[Updated July 29, 2021] For people visiting the North Carolina mountains (or for those simply seeking out great beer), the number of quality breweries in Asheville NC is astonishing.
The burgeoning mountain metropolis has been noteworthy in the US craft brewing scene since the 1990s. But after Sierra Nevada set up shop in nearby Mills River NC, Asheville exploded with specialty kegs.
Nowadays, it’s not a matter of finding an Asheville brewery to visit—the city actually has an entire brewery district, South Slope—but choosing which ones are best.
We created our Best Asheville Breweries list with an eye towards the established brewhouses and taprooms that have helped to make Asheville the “Beer City” of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
All of these Asheville breweries are within city limits, unlike the beloved Sierra Nevada Brewery (which is totally worth the 30-minute trip, but not technically located in the city).
Whether you’re seeking full-blown brewery tours, just stopping by for a pint, or savoring a good meal to complement your flight of beers, these breweries in Downtown Asheville are sure to tantalize your taste buds and put a sudsy smile on your face.
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1. Asheville Brewing Company
77 Coxe Avenue • 828-255-4077
Asheville Brewing Company has been around since 1998, providing over two decades of quality craft beers to local residents.
ABC actually has three Asheville taprooms. The one listed above is in the South Slope Brewery District, but they also have North (675 Merrimon Ave) and South Asheville (1850 Hendersonville Rd Suite A) locations.
Asheville Brewing Company also offers legendary pizzas, which are served at each location.
Asheville Brewing Company Tours
For tours of Asheville Brewing Company, visitors should go to the downtown location (Coxe Ave).
There are no set times, and the equipment is behind the scenes. However, interested parties can get a little behind-the-scenes action if they politely ask for a tour.
Best ABC Brews
Asheville Brewing Company beers lean to the hoppy side: 828 Pale Ale, Fire Escape Jalapeño Pale Ale, Perfect Day IPA, and Shiva IPA are my personal favorites.
For a sampling of other year-round brews, go for the Ninja Porter, Rocket Girl Lager, and Space Dog American Wheat Ale. ABC also offers seasonal brews and brewpub exclusives.
What goes better with good beer than good pizza? If you’re going to eat at ABC, you’ll definitely want to sample the pies.
Their pizzas have unique pizzazz, such as a coconut crust with pesto base and curry toppings, or hot and spicy fried chicken pizza with pimento cheese and crumbled bacon.
Vegan options are also available (using Daiya cheese), and there are burgers and other nibble-friendly gastropub foods, too.
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2. Bhramari Brewing Company
101 S. Lexington Ave • 828-214-7981
Originally known as “Hive Mind” beers, Bhramari Brewing Company likes to get experimental with their beers.
They are offer some sour beers, as well as plenty of fruits and spices in flavored selections.
Unlike most breweries, Bhramari also offers specialty cocktails, and the food here goes out of its way to impress.
Bhramari Brewing Company Tours
No tours are available, but the brewery, taproom, and restaurant are all in the same location.
Best Bhramari Brews
Bhramari beers have unique names and flavors. Some of the stalwarts on the menu are Neon Ghosts (a New England IPA), The Good Fight (Sour Pale Ale), and Lorelai (Hazy IPA).
To get a little more adventurous with flavors, Missed the Train to Mars is a Munich rye lager with autumn spices, and Skullkill the Bloodbringer is Berliner wiesse with raspberry, lemongrass, and vanilla notes.
When it comes to the food at Bhramari, think of designer gastropub fare.
Sloppy Joes with mint chutney and yogurt are miles away from your childhood Manwich memories. Braised ribeye sandwiches with shiitakes and olive tapenade, and Korean BBQ chicken sandwich with creamy peanut butter and spicy pickles are amongst the best dishes.
Smaller “bites” include pickled eggs with herb aioli, barbecue pork nachos, and Cajun spiced boiled peanuts.
3. Burial Beer Co.
40 Collier Ave • 828-475-2739
With its small-batch, family-friendly vibe, Burial Brewing Company immediately embraced the Asheville community feel.
They made their home on the South Slope long before it became the Asheville brewery district.
They brew manually– as in stirring by hand rather than with machinery– and like to resurrect old European styles and imbue them with modern tastes.
Burial Brewing Company Tours
While no tours of the facilitates are offered, Burial’s Downtown Asheville location (there’s also one in Raleigh and a second in Asheville) has a visible 10-barrel system fed by the production facility.
Best Burial Brews
Burial plays a lot in the IPA (End of Plagues) and Imperial Stout (Deliver Us to Evil) genres of beer-making. They offer a double (Delusion Deformities) and triple (Not a Thing Left to Say) IPA, as well as a double-barrel-aged stout (Houtenhamer).
Otherwise, the names say it all: Death and the Miser is Wine Barrel-Aged Red Sour Ale with Balaton and Black Cherries, while the Old Black Hen Dark Sour Ale uses Montepulciano Grapes.
The menu at Burial does an Asheville-inspired take on pub food, with a few finger foods like boiled peanuts, Cajun pork rinds, baby turnips, and fig toast.
For main courses, all their fancy sandwiches—herb-roasted mushroom, trout katsu, or smoked brisket—come with hand-cut French fries or a side salad.
For a fancier meal, they have a second Asheville location (10 Shady Oak Dr.) that serves by reservation only.
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4. Catawba Brewing Company
32 Banks Ave • 828-552-3934
Named after the nearby Catawba River (home to Catawba Falls), the Catawba Brewing Company was founded in Morganton NC by brothers Billy and Scott Pyatt.
The company was born after the Pyatts hauled used equipment to North Carolina from a bankrupt brewery in Colorado.
In the years since, they’ve updated their equipment and grown the production facility. They also opened two smaller brewhouses in Asheville, one in South Slope and another in Biltmore Village.
Catawba Brewing Company Tours
None of the Catawba Brewing locations currently offer tours.
Best Catawba Brews
Flagship beers for Catawba start with White Zombie, a Belgian wheat with hints of orange and coriander.
Other mainstays are Clear Ridge, an IPA; Evening Joe, a coffee blond; Farmer Ted’s, a golden ale; and Brown Bear, a brown ale.
They also have interesting limited release and specialty beers, such as Honey Comb (“Honey Nut Breakfast Stout”), Coconut Porter, and Peach of Mind (Peach Farmhouse Ale).
The Catawba Brewery tasting rooms don’t have restaurants, but they are routinely serviced by various local food trucks.
5. Green Man Brewery
27 Buxton Ave • 828-252-5502
Brewing in Asheville since 1997, Green Man Brewery is one of the city’s many homegrown success stories.
By 2010, the brand had grown to such prominence that its distributional reach stretched throughout the Southeast– down to Florida, north to Virginia, and west to Tennessee.
Green Man makes fantastic traditional ales, and dips a toe into specialty markets as well.
Green Man Brewery Tours
Full Green Man Brewery tours aren’t currently available, but visiting their “Greenmansion” is really just as good.
The 3-story building has a packaging hall and gift shop on the first floor, an employees-only production space on the second, and an indoor-outdoor third floor tasting room that offers awesome overviews of the production space.
Best Green Man Brews
Sticking to the basics of the various Green Man brews, the ESB, Wayfarer IPA, and Rainmaker Double IPA are top choices for newbies.
Tart Berry Berliner Weiss is a fine offering for fruit junkies, Green Man Lager is for those in search of the “lightest” beer, and Trickster IPA gets tropical.
There are also some great knock-you-down stouts (10%) and sours on the rarities list.
Green Man Menu
Green Man’s tasting rooms do not currently offer food.
6. Highland Brewing Company
12 Old Charlotte Highway, Suite 200 • 828-299-3370
Highland Brewing Company owns the honor of being the first Asheville brewery. It was originally established in 1994 by a retired engineer, using retrofitted dairy equipment.
Today Highland has a beautiful production facility in East Asheville, equipped with a tasting room that offers live music and has the capacity to brew 60,000 barrels of beer a year.
Highland is the largest native regional brewer in Asheville, as well as the fifth largest female-led brewery in the nation.
Highland Brewing Company Tours
Highland Brewery tours are available every day, and last around 45 minutes. A beer tasting concludes the tour as well.
Best Highland Brews
Highland has several flagship beers, as well as seasonal brews and limited release choices.
Gaelic Ale is a run-of-the-mill brew with craft quality. Daycation is the easy-drinking IPA. The AVL IPA provides some nice tropical notes, while Starchaser White offers a highly drinkable Belgian Wheat variation.
Their Black Mocha Stout and Oatmeal Porter are like liquid meals, well-suited for winter days.
Highland Brewery doesn’t have a restaurant, but local food trucks set up shop daily right outside the tasting room. Patrons can also bring their food inside to eat.
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7. Hillman Beer
25 Sweeten Creek Rd • 828-505-1312
A small, family-run business, Hillman Beer is owned by brothers Brad and Greig Hillman, alongside Greig’s wife Brandi.
Their goal is to maintain the classic pub feeling beloved within the craft beer scene. They’re providing that in Asheville’s Biltmore Village as well as the nearby town of Old Fort.
Hillman Beer Tours
Hillman doesn’t offer any brewery tours.
Best Hillman Brews
Hillman beers often lean on a strong European influence.
Kölsch, Schwarzbier (Black Lager), and Dingaüdamnit (Dunklewiezen) all suggest traditional German flavors. The BPA (Belgian Pale Ale), New Tradition (Belgian Hop Amber), and Belgian Golden Strong each touch on Belgium’s influence.
At the prestigious Great American Beer Festival, Hillman’s ESB received a Silver Medal in 2018 and a Gold Medal in 2019.
In keeping with the pub atmosphere, Hillman’s does have some hearty food fare.
The soft pretzels with whole grain mustard feel perfect next to the German and Belgian brews. There’s also a pimento cheese dip with pretzels for those seeking Appalachian flavors.
Their main courses are mostly meaty sandwiches—the Pig Missile, Patty Melt, Reuben, etc. There are also some vegetarian- and vegan-friendly options, like the grilled cheese on sourdough and tempeh Reuben.
8. Hi-Wire Brewing
197 Hillard Ave • 828-738-2448
Hi-Wire Brewing has several locations, including a tasting room and specialty brewery in South Slope and a taproom and production brewery in the Biltmore Village (2A Huntsman Pl).
Hi-Wire is serious about craft beer, but takes it easy on the uppity attitude. There’s a big top circus theme running through the brew names, and a light-heartedness in the flavoring.
Hi-Wire Brewing Tours
Hi-Wire brewery tours in Asheville are only offered at the 27,000 square-foot Biltmore Village location.
They last about 30 minutes, and come under the general admission fee of $5. Visitors get to drink delightful craft beers right beside the tanks in which they are created.
Best Hi-Wire Brews
Hi-Wire has several standard flagship beers, including the Hi-Pitch Mosaic IPA, Hi-Wire American Lager, Lo-Pitch Hazy IPA, and Bed of Nails Brown Ale.
Their seasonal and specialty collections can get really creative, with flavors such as S’mores Porter, German Chocolate Cupcake, and Raspberry Wheat Wine.
They also have a fleet of sour and wild ales well worth sampling.
Hi-Wire’s tasting rooms don’t have any food options at this time.
9. New Belgium Brewing
21 Craven St. • 888-NBB-4044
Inspired by their bike trip through Belgium in 1988, Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch decided to bring Belgian-style beers to the USA.
By 1991, they’d installed brewing equipment in their basement in Fort Collins, Colorado, and established New Belgium Brewing’s core values.
From the outset, the company was focused on creating social and environmental change in the industry. So it seemed a perfect fit for the brand when the New Belgium Asheville Brewery opened in 2016.
New Belgium Brewing Tours
New Belgium Brewery tours run on a daily basis, but it’s always a good idea to call ahead to verify that there is space at the time you plan to visit.
Best New Belgium Brews
New Belgium’s flagship beer is one of the first it produced– an amber ale called Fat Tire. It’s truly delicious, but there are plenty of other quality brews to try as well.
They have an amazing series of “Voodoo Ranger” IPAs, including several hazy selections, such as Juicy Haze, Higher Plane, Captain Dynamite, and American Haze.
For those who enjoy sour and wild ales, there is a “wood cellar” full of them.
New Belgium Menu
New Belgium in Asheville doesn’t have a restaurant on site, but local food trucks change daily.
Patrons are also invited to bring their own food, so you can have fine beers with some real home-cooking (or sandwiches, if you prefer).
10. Twin Leaf Brewery
144 Coxe Ave • 828-774-5000
Opened in 2014, the Twin Leaf Brewery is small and has a less showy selection of beers than other Asheville breweries on this list.
But we appreciate the fact that the brewery is keen on community outreach and doing good deeds, as well as crafting good beer.
Twin Leaf Brewery Tours
Twin Leaf doesn’t offer brewery tours at this time.
Best Twin Leaf Brews
Twin Leaf offers numerous beers on tap, as well as in bottles and cans.
Leafer is an American IPA with a tinge of citrus, fruit, and pine. There is also a Rosemary IPA, a “Juicy Fruit” IPA, and a straight-up Pilsner Bier.
Bill For the Berry is a sour made from berries grown in the beer garden. Magic Hour is a kettle-soured, salty wheat ale that won a Gold Medal in the US Open Championship.
Mass extinction is a high-content imperial stout that’s aged in bourbon barrels.
Twin Leaf Menu
There are various packaged snacks for nibbles, but it’s also acceptable to bring in your own take-out from local restaurants.
11. Wedge Brewing Company
37 Paynes Way, Suite 001 • 828-505-2792
Wedge Brewing Company calls itself a neighborhood brewery, offering two locations in Asheville’s River Arts District.
Wedge at Wedge Studios was founded in 2008 by local metal artist John Payne, who leased the remaining studio spaces to 20-plus Asheville artists.
Wedge at Foundation, which boasts a brewery and tasting room, became the second location in 2017. It’s inside a historical building originally constructed to be a leather tannery in 1898.
Wedge Brewing Company Tours
Wedge doesn’t offer brewery tours at this time.
Best Wedge Brews
Wedge has a strong list of distinctive, though not overly experimental beers. Most noteworthy is Payne’s Pale Ale, which uses the same cascade hops as Sierra Nevada.
Derailed Hemp Ale is a brown ale that features 150 pounds of toasted hemp seeds. Sake lager is a unique brew, with Jasmine rice, Thai basil, and Kefir lime adding to the flavor palette.
There are also German brews like Export Lager and Munich Dunkel.
Local food trucks (including Grey Eagle Taqueria, Som Tum Pok Pok, El Kimchi, and Tin Can Pizza) have a regular schedule at both Wedge locations.
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12. Wicked Weed Brewing
91 Biltmore Ave • 828-575-9599
Wicked Weed Brewing is the collaboration of two families, the Dickinsons and the Guthys, who opened the doors to the Wicked Weed brewpub in Asheville in 2012.
By 2014, the success of Wicked Weed’s sour blends led them to build a new, larger location, known as the Funkatorium.
Before long, distribution spread to North Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, DC, and Pennsylvania. Wicked Weed grew so much that it partnered with the Anheuser-Busch craft beer collection.
Wicked Weed Brewing Tours
Wicked Weed Asheville has four free daily tours of their 15-barrel brewery, which comes with a commemorative glass, beer, and discount at the bottle shop. Sign-up must be done in person.
There’s also an extensive 3-hour “Maker’s Tour” that takes visitors around Downtown Asheville to meet some of Wicked Weed’s brewing partners.
Best Wicked Weed Beers
Wicked Weed has some supermarket classics that warrant tasting. Appalachia, Astronomical (hazy), Freak of Nature (double), and Pernicious are the headliners in their IPA collection.
For those who don’t like hoppy beers, Uncle Rick’s Pilsner and Smashville Golden Ale might fit a bit better. There are also several farmhouse brews and delicious sours.
Wicked Weed Menu
Wicked Weed’s original Biltmore location still very much keeps in touch with its brewpub roots.
They offer up beer-friendly bites such as soft pretzels, boiled peanuts, marinated olives, and house-made chips.
They also raise the culinary stakes a bit with dishes like candied Brussels sprouts and smoked sunburst trout with grilled naan.
For main courses, there are quality burgers—bison, Beyond, or grass-fed beef—and sandwiches like buttermilk fried chicken or roasted Portobello with red pepper aioli. –Jonathon Engels