Asheville has been named “Beer City USA” four times since 2010 — and for good reason. On any given day of the week, you could sample nearly 100 local beers brewed right here alongside the Appalachian Trail. Take one of the beer tours, like the LaZoom Band & Beer Tour or just pick up a brew while out shopping. When you stay at the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds, you can bring some local brews back to your cabin and enjoy them while barbecuing or relaxing. [caption id="attachment_1345" align="aligncenter" width="467"] Photo courtesy of LaZoom[/caption] But what’s the best beer in town and where can you find it? Like most any other kind of beverage, the beauty is in the beholder. Fortunately, you can taste as many as you like (as long as you have a designated driver) and decide for yourself. Here’s a list of the more popular brews in town.
- Highland Brewery
This is the brewery that started it all in Asheville. In 1994, Asian engineer Oscar Wong started this Scottish brewery in the basement of an Italian restaurant, and the rest is history. In 2006, they moved to larger digs off Fairview Road, where they remain today. Highland is the largest Asheville brewery too. Although there’s always something new brewing at Highland, the favorites include Gaelic Ale and St. Teresa’s Pale Ale.
- Asheville Brewing Company
Brewing since 1995, this is one of the oldest and most consistent breweries in town. Known for its pale ales, like the Shiva and the Red Light, ABC also brews a crazy good stout. The Ninja Porter took the gold medal at 2014 World Beer Cup competition, beating out 54 other entries, and it remains a local favorite. The Merrimon Avenue location also serves up pizza and shows $3.00 movies.
- French Broad Brewery
Since 2001, this brewery has served Asheville-style European-inspired brews. Located on Asheville’s east side, very near your cabin, it’s most famous for its Wee-Heavy-Er Scotch Ale, which is a high-gravity beer. That means it has a higher alcohol level, so be warned! Their Anvil Porter and 13 Rebels Extra Special Bitter also are tastes you won’t want to miss. Live music fills its tasting room on weekends.
- Wicked Weed Brewery
Right downtown on Biltmore Avenue, Wicked Weed dubs itself a “gastropub” because of its wickedly good local food that pairs so well with its West Coast-style brews. Their Freak of Nature DIPA and Coolcumber are beers that you simply must try. Wicked Weed is often packed, and since they don’t take reservations, you may have to spend a few minutes waiting. But you will enjoy the fantastic people-watching that downtown Asheville always provides.
- Burial Beer Company
One of the newest breweries in town, Burial brews and serves traditional Belgian ales with a modern twist. Located on the redeveloping South Slope, down the hill from the Orange Peel, the brewery pours special releases almost every weekend in an industrial warehouse. Try the Skillet Donut Stout or the Shroud Belgian Dubbel for a unique taste. And in case you’re wondering, the brewers aren’t macabre; on the contrary, they think life should be celebrated. Festivals and Tours If you’re visiting on August 15, you can attend the Waynesville Craft Beer Faire. About 30 minutes from your cabin, this ticketed venue takes place in the Post 47 American Legion Ball Field. Discover some great local beers from such breweries as Bearhunters, BooJum, Frog Level and Tipping Point. Stop by the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds office for a complete list of the local breweries and any directions you may need. We’ll be happy to help you plan a tour, hop on the latest hop-related adventure or just point you in the right direction. Because no matter which way you turn in Asheville, you’ll find great beer worth the trip.