The Quest for the Holy Grain - Best Microbreweries
North Carolina

 

 

Asheville

Black Mountain

Hendersonville

Sylva

 

 

Road to Asheville

Asheville is the crown jewel in Western North Carolina's burgeoning brewery scene.
Asheville, population about 85,000, is home to 13 breweries, and many beer bars. More are located within a short driving radius.
We had every intention of going to more places on our three-night field trip.
We found Frog Level but it was too early.
You need to pay admission to Biltmore Estate to get into Biltmore Brewing.
Altamont, Thirsty Monk Brewing, Headwaters, and Highland didn't open 'til 4:00. By then the car was going home for the day.
We did manage to log 11 brewpubs, 5 beer bars, and a retailer.
Ironically, the guy drinking next to us at the Mellow Mushroom was the brewer at Highland. We exchanged cards. (He was a mite pissed...we went to every place in town but his.)
We saw ads for bars with 30 -40 taps, but ...so much beer, so little time.

 

A Questor's Guide to Beer Drinking in Asheville

1. Have a map, and a plan.
With 13 breweries (as of 2014) in Asheville proper, and many great beer bars from which to dispense these beers, one must have a plan.
There is a useful guidebook with maps that can be picked up at many watering holes in town.
Plan your stops geographically, so you can make as many stops as possible in one area.
Note: Ask around...there are many more good beer bars than those listed in the guidebook!

2. Many of the breweries serve just beer. Remember to plan accordingly for your non-drinking friends, or your compatriots that prefer distilled spirits.

3. Don't neglect to take as many beers home as possible...that's why cars have trunks and trucks have beds.
There are a number of great bottle shops in Asheville where beers can be purchased singly.
They also sell beer in grocery stores.

4. Check on times.
Most of the microbreweries don't seem to open until between 2:00 and 4:00 PM. Check the websites of the breweries and plan accordingly.

 

 

Altamont Brewing Company
1042 Haywood Rd

Asheville, NC 28806
phone: (828) 575-2400

Altamont Brewing Company is a microbrewery/bar in West Asheville.
Due to the fact that Altamont has a full bar, but serves no food, one must become a member before entering.
The fee is $1 annually. Companions of members may enter as guests.
Taps number 16; 6 Altamont beers and 10 guest taps.
The bottle selection numbered about 20.
The barrom was spacious. The bar itself seats maybe 14 and there were also some tables and a roomy ping-pong area.
As with many Asheville venues, Altamont is dog-friendly. There is protocol, however.
Dogs must be leashed, remain even-tempered, promise not to pee everywhere, and be able to cajole their owners into picking up any poop which may fall.
Altamont has outdoor seating, a live music schedule, and was an enjoyable place to spend a saturday afternoon in the summer.

 

 

Burial Beer Company
40 Collier Ave
Asheville 28801-4024
phone: (828) 475-2739

Burial Beer Company is a microbrewery and taproom just south of downtown Asheville.
Where does the name come from, you ask.
According to the mission statement, " Burial, for some, is a necessary step to reach the afterlife. At Burial Beer Co., we see it as a celebration: of life, of the cyclical nature of harvest and of the brewing process.  What better way to celebrate than with a beer?"
Several other breweries are close by in the immediate neighborhood.

The taproom has seating inside at a small bar, more seats under a covered patio, and 2 picnic tables out back in the small courtyard.
Cornhole competition was being held outside, and a Foosball table was spotted inside.
Burial had 7 of their beers on tap, and the ones we tried were fresh and delicious.
Burial Beer Company looks like a fun, informal venue for a good time and great beer.

 

 

Twin Leaf Brewery
Located at 144 Coxe Avenue , on the corner of Coxe and Banks in the South Slope of downtown Asheville !

Twin Leaf Brewing is located in Asheville's South Slope neighborhood, and is one of several breweries that lie a stone's throw from each other.
Twin Leaf has an attractively appointed tap room adjacent to the brew works, where they usually have abut 14 beers on tap.
The taproom bar seats about 18 guests, and 6 picnic tables round out the seating.
Gleaming fermenters can be seen from the taproom, and also from the sidewalk outside.
The beer, of course, was fresh and delicious, and our barkeep was eager to talk about the brews.

 

 

Hi-Wire Brewing
197 Hilliard Ave
Asheville 28801
phone: (828) 575-9675

Hi-Wire is a brewery in downtown Asheville with its tasting room right inside the brewery.
The bar seats about 8, with seating for about 20 more on stools, along rails, or at tables.

At the time of our visit, Hi-Wire had 7 of its house beers on tap, with 3 guest taps.
As with many area breweries, it is a live music venue.
Hi-Wire's motif embraces a circus theme, and its beers can be found in area gas stations, grocery stores, and beer shops.

 

 

French Broad Brewery
101 Fairview Road  
Asheville, NC 28803
(828) 277-0222

The French Broad Brewery is in a small industrial complex several miles from downtown Asheville. The small tasting room bar area has modest hanging-out space and a few tables almost in the midst of the brewing operation.
In fact, the bandstand is on the other side of the divider.
Perhaps after working hours the public space is expanded.
They have eight of their own beers on tap and also offer soft pretzels.
French Broad classifies their beers as "continental European style."
French Broad brews 5 year-round beers which are always available at the Tasting Room.

 

 

Green Man Brewery
23 Buxton Ave.
Asheville, NC
828-252-5502

Green Man Brewing is a small brewery several blocks from downtown Asheville.
Originally opened as a brew pub in a nearby location, Green Man became a production brewer in 2010.
The Green Man himself is any representation of a face surrounded by or made from leaves. It is an ancient symbol, often of rebirth or renewal.
The bar area is in a small tasting room with an overflow area into the production facilities where the bandstand is located.
There is also an outdoor patio.
Green Man is dog- and kid-friendly, and patrons can amuse themselves by throwing darts or eating pretzels.
They have about six of their own beers on tap as well as about six guest taps.

 

 

Wedge Brewing Company
125B Roberts Street  
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 505-2792

The Wedge Brewing Company is located in the basement of an old building dedicated otherwise to ceremic and clay art studios in the River Arts District adjacent to Downtown Asheville.
The building, which once was used to store slaughtered hogs, is, as the owners say, "in the last frontier of Asheville."
The bar rail and stools nearly encircle the whole small tasting room.
There are tables among the trees along the path from the street, as well as on the small entrance porch.
There are tables for what appears to be about 100 customers out in the dusty lot, under the sun.
Perhaps this is a charming place after dark. They had five of their beers on tap.

 

Heinzelmännchen Brewery
Dieter Kuhn & Sheryl Rudd, Owners
545 Mill Street • PO Box 2075
Sylva, North Carolina 28779
828-631-4466

The Heinzelmannchen Brewery, Sylva NC, is a one-man operation.
That one man is Dieter Kuhn.
He has a cooker, and one
10-barrel fermenter.
Dieter uses lager recipes, but an ale yeast to make his five brews. After a three day ferment, he kegs the beer for further conditioning. He has several commercial accounts and does a good growler business.

 

 

Southern Appalachian Brewery
822 Locust St, Suite 100
Hendersonville, NC, 28792

The Southern Appalachian Brewery is in a small industrial complex in the Asheville suburb of Hendersonville.
The small tasting room has seating outside. There are five of their beers on tap as well as a guest. Their beers include a Pils, Belgian Blonde, Stout, and others.
Southern Appalachian encourages carry out or delivery of food from nearby restaurants and have an array of locally baked soft pretzels.
They host a variety of live music. The bandstand and extra standing area are situated near the brewing equipment.
Kids are welcome, and dogs are requested to stay on their leashes.

 

Pisgah Brewing
150 Eastside Drive
Black Mountain, NC 28711
Phone 828.669.0190

Pisgah Brewing is in the Asheville suburb of Black Mountain. In a small industrial development it is hard to find.
Not much on signage, the name by the door is in 3-inch letters.
Once inside, a thirsty patron finds a spacious bar area.
The garage doors open to a paved parking lot on the far side of the building, as well as some outdoor seating.
Out front, not apparently connected to the brewery, is a field with a large bandstand . This is where Pisgah holds their frequent fests. Inside, customers will find about 10 beers brewed by Pisgah on tap as well as about 10 guest taps.

 

 

 

"They who drink beer will think beer ." ....Washington Irving

"Anything worth doing is worth overdoing." ...Altamont Brewing Co.