The Quest for the Holy Grain - Best Brew Pubs
North Carolina










Tipping Point Tavern
190 North Main Street  
Waynesville, NC 28786
(828) 246-9230

Tipping Point is a brew pub in the Asheville suburb of Waynesville.
Tipping Point has at least four of their own beers on tap, including an amber, IPA, blonde, and porter.
They always have Pabst Blue Ribbon on draught, and the remaining 5 taps pour a rotating selection of craft beers.

Tipping Point is a typical eatery in downtown Waynesville. A bar runs along one side and there are plenty of tables.


Foothills Brewing Company
638 W. 4th Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
phone: (336) 777-3348

In an artistic, eclectic, buzzing city of Winston-Salem in central NC, Foothills Brewing occupies a two- story building near many other eateries.
With both indoor and a very small outdoor dining area, nine beers are always on tap as well as rotating seasonal beers.
The food is okay in terms of bar food...I've had better... but the beer makes the trip worthwhile, especially the Jade IPA.
Foothills is a very popular establishment, and there was a wait for indoor seating on the June evening I was there.




Road to Asheville

Asheville is the crown jewel in Western North Carolina's burgeoning brewery scene.
Asheville, population about 85,000, is home to 16 breweries (probably more by now), and as 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.
More will come on our next trip.
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 much beer, so little time.



A Questor's Guide to Beer Drinking in Asheville

1. Have a map, and a plan.
With 20 breweries (as of 2017) 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.




Bhramari Brewing Company
101 S Lexington Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 214-7981

We entered Bhramari minus one umbrella, but remained undaunted.

Bhramari Brewing Company, named for the Hindu goddess of bees, is located on Asheville's fabled South Slope, just behind Wicked Weed.
Bhramari's flagship beers include The Good Fight Sour Pale Ale, Lorelai American IPA, Molly's Lips Black Gose, and Painted Fortune Carolina Common.
We found the illustrations on the beer cans to be inspiring...draw your own conclusions.
Aside from the flagships, Bhramari also offers small batch beers, and barrel-aged brews such as Agua Mala, or "bad water", a dry-hopped IPA aged for six months in oak tequila barrels.
The food at Bhramari is gastropub quality, and they profess to feature chef-inspired beers, and beer-inspired food!
Their menu has been called inventive and their taproom lively.
As we headed off, sans umbrella, I resolved to grab a few cans of Bhramari's All the Boys Milkshake IPA with guava and graham cracker because...well, why not?




Up Country Brewing Company
1042 Haywood Rd

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

Up Country Brewing Company is a microbrewery/bar in West Asheville.
It used to be known as Altamont Brewing, but was purchased by Terrapin Brewing of Athens, GA who changed the name.

Unlike its forerunner, Up Country serves a pretty full menu, so qualifies as a brewpub.

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.




Wicked Weed Brewing
91 Biltmore Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 575-9599

Spurred by King Henry VIII's famous quote, “Hops are a wicked and pernicious weed”, the rebellious brewmasters at Wicked Weed feature a wide variety of hoppy, untamed, flavorful beers.
The beer menu is as enormous as the oversized portrait of King Henry's plump face on the wall, so while you can't try them all at the restaurant during dinner, head downstairs to the tasting room to get your fill.

It is obvious that The Wicked Weed is serious about their craft, a quality any beer lover will certainly appreciate. They're equally devoted to serving food cooked only with fresh, high quality, local ingredients.
When a brew pub pays such close attention to detail in every aspect of the brewing and cooking process, you win.
The Wicked Weed is a must-visit for any Questor passing through western North Carolina.
There are no reservations at the restaurant, so if you have to wait, kill some time at the world famous Bruisin' Ales bottle shop, just a short walk up Biltmore Ave.




Lexington Avenue Brewery
39 North Lexington Avenue  
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 252-0212

The Lexington Avenue Brewery (LAB) is a large, modern brewpub in the center of Asheville.
It's kind of a cool place in that there are lots of nifty places to sit. The bar seems to go on forever, stretching 92 feet, and eventually one can be sitting among the tanks.
The front windowsill acts like an additional bar with people seated right at the window as the pedestrians wander by.
LAB serves four of their own beers.
They are proud of their state-of-the-art music venue.
The food at Lexington Avenue is good and not expensive.




Asheville Brewing Company
77 Coxe Avenue  
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 255-4077

Asheville Brewing Company, aka Asheville Pizza, is in a very large and spacious pizza place that also has a large outdoor seating area.
Patrons move the picnic table benches to the edge of the property, adjacent the sidewalk, and use them as tables for their beer and pizza... just inches from the pedestrians walking by.
They have eight of their beers on tap.
The brewing operation is visible behind the bar.
ABC has another location which offers a dine-in movie theater!
Their pizza has been voted "best in Western North Carolina."



Oyster House Brewing Company
35 Patton Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 350-0505

The Oyster House Brewing Company is located in a row house-sized restaurant, The Lobster Trap, in downtown Asheville. The restaurant has a seating area near the front, a bar and deli counter along one side, and booths along the other.
The half- keg system is on display behind the bar.
Oyster House serves two of their own beers and have about ten guest beers, all from the local area.
The menu offers a wide array of seafood.



The Mash House
4150 Sycamore Dairy Rd
Fayetteville, NC 28303

The Mash House brewpub is in a modern stand- alone building not far from the shopping center area.  It's designed like a chain restaurant in that one is confronted by the hostess stand upon entering the front door.  The large bar area is to the left, and a very large dining area to the right.  The brewing operation is visible through windows behind the bar.   They have 5 year-round brews on tap, as well as a seasonal, and no guest beers.  The beers are tasty and seem true to style.  An award from the GABF is on display as well as local awards.  The food was good but seemed pricey.