Asheville: Navigating your way through a river of beer
Buncombe County is home to more than two dozen craft brewers. Here's an itinerary to help to traverse the suds.
|Highland Brewing Co. rooftop taproom overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains.|
Buckle up, arm-twist someone to be your designated driver – and let’s go!
TOP FIVE CRAFT BREWERIES NOT TO MISS
Catawba's South Slope taproom is flanked by Buxton Hall BBQ and Vortex Doughnuts.
Catawba Brewing: This is another pioneering story. Forged from equipment out of a defunct Colorado brewery and housed in a near dilapidated warehouse in Glen Alpine, NC, Catawba is one of those craft brewer stories that began as a hobby – and turned into a passion-fueled business. Since its founding in 1999, Catawba experienced steady growth and today a 30-barrel brew house in Morganton, NC, produces nine flagship beers. A taproom on Asheville’s popular South Slope brews small batches and is home to the barrel-aging program. Another taproom in Biltmore Village makes getting a taste of Catawba convenient. South Slope: 32 Banks Ave. Biltmore Village: 63 Brook St. Morganton: 212 S. Green St.
For more info on the dynamic Asheville brewing scene, visit the resources on the Asheville Brewers Alliance website.
|Attention to detail carries all the way to the taps at Archetype Brewing. Glass lines above the taps allow guests to assess the color of each beer before ordering. Tim Rutherford photo.|
Co. and Asheville's Hi-Wire Brewing Co. The self-taught brewer immerses himself into his passion -- and it shows. 265 Haywood Road (Nicely situated between Pizza Mind and the westside Gan Shan Station.
Hungrymansguide pick: I really enjoyed a flight of Porter, IPA, Stout, Saison and Witbier. Then I sampled teh Blonde -- a very complex and satisfying beer that should emerge as Archetype's flagship. This beer reacts like a fine wine -- aromatics going from tropical fruit to honey as the beers warms. On the palate, this blonde starts silky and finished velvety and decadent with a nice grain and hops bill that is as balanced as it is carefully conceived.
|This somewhat daunting entry leads down a flight of steps to the cool, craft beer friendly taproom of One World Brewing.|
Day or night, there's always a fun-loving crowd of beer drinkers at Hi-Wire's tasting room.
FYI: April is North Carolina Beer Month – and no better time than to offer you some ideas on touring and tasting Asheville’s breweries. Remember too that there are even MORE breweries just outside of Asheville Metro. The best place to get an overview into Western North Carolina brewers is to hit up the NC Brewers Guild website where you will find more info on Beer Month and can access a printable map of North Carolina Brewers. Click on the brewery names to hit their website for more details on events, food trucks and more.
THE DESTINATION IS PART OF THE FUN
|The new, colorful Wedge at Foundation has a large special events room and plenty of seating indoors and out.|
|Busy nights at Blue Mountain Pizza means waiting for a table -- just enough time to enough the handful of small batch beers made at the restaurant.|
|Sierra Nevada Brewing near the Asheville Airport is huge -- with a taproom seating hundreds and an active tour schedule that seems perpetually booked. Self-guided tours are offered of the sprawling complex, dubbed "Malt Disney World" by employees.|
New Belgium Brewing Co., 21 Craven St.
Sierra Nevada, 100 Sierra Nevada Way, Fletcher, NC
Oskar Blues Brewery, 342 Mountain Industrial Dr., Brevard, NC