by Sandy McLeod Asheville, North Carolina is home to some of the best microbreweries in the U.S. The city won the online Beer City USA poll, run by home brew king Charlie Papazian, for the fourth year in a row.  Polls closed on May 13th and this year - Asheville tied for first place with Grand Rapids, Michigan. Why Brew Beer in Asheville? Why do breweries spring up in Asheville and the surrounding Western North Carolina area? Plentiful supplies of mountain water are an excellent source for microbreweries to establish a signature taste. Independent farmers are being taught how to cultivate hops. This creates a supply of the locally grown ingredient most abundant in beer. These characteristics, plus the entrepreneurial spirit that permeates Asheville, creates an excellent environment for microbreweries.   Asheville Lives Up to Beer City USA Title, Drawing Top Craft Breweries Because of the business of brewing, Asheville continues to make the national news. Sierra Nevada announced the opening of a new brewery in Henderson County, about ½ hour south of Asheville.  New Belgium, makers of Fat Tire, have also officially announced the company will break ground on a new facility in the burgeoning River Arts District in Asheville at the beginning of 2013. With the number 2 (Sierra Nevada) and number 3 (New Belgium) craft breweries in the U.S. locating to the Asheville area, the excitement is building.   New Belgium Brewery to Establish East Coast Operations in Asheville, NC New Belgium Brewery will impact the Asheville beer scene and the economy. The site is located up and across the French Broad River from the Wedge Brewery. The new East Coast brewery is a $175  million investment into Asheville’s up-and-coming River Arts District.  According to Citizen Times writer Dale Neal, “The company plans to build a brewery, distribution warehouse, hospitality tasting room and roof-top beer garden at the Craven Street site.”   Governor Bev Purdue visited Asheville to welcome New Belgium Brewery to town in early April.  The construction will bring approximately 1200 jobs and, once completed, the brewery will add another 154 jobs to the local economy.   Beer Festivals in Asheville For visitors to the Asheville area who love beer, there are beer events every month from now through September.  Asheville Beer Week is slated for May 25-June 3, 2012.  The Beer City Festival will occur on June 2nd in Pack Square Park.  The Craft Beer Festival is in August and the Brewgrass Festival will happen on September 15th.  These festivals are well attended by locals and visitors to the area. The Brews Cruise now offers brewery tours in Asheville. Visit: Let someone else take the wheel while exploring Asheville’s local breweries. Craft beer is everywhere in Asheville, not just at the tasting rooms and taprooms. When visiting Asheville, beer lovers can stop in for a pint of locally brewed beer at just about any bar or restaurant in town. Most have several selections of local microbrews on tap or bottled.   Reserve a cabin in Asheville today.  Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds is only 10 minutes away from Downtown.