013 began bottling its beers. The company expanded again in March 2015 to the tune of $5 million, with an indoor-outdoor tasting room, Green Mansions, on the top floor of its new three-story, 20,000 square foot South Slope building. The original Dirty Jack’s tap room also is still open. Green Man's best-known product is the very hoppy Green Man IPA, but it also brews a popular porter, stout, lager and others, sold regionally. The Green Man image historically is a represe-tation of a man’s face made of leaves and vines, often seen in churches in Europe. It is a popular name for pubs in England; there’s a Green Man Pub in the basement of Harrods in London.
Guidon Brewing (15 8th Ave., East Hendersonville,828-595-7976, www.guidonbrewing.com) is a craft brewery run by a German-American family. It brews four German-style beers, along with American and English styles.
Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery (461 Main St., Chimney Rock, 828-436-5461, www.hickorynutbrewery.com) is on the banks of the Rocky Broad River in Chimney Rock. New owners opened a second location in Mars Hill in a former movie theater. At both locations there's a limited menu of bar food, along with several of the brewery’s beers and ales.
Highland Brewing Company (12 Old Charlotte Hwy., Suite H, South Asheville, 828-299-3370, www.highlandbrewing.com) is Asheville’s first (1994) and largest local craft brewer, now run by a second-generation owner. Highland’s year-round brews including Oatmeal Porter, Gaelic Ale and West Coast IPA and its seasonal and small-batch beers are available in many restaurants and in supermarkets around the Southeast. A 2014 expansion boosted capacity by about 50% to some 60,000 barrels. Brewery tours are offered thrice daily Friday through Sunday for $15 per person. The taproom, with nearly 20 brews, is open daily, with varying hours. A rooftop bar can accommodate 300. An outdoor entertainment area features live music shows, sometimes with no cover charge. In-season there's music indoors or outdoors several days a week. Highland now has a taproom in the S&W Market in Downtown Asheville (56 Patton Ave., Downtown Asheville, daily except Tue.)
Hillman Beer (25 Sweeten Creek Rd., South Asheville, 828-505-1312, www.hillmanbeer.com) is a family-owned brewery and deli near Biltmore Village. It offers up to 18 house-brewed beers and ales to go with your Reuben or other sandwich in the taproom, which has both indoor and outdoor seating. Hillman also has a location in Old Fort. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Hi-Wire Brewery (197 Hilliard Ave., South Slope, Downtown Asheville, 2 Huntsman Place in Biltmore Village, 284 Lyman St., River Arts District, 828-738-2448, www.hiwirebrewing.com) has taken off since opening in 2013 on the South Slope. It now has seven locations, three in Asheville and four in other cities. In mid-2015 opened a 27,000 sq. ft. facility it calls the Biltmore Big Top near Biltmore Village. The RAD Beer Garden center around nine shipping containers in the River Arts District. Hi-Wire produces four flagship brews including Hi-Pitch and Lo-Pitch IPAs and eight seasonal and specialty beers. The brewery has outposts in Durham, Wilmington, Knoxville and Louisville.
Homeplace Beer Co. (321 Main St., Burnsville, 828-536-9068, www.homeplacebeer.com) is Burnsville’s pioneer craft brewer. It opened in 2017, and until 2010 Burnsville was dry. Homeplace then moved to a larger space in Burnsville, with room for music events. The taproom has four flagship brews, plus about 15 seasonal brews and guest beers.
Hoppy Trout Brewing Company (911 Main St., Andrews, 828-835-2111, www.hoppytroutbrewing.com) is a small-batch nano brewer that is willing to experiment with different ingredients and flavors. The brewpub has a brick-oven pizza. Closed Sundays.
Innovation Brewing (414 W. Main St., Sylva, 40 Depot St., Dillsboro, 732 Centennial Dr., Cullowhee, 828-586-9678, www.innovation-brewing.com) is a brewpub based in Sylva with outposts in Dillsboro and Cullowhee. It has around two dozen brews on tap at each of its brewpubs. Opened in 2013, Innovation’s headquarters location is in a former filling station o in Sylva (where Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was filmed).
Lazy Hiker Brewing (188 W. Main St., Franklin and 828-349-2337, www.lazyhikerbrewing.com) has a 15-barrel system and produces traditional and black malt IPAs, a golden ale, a stout, several porters and other brews. There's live music on weekends. In 2019, Lazy Hiker expanded and opened a taproom with Mad Batter Kitchen in downtown Sylva.
Lost Province (130 N. Depot St., Boone, 828-265-3506, www.lostprovince.com) is a downtown brewpub and gastropub that serves its beers with good wood-fired pizza.
Mad Co. Brew House (45 N. Main St., Marshall, 828-649-8600, www.madisoncountybrewing.com), opened in 2016, was Madison County's first craft brewery. In downtown Marshall, it's set on the French Broad River, serving small-batch brews. It has opened Marshall Pizza Kitchen.
Mica Town Brewing (25 Brown Dr., Marion, 828-559-8300, www.micatownbrewing.com) is a pleasant microbrewery with about 10 regular brews, including a blackberry cider. Closed Mondays. It also has a taproom in Nebo. The Nebo location also distills rum.
Mills River Brewery (336 Banner Farm Rd., Mills River, 828-483-0481, www.millsriverbrewingco.com). Mills River Brewery started in a strip mall but moved to a larger location in its hometown, where it now has an 8,600 sq. ft. brewhouse and brewpub.
Mountain Layers Brewing (90 Everett St. Bryson City, 828-538-0115, www.mountainlayersbrewing.com). We first discovered Mountain Layers when we were in Bryson City for the eclipse in 2017. The upstairs patio was closed for a private eclipse party, and the main tasting room upstairs, while pretty large was crowded, so we snagged a standing spot near the copper vats and had beers. All good. Pleasant atmosphere. Varied selection of craft beers. Friendly staff. And a great location just off the river on Everett Street in the middle of town.
Nantahala Brewing Company 61 Depot St., Bryson City, 828-488-2337 and 5 Grindstaff Cove Rd., Sylva, www.nantahalabrewing.com) opened in 2010 near Great Smoky Mountains Railroad depot in Bryson City. Its inaugural and flagship beer is Noon Day IPA, and it also offers other brews including Bryson City Brown and App Trail EPA, plus seasonal and specialty beers. Its tasting room is open daily (hours vary).
New Origin Brewing Co. 171 Thompson St., Biltmore Village, 701-261-5861, www.neworiginbrewing.com, is a small 7-barrel brewery that focuses on experimental and contemporary beers. It has a taproom and beer garden, with about 12 rotating beers on tap.
Oklawaha Brewing Company (147 1st Avenue East, Hendersonville, 828-595-9956, www.oklawahabrewing.com), formerly Sanctuary Brewing, is located in a 4,000 sq. ft. space in downtown Hendersonville. Sanctuary brews small-batch ales, IPAs and Irish stouts. Its taproom hosts live music events nightly. Oklawaha is the name of the creek that runs through Hendersonville.
One World Brewing (520 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, and 10 Patton Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-575-9992, www.oneworldbrewing.com) first opened in a small, low-profile site near Farm Burger, three flights downstairs, in Downtown Asheville in 2014. In 2018 it opened a larger, 10-barrel location in West Asheville. The West Asheville location has free parking in back with a taproom and spacious outdoor space for live music.
Bee City USA Asheville is Beer City USA, yes. But it’s also officially Bee City USA. In June 2012, the Asheville City Council voted unanimously to become the inaugural Bee City USA (www.beecityusa.org). Bee City USA is based in Asheville and now has about 100 Bee Cities across the country. Bee Cities follow a set of standards for sustainable pollinators. It is legal to keep bees within the Asheville city limits as long as the beehive is 100 feet or more from the home of anyone except the beekeeper, and the beekeeper must get a permit ($25).
No permits are required for Buncombe County residents. Among the beekeeping organizations in the area are the Buncombe County Beekeepers Chapter (www.wncbees.org) and Henderson County Beekeepers Association (www.hcbeekeepers.com).
Oskar Blues Brewery (342 Mountain Industrial Dr.., Brevard, www.oskarblues.com) is a Longmont, Colo., craft brewer that in late 2012 opened a 30,000 sq. ft. brewery and a separate restaurant in Brevard. Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis chose Brevard in part because he has long mountain biked in the area. The Tasty Weasel taproom is open daily with free tours of the brewery, and a food truck is on site most days. Among its many brews are its best-known Dale’s Pale Ale. In 2022, Monster Beverage acquired Oskar Blues as part of its purchase of CANarchy.
Oyster House Brewing Company (625 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-575-9370, www.oysterhousebeers.com) is across from Sunny Point restaurant. Its Moonstone Stout, among other beers, is brewed with oyster shells. (The oyster beers don't taste like oysters.) The food menu here is primarily based on New Orleans dishes such as gumbo, red beans and rice and fried shrimp and fried oyster poboys.
Pisgah Brewing Company (150 Eastside Dr., Black Mountain, 828-669-0190, www.pisgahbrewing.com) just west of Black Mountain is a certified organic brewer that puts out around a half dozen year-round beers, ales and stouts, plus seasonal brews. Its best-known product is probably Pisgah Pale Ale. Its tasting room is open only on Friday and Saturday. Free brewery tours are offered.
Riverbend Malt House (12 Gerber Rd., Suite C, South Asheville, 828-450-1081, www.riverbendmalt.com) doesn't brew beer. Instead, it provides local and regional craft breweries with locally sourced grains for their brewing. It has 19 standard malts plus customs ones. It sells to hundreds of craft breweries and distilleries across the country.
7 Clans Brewery (66 Sweeten Creek Rd., South Asheville near Biltmore Village, 828-505-1151, www.7clansbrewing.com). Opened in 2022, this indigenous woman-owned brewery in Biltmore Village features gluten-reduced blonde ales, IPAs, saisons, sours and others. The 7 Clans name refers to the seven clans of the Cherokee. The taproom is open daily during the afternoon and evening. On some days there is a rotating food truck on site.
Sideways Farm & Brewery (62 Eade Rd., Etowah, 828-595-4001, www.sidewaysfarm.com) is a family-owned brewery that specializes in small-batch artisan beers from ingredients grown on the 10-acre flower farm in Transylvania County. Each week, Sideways crafts a new limited edition beer. So far, Sideways has created more than 100 different brews. Its tasting room is open only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Snowbird Mountains Brewery (378 Locust St., Andrews, 678-410-3035, www.snowbirdmountainsbrewery.com) is a nanobrewery and tap room, open weekends, in the small town of Andrews.
Southern Appalachian Craft Brewery (822 Locust St., Hendersonville, 828-684-1235, www.sabrewery.com) has a dog-friendly tasting room in downtown Hendersonville serving their pilsner, blonde and amber ales, IPA and stout beers on draft, along with pretzels. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Sweeten Creek Brewing (1127 Sweeten Creek Rd., South Asheville, 828-575-2785, www.sweetencreekbrewing.com). Opened in December 2015, Sweeten Creek is a micro that sells its pale ales, pilsners and others at an associated restaurant, Bears BBQ.
Thirsty Monk (2 Town Square Blvd., Biltmore Town Square Park, South Asheville,and 92 Patton Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-687-3873), better known as a bar than as a beer and hard seltzer brewery, has a brewpub at Biltmore Town Square, with 22 taps, a cocktail and a bar food menu. Thirsty Monk in Downtown Asheville on Patton Avenue has a three-level operation with three bars: Top of the Monk Cocktail Bar, Holy Water Hard Seltzer Brewpub and Delirium Belgian Bar.
Turgua Brewing Co. (3131 Cane Creek Rd.., Fairview, 828-338-0218, www.turguabrewing.com). The focus here is on unusual ales, lagers and sours made us-ing local ingredients and seasonal crops from the owner’s farm. The taproom, Turgua on the Creek, is on the banks of Cane Creek. The meaning of Turgua (pronounced Turg-wah) is “valley of the birds,” the area in Venezuela where the owner was born.
12 Bones South (2350 Hendersonville Rd., South Asheville, 828-687-1395, www.12bones.com) is a 15-barrel brewery as well as a popular barbecue joint. The South location has indoor as well as outdoor seating, next to a railroad track, with longer hours than the River Arts District location. It’s open from 11:30 to 8 pm Mon-day to Saturday, noon to 6 on Sunday and closed Monday.
Twin Leaf Brewery (144 Coxe Ave., South Slope, Downtown Asheville, 828-774-5000, www.twinleafbrewery.com) is a brewpub that has operated since 2013. It specializes in its own Belgian ales and barrel-aged beers and has more than a dozen brews on tap.
UpCountry Brewing (1042 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-575-2400, www.upcountrybrewing.com) has a brewpub and pizza place, Grata Pizzeria, in West Asheville. Closed Monday. It also has a taproom in Brevard at 212 King Street.
Wedge Brewing Co. (37 Payne’s Way, and 5 Foundy St., River Arts District, and Grove Arcade, 1 Page Ave., Ste. 152, Downtown Asheville, 828-505-2792, www.wedgebrewing.com) brews artisan beers in the Wedge Studios building in the River Arts District. In good weather, you can join the crowds in a picnic area outside, where there are also food trucks. Movies are sometimes shown outside under the stars. In 2017, Wedge opened a second location in the RAD on Foundy Street next to 12 Bones. In 2022, it opened a taproom in the Grove Arcade.
White Labs (172 S. Charlotte St., Downtown Asheville, 828-974-3868, www.whitelabs.com) has about 28 beers on draft, but when you order you realize that all but a handful are White Labs beers, identified not by name but by the kind of yeast used. White Labs, headquartered in San Diego, is primarily a national provider of brewers yeasts to home and craft brewers. The restaurant and taproom has good wood-fired pizzas.
Whistle Hop Brewing Co. (1288 Charlotte Hwy., Fairview, South Asheville, 828-338-9447, www.whistlehop.com) is designed around old railroad cars on three acres. It brews a large variety of styles of beers and ales. The pet-friendly spot has disc golf and music some nights. It also operates the Smashville Food Truck.
Whiteside Brewing Co. (128 NC 107, Cashiers, 828-743-6000, www.whitesidebrewing.com), located in Cashiers next to the Laurel Inn brews about a dozen beers in a variety of styles. It has a menu of wings, burgers and sandwiches, along with its own and guest beers. Closed Wednesdays.
Wicked Weed Brewing (91 Biltmore Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-575-9599, www.wickedweedbrewing.com). After opening in late 2012 Wicked Weed quickly be-came one of Asheville’s most popular brewpubs. There’s a good restaurant upstairs, serving pub food and a little more, including steaks and trout and a bison burger, in a nicely built out space with raw brick and a glassed-in open kitchen, along with a bottle shop. The beer bar and original 15-barrel brewery are downstairs. Wicked Weed also operates the Funkatorium, a 12,000 sq. ft. sour beer tasting room, associated with Cultura restaurant, at 147 Coxe Avenue Downtown. It also has a taproom, Wicked Weed West, at its main 50-barrel production facility on Sandhill Road in Enka. In 2017, Wicked Weed sold out to AnBEV, making some locals upset and others envious, but its focus is still local. Definitely try the Pernicious Ale.
Zebulon Artisan Ales (8 Merchants Alley, Weaverville, www.zebulonbrewing.com) opened in February 2016. It is a limited production microbrewery focusing on Belgian and French farmhouse styles, although it brews other limited production beers. Tasting room open Friday and Saturday.
Zillicoah Beer Co. (870 Riverside Dr., Woodfin, North Asheville, 828-424-7929, www.zillicoahbeer.com) specializes in open-fermented farmhouse ales and lagers, using a 15-barrel system. It has a cool 4-acre location on the French Broad River a little north of the River Arts District, with a covered outdoor patio. Zillocah usually offers about a dozen of its beers on tap, along with a few ciders, wines and other beverages. There is a resident food truck on site, Taqueria Muñoz. Open daily, it strictly limits admission to those 21 and over, except on Sunday, which is family day. Every other Sunday, there is a bluegrass jam.
Asheville offers a number of beer tour options. Besides the tours noted below, you can also do it yourself by following the Asheville Ale Trail (www.ashevillealetrail.com). There are maps online plus paper maps distributed at around 150 locations.
Amazing Pubcycle (828-214-5010, www.amazingpubcycle.com) is a bicycle made for 15 that peddles its way (10 riders help peddle, with a motor providing the rest of the power) through Downtown, past various pubs and other sights. Regular guided tours last about 1½ hours, make one pub stop and cost $35 per person Sunday to Thursday and $38 on Friday and Saturday. A Nomad tour of about 40 minutes costs $25 per person Sunday to Thursday and $28 Saturday and Sunday. Tours, most of which leave from Spruce Street next to the Twisted Laurel Pub at the corner of College and Spruce streets, are BYOB, but glass containers aren’t permitted. Riders must be at least 12 years old. The Pubcycle usually doesn't operate in January and February. Group and private tours also available Tours should be booked in advance.
Asheville Brews Cruise (Downtown Asheville, 828-545-5181, www.brewscruise.com) takes beer fans on van and walking tours of three local breweries for about $70 per person including sales tax. Van tours for up to 14 people, daily except Monday (less frequently in winter), last about three hours and include 4 oz. samples of around a dozen beers and ales. Tour times vary but typically are at 3 pm most days and at noon on Saturdays. Typically, tours depart from the Asheville Art Museum on Pack Square or Hi-Wire Brewing. Private group and party tours also available, as are shuttles for parties. This company was established in Asheville as the first craft beer tour and now operates in more than a dozen cities nationwide.
Asheville Brewery Tours (Downtown Asheville, 828-233-5006, www.ashevillebrewerytours.com) offers walking and mobile brewery tours. Tours last about three hours, include sample beer tastings. Costs range from $69 per person for walking tours and $79 for van tours ($40 less for non-drinkers.) Rates are plus tax and processing fee. The company has also does private tours for up to 100 people.
Appalachian Ridge Artisan Ciders (749 Chestnut Gap Rd., Hendersonville, 828-699-7507) opened in 2018 in a converted and restored barn surrounded by an apple orchard. The owners also operate a winery, Saint Paul Mountain Farms, and a specialty coffee roaster and espresso bar, Sharewell Coffee. The cidery is open afternoons daily.
Black Mountain Ciderworks + Meadery (Eastside Business Park, 104 Eastside Dr. #307, Black Mountain, 828-419-0089, www.blackmountainciderworks.com) crafts ciders and mead from local apples and honey in a former furniture factory. Closed Monday.
Bold Rock Hard Cider (72 School House Rd., Mills River, 828-595-9940, www.boldrock.com) has a 22,500 sq. ft. cidery off I-26 not far from Sierra Nevada. An expansion of a Virginia-based cidery, with four locations in Virginia plus the one in Mills River, Bold Rock also has a taproom in Downtown Asheville (39 N. Lexington Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-552-3720.) Bold Rock uses apples sourced from North Carolina and Virginia orchards. It produces bottled, canned and draft cider and also hard seltzer, hard tea, hard lemonade and ready-to-drink craft cocktails. Its tasting room in Mills River is open daily, with trivia nights, music bingo and other events. It has seven core ciders, plus seasonal and specialty ones. There is a food truck on site.
Botanist & Barrel Cidery and Winery (31 Broadway St., Ste. 110, Downtown Asheville, 828-338-9516, www.botanistandbarrel.com) features natural cider and wines. It has some 500 items, including more than 30 of its premium fruit ciders, at its Asheville location (another is in Cedar Grove, NC). There’s live music some nights. Open afternoons daily.
Daidala Ciders (122 Riverside Dr., Studio A, River Arts District, 828-407-3538, www.daidalaciders.com) is a "nomadic" cider maker. It has a small taproom on the second floor of the Cotton Mill Studios. Limited hours. Daidala Ciders is based in Portland, Ore.
Flat Rock Cider Company (925 Upward Rd., Hendersonville, 828-393-4676, www.flatrockcidercompany.com) makes apple, blackberry and other cider from orchards in Henderson County.
Jeter Mountain Farm (1126 Jeter Mountain Rd., Hendersonville, 828-513-0404, www.jetermountainfarm.com) is a U-pick apple orchard and wedding venue. The 400-acre farm has a hard cider taproom open seasonally, usually mid-July through October.
Noble Cider & Mead (356 New Leicester Hwy., West Asheville, and49 Rankin Ave. Downtown Asheville, 828-575-9622, www.noblecider.com) uses Western North Carolina apples to create a variety of gluten free, dry to semi-dry hard ciders, made with no artificial ingredients. It has a production facility and taproom in Leicester and a cider taproom on Rankin Avenue in Downtown Asheville. Noble Cider is sold on tap throughout the area.
Urban Orchard Cidery Co. (210 Haywood Rd., West Asheville, 828-774-5151, and 24 Buxton Ave., South Slope, Downtown Asheville, 828-505-7243, www.urbanorchardcider.com) offers its flagship hard apple ciders on tap with a rotating selection of seasonal batches. All Urban Orchard Ciders are made from Henderson County apples, are aged a minimum of eight months and are naturally gluten-free. Ur-ban Orchard has a second location in Asheville on the South Slope at 24 Buxton Ave. However, only the West Asheville location serves food.
Asheville is known as for its beer microbreweries, but the area is also home to a number of thriving wineries, including the most visited winery in the country, Bilt-more.
North Carolina has more than 400 vineyards and 100 wineries. More than 20 of the wineries are in Western North Carolina. There are about 18 vineyards in the Tryon area in the foothills of the mountains. Before Prohibition, Tryon was one of the major grape growing areas of North Carolina.
The Piedmont of North Carolina, immediately east of the mountains, with its milder winters and longer growing season, has the most vineyards and wineries in the state. The biggest cluster of wineries and vineyards is in the Yadkin Valley northwest and southwest of Winston-Salem, home to some three dozen wine operations.
The Carolina mountains, with winter temperatures sometimes dropping below ze-ro, and killing frosts possible in some mountains areas from October to May, are not easy places to grow wine grapes. However, some enterprising mountain vintners have succeeded in creating very drinkable chardonnay, riesling, sauvignon blanc, merlot, syrah and cabernet sauvignon wines. The Appalachian Viticultural Area (VTA), spanning eight counties in the region, is 2,400 square miles in size, with 21 vineyards and 10 wineries. Crest of the Blue Ridge, around Asheville-Hendersonville, is another VTA.
Here are some selected winery operations in the mountains. Hours for vineyards and wineries vary seasonally. Call or email in advance to see if the places you want to visit are open and accepting visitors. Some tours and wine-tastings are free, and others have a charge.
Don’t expect the Napa Valley.
Note that you must be at least 21 to participate in a wine, beer or distilled liquor tasting.
See NC Wine (www.ncwine.org) for information on wine trails in North Carolina.
Addison Farms Vineyards (4005 New Leicester Hwy., Leicester, 828-581-9463, www.addisonfarms.net), a 55-acre family farm, has around 6 acres in mostly French-American hybrid wine grapes. It produces cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, sangiovese, montepulciano, petit verdot and petit manseng. Tours, currently Saturdays at 2, are $36 per person. Tastings are offered several times a week, with the most on Satur-day, and cost $17. Advance reservations required.
Banner Elk Winery & Villa (135 Deer Run Lane, Banner Elk, 828-260-1790, www.bannerelkwinery.com), established in 2005, produces about wines from its own French-American hybrid grapes and from grapes from other local producers. Its cabernet sauvignon, seyval blanc, marechal foch and other wines have won medals at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh and at other wine competitions. The winery is open noon to 6 daily. Also available is a villa and other lodging for overnight stays.
Biltmore Winery (Antler Hill Village, Asheville, 800-411-3812 or 828-225-1333, www.biltmore.com, for more information see the chapter on Biltmore) is America’s most-visited winery, mostly because a visit to the winery (the modern fermentation room and wine cellar) and tasting room are included in estate admission, and the estate gets more than a million visitors a year. There’s often a long line for the tasting, especially in the late afternoon.
Tasting of Biltmore’s standard reds, whites and rosés, a total of about 20 kinds, is complimentary, but there’s an upcharge for each premium wine. Biltmore first planted wine grapes in 1971, and now there are some 45 acres in producing vineyards.
Biltmore makes chardonnay, riesling, viognier, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and merlot, some from grapes grown on the estate but most, about 80%, from grapes purchased from other vineyards, mainly in California and Washington State. Biltmore produces about 155,000 cases of wine annually.
The North Carolina mountain climate is not always friendly for growing French and hybrid French-American wine grapes; in the winter of 1995 the estate lost many acres of vines to three days of extreme cold.
The first Biltmore wines, especially the reds, were barely drinkable, but thanks to Biltmore winemasters Philippe Jourdain and later Bernard Delille and winemaker Sha-ron Fenchak the reputation of the winery has greatly improved in recent years, and the estate’s wines have won many awards in national and international competitions. Jerry Douglas, who retired in 2022, was the president of Biltmore Wine Company for many years. The wine is bottled under several labels, including Biltmore, Century and Bilt-more Estate. The Biltmore Estate labeled wines are made only from North Carolina grapes. Biltmore wines are sold at the winery shop and in stores in 13 states. The winery is open 365 days a year.
Burntshirt Vineyards (2695 Sugarloaf Rd., Hendersonville, 828-685-2402, www.burntshirtvineyards.com) has more than 30 acres of grapes in production. It has a 10,400 square feet wine production center. Some of its wines, including gruner veltliner and merlot wines, have won awards. Tours are offered at 2 pm daily, or by reservation. Tastings are $12 to $16, and the Hendersonville tasting room is open daily from noon. Burntshirt also has a tasting room and bistro in Chimney Rock.
Grandfather Vineyard & Winery (225 Vineyard Lane, Banner Elk, 828-963-2400, www.grandfathervineyard.com) produces a dozen or so wines, mostly from purchased grapes, but there are about 5 acres of planted grapes. Wine tastings daily, mid-May to November, with reduced hours the rest of the year. Wine flights are $15.50.
Marked Tree Vineyard (623 Deep Gap Rd., Flat Rock, 828-513-3773, www.markedtreevineyard.com). New in 2020, Marked Tree Vineyard has French hybrid and vinifera grapes, selected, the owners say, to do well in the mountain climate and rocky loam soil. It produces chardonel, vidal blanc, cab franc and other varietals, along with a number of blends. Tastings are around $15. A tour and a tasting, Friday to Sunday in-season, are $35 per person.
Overmountain Vineyards (2012 Sandy Plains Rd., Tryon, 828-863-0523, www.overmountainvineyards.com) has five varieties of grapes planted – cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, petit merdot and petit mansing – on 18 acres. The tast-ing room is open afternoons year-round Wednesday-Sunday; hours vary. Reservations requested. Overmountain also offers overnight lodging in two villas, listed on Airbnb. Overmountain also has U-Pick blueberries in June and July.
plēb urban winery (289 Lyman St., River Arts District, 828-774-5062, www.pleburbanwinery.com) buys grapes from local vineyards and makes the wine in its RAD winery. In a graffiti art filled space, opening to the outdoors through garage doors, it serves a selection of its own and other local wines, along with some local craft beers and ciders.
Point Lookout (Vineyard 408 Appleola Rd., Hendersonville, 828-808-8923, www.pintlookoutvineyards.com) has beautiful views, an attractive tasting room and good wines. Located about 10 miles from downtown Hendersonville, it produces Riesling, chardonnay, merlot and other wines. Open daily noon to 6.
Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards (588 Chestnut Gap Rd., Hendersonville, 828-685-4002, www.saintpaulfarms.com) is Henderson County’s newest vineyard and tasting room, located northeast of Hendersonville. The winery is open daily in the afternoons.
South Creek Winery (2240 South Creek Rd., off MM 246 of Blue Ridge Parkway, Nebo, 828-652-5729, www.southcreekwinery.com) produces mostly Bordeaux-style wines in a farmhouse in Nebo near Lake James. The winery’s cabs, merlots and viogners have won several awards. Hours vary, but the winery is usually open Wednesday to Saturday, April through November. Call for information.
Stone Ashe Vineyard (736 Green Mountain Rd., Hendersonville, 828-551-5643, www.stoneashevineyards.com) makes merlot, chardonnay, Riesling and other wines. It has a beautiful tasting room. Tastings are $15 to $18. Closed Tuesday.
In the last decade, distilleries once again became legal in North Carolina, and due to a recent change in state law you can now buy up to five bottles per adult at most distilleries. Previously, they could only be purchased in ABC or other liquor stores.
Asheville Distilling Company (45 S. French Broad Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-575-2000, www.ashevilledistilling.com). Established in 2010, and formerly known as Troy & Sons, Asheville Distilling specializes in "legal moonshine" ... and it's all rather upscale stuff. It closed its original location, but the company says it plans to reopen in its new site on South French Broad Avenue in fall 2023.
Blue Ridge Distilling (228 Redbud Lane, Bostic, 828-245-2041, www.defiantwhisky.com) in Rutherford County currently produces a Scotch-style single malt American whisky called Defiant Single Malt and also a 100% rye, Defiant Rye. Free tours are offered Monday to Friday from 9 to 3 and Saturday from 10 to 4.
The Chemist (151 Coxe Ave., South Slope, Downtown Asheville, 828-525-6260, www.chemistspirits.com), a part of Apothecary Beverage Co., focuses on distilling gins (Navy, American, Rose and Barrel Rested), and about a half dozen other liquors and liqueurs, some of which you can sample in the tasting room, open daily. One-hour tours ($25 per person) are offered by appointment online. Fever-Tree Botanic Bar at Chemist is Fever-Tree mixers’ first permanent bar in the United States, on the rooftop of the three story South Slope building.
Cultivated Cocktails (29 Page Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-338-9779, www.cultivated-cocktails.com). Formerly H&H Distillery, the company moved Downtown and upped its game. It distills gin, rum, vodka, whisky and liqueurs and an aperitif. It also offers cocktail kits.
Dalton Distillery (251 Biltmore Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-785-1499, www.dalton-distillery.com) makes rums and vodkas, most exotically flavored such as a coffee rum and a vodka distilled from blue agave. Some are an acquired taste.
Eda Rhyne Distillery (101 Fairview Rd., Suite A, South Asheville near Biltmore Vil-lage, 828-412-5441, www.edarhyne.com) uses the flavors of indigenous medicinal plants to make herbal liquors and other spirits in small batches. It now has a small bar, Village Pub, across the street, with a menu of burgers and bar food. The pub is open daily for lunch and dinner.
Oak and Grist Distilling Co. (1556 Grovestone Rd., Black Mountain, 828-357-5750, www.oakandgrist.com) distills a gin and a malt whisky, from local barley. The bar is open afternoons Monday to Saturday. Tours ($15 to $25) are available Wednesday to Friday.
Rye Knot (868 Merrimon Ave. North Asheville, 828-575-2226, www.ryeknotco.com) is a restaurant, brewery and distillery. Good food, plenty of free parking and very drinkable vodka and whiskeys, sold by the bottle or in drinks. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Liquor and Wine Stores
ABC Stores (828-251-6192, www.ashevilleabcboard.com, all stores open 9-9 Mon.-Sat.) In North Carolina, liquor by the bottle (as opposed to wine and beer, or liquor by the drink) is sold only in state-owned Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) stores and, since 2019, at distilleries that can sell an unlimited number of bottles of their own product to visitors.
After Prohibition ended in 1933, ABC stores were established in the state beginning in 1937, and the first ABC store in Asheville opened in 1947.
A few other municipalities in Buncombe County, including Woodfin and Black Mountain, have since voted for ABC stores. Only one county in the state does not have ABC stores: Graham in Western North Carolina. Although ABC stores carry many of the same brands, some stores are larger than others and have a wider selection. The stores in North Asheville (807 Merrimon Ave.) and East Asheville (145 Tunnel Rd.) are the largest in Asheville. Henderson County’s Fletcher ABC store (37 Rockwood Road) near the Asheville Regional Airport is one of the friendliest and best-stocked stores in the region.
The NC Legislature has been looking into privatizing liquor sales in the state.
Until about 40 years ago, to get a drink here in a restaurant you had to “brown bag” your bottle, and the restaurant sold set-ups. In 1979, local citizens voted to permit liquor by the drink in restaurants and private clubs within the Asheville city limits. There are about 300 establishments in Asheville and some other municipalities in Buncombe County that have permits to sell liquor by the drink. Beer and wine are sold in grocery supermarkets, convenience stores and package stores.
Appalachian Vintner (745 Biltmore Ave., Upper Biltmore Village, 828-505-7500, www.appalachianvitner.com) is a well-respected store with an interesting selection of wines, including organics, craft beers, ciders, mead and sake. A lounge serves draft beer and wines. AV has regular wine tastings. Closed Sunday.
Asheville Wine Market (65 Biltmore Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-253-0060, www.ashevillewine.com) is one of the area’s larger wine stores, with a knowledgeable staff. It teams up with local chefs to stage wine dinners. Closed Sunday.
Earth Fare (66 Westgate Parkway, 828-253-7656, West Asheville, www.earthfare.com) has a reasonable selection of wines.
Fresh Market (944 Merrimon Ave., North Asheville, 828-252-9098, and 1378 Hendersonville Rd., South Asheville, 828-277-7023, www.thefreshmarket.com), Asheville outposts of this upscale grocery chain, has a decent selection of reds and whites but a terrible selection of champagnes. Don’t expect a lot of wine help from employees.
Table Wine (1550 Hendersonville Rd., South Asheville, 828-505-8588, www.tablewineasheville.com) carries some 500 wines, most from small artisanal wineries, and many are organics. Closed Sunday.
Weinhaus (86 Patton Ave., Downtown Asheville, 828-254-6453, www.weinhaus.com) is Asheville’s oldest operating wine store. It has a good selection of beers, too. The Cork & Keg Bar, inside the store, sells beer and wine by the glass. Closed Monday.
Whole Foods (70 Merrimon Ave., North Asheville, 828-254-5440, 1856 Hendersonville Rd. South Asheville, 828-378-0477and 4 S. Tunnel Rd., East Asheville, 828-239-9604, www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/asheville) has a decent selection of wines, including organic wines, and attentive staffers.
All content copyright © Lan Sluder except selected photographs used by permission and brief quotations or other fair use text, which are owned by the copyright holder.
We have made every effort to confirm the accuracy of information on this website, and in the Amazing Asheville book and ebooks, but travel information is subject to frequent change, and no warranty is made, express or implied. Please notify us of any errors or omissions, and we will attempt to correct them as soon as possible. All opinions expressed are those of the author, Lan Sluder, unless otherwise noted.