Asheville, North Carolina is a must-visit destination for craft beer lovers. Nestled among the Blue Ridge Mountains, this picturesque city offers a blend of culture, art, amazing food, and outstanding beer.
Asheville has everything from contemporary IPA, to thick pastry stouts, to obscure wild farmhouse beers. Not only that, you can expect an amazing array of restaurants, barbecue joints, and North Carolinian hospitality.
There are a few very special, distinct craft beer-centric places in the U.S. Portland, Maine comes to mind. Or big hubs like the Bay Area, L.A., and Seattle. But there’s nothing quite like what’s happening right now in Western North Carolina.
Here are the 10 best breweries in Asheville.
- Burial Beer Co.
- Zillicoah Beer Company
- Zebulon Artisan Ales
- Wedge Brewing
- Cellarest Beer Project
- Hi-Wire Brewing
- Archetype Brewing
- Bhramari Brewing Company
- Green Man Brewery
Burial does everything the right way. A modern craft ethos and a meticulous dedication to quality allow them to brew one of the most solid arrays of beer in the U.S. Even the branding is a top drawer. Dark, spooky, slightly industrial gothic – it’s cool, cohesive, and enthralling.
Founded in 2013 on a tiny 1-barrel system, Burial has since expanded to a 20-barrel brewhouse. Their growing enterprise now houses a barrel-aging facility, a winery, as well as a restaurant called Forestry Camp. They’ve also opened a tasting room in Raleigh.
As for the beers, you really can’t go wrong with any of their offerings. Expect impeccable imperial stouts, well-crafted hazy IPA, and a blossoming mixed-fermentation line-up. They’ve got a dynamic, ever-evolving selection. Dive into anything and everything you can.
Weird beers, bold flavors, and abstract visuals set DSSOLVR apart. Surrealism runs through their veins, and some of their brewing practices would make a purist wince. Candy-sours, indulgent pastry stouts, and heavily fruited IPA. But this knack for experimentation is backed by consistency, quality, and dedication to the craft.
Their flagship beer – a kolsch – is refined, precise, and crisp. You’ll also find other classic styles like schwarzbier and porter. These are juxtaposed against pumpkin spice cheesecake sours and watermelon candy hard seltzers.
DSSOLVR is cool, a bit crazy, and unpredictable. But the beer speaks for itself: it’s outrageously delicious.
In Woodfin, a few miles north of Asheville on I-26, Zillicoah has a world-class range of classic styles and mixed-fermentation beers. They specialize in open-fermented farmhouse ales and lagers and have a few fantastic options for IPA and stout lovers.
The lagers are really what set them apart. Take Austrian Gold – their Vienna lager – for example. It’s got a honey-like maltiness that is beautifully balanced by a spicy, fresh hop presence. For a bit more of a bite, try their crisp and hoppy Bohemian Pilsner.
Zillicoah’s wild beer program will take you on a journey through the historic beers of continental Europe. They’ve got some amazing traditional Berliner Weisse, dry saison, and many other complexes, sour, and funky libations.
Even farther north, up to nearby Weaverville, Zebulon keeps things funky, rustic, and farmhouse. Always bottle conditioned and often oak-fermented, their beers have a mythical quality.
An ever-changing line-up of beers means you can always expect to try something new. Often brewing lost and forgotten styles, offer a small window into the brewing of years past.
Zebulon is worth the 10-minute drive from Asheville. You’ll be glad you made the short trek once you’re sipping on bright and funky Saison, historical IPA, or complex and layered barrel-aged barley wine.
With two locations in Asheville, Wedge is ingrained in the beer and culture scene in the city. The original location in the River Arts District has been around since 2008. And since 2017, they’ve had their second location in the nearby Foundation buildings. Both locations offer the community an electric place to hang out, drink great beer, and catch some live music or an exhibit.
Style-wise, Wedge can be all over the map. A host of session beers will surely quench your thirst – like Cold Beer, their cream ale. There’s no shortage of hops either. Iron Rail IPA is especially remarkable. As Wedge’s flagship, it’s a hybrid between American and English IPA. It brings an enveloping malty backbone highlighted by assertive bitterness and piney, dank hops.
To get a true taste of Asheville terroir, look no further than Cellarest. Opened in 2021, they focus on local ingredients, traditional methods, and all-wood fermentations. Cellarest Beer Project is a small brewery (just a 4 barrel brewhouse) that crafts unique and exceptional beer.
The use of different types of wood fermenters gives their beers character and a prominent depth of flavor. Even “clean” beers like Rustle, their Vienna lager, are fermented and lagered in acacia wood. While very smooth and crisp, extended wood lagering adds complexity and roundness.
Keep your eyes peeled for what Cellarest has in store. After collaborations with the likes of 8th State and Our Mutual Friend, expect more exciting beers from this unique project.
Fun, no-nonsense, and consistent, Hi-Wire has two Asheville locations. Their South Slope specialty brewery in downtown Asheville focuses on small batches, sour, and special releases. A large-scale production brewery in the Biltmore village area takes care of the flagship beers and higher volume releases. Across the board, their huge list of beers is diverse and fantastic.
They put a heavy emphasis on lagers, with a few outstanding products like Hi-Wire Lager, their American lager. More experimental brews always hit the mark too – blonde doppelbock anyone? From juicy IPAs to thick stouts like 10W-40, you can always expect high quality and complex depth of flavor.
Fans of Belgian-style ales should flock to one of Archetype’s two locations. Getting the most out of those expressive Belgian yeast strains takes dedication and know-how: Archetype has plenty of both.
Pick between mixed-fermentation saisons, clean Belgian-style strong ales, tripels, or Belgian pale ales. If that distinctive Belgian yeast character isn’t your thing, try one of their well-brewed IPAs or stouts.
They like to dig into those often under-represented styles as well. Don’t sleep on their English Milds, like one called Chuffed to Bits, for a comforting session ale packed with flavor.
Named after the Hindu goddess of bees, the bee-vibe is strong at Bhramari. From a hive-adorned interior to their bee’d-out logo, the puns write themselves as there’s a lot of buzz around this South Slope brewery.
At Bhramari, you’ll find a collection of tasty core offerings and some wild experiments. Their hazy IPAs can stand up to the best in New England. They’re also not afraid of the obscure. Pizza Ships is a hazy pale ale dry hopped with Vic Secret, Styrian Wolf, and their house-made margherita pizza. Hoppy, with a dose of basil, tomato, and bready crust. Surprisingly, it works.
The originals of the Asheville craft scene, Green Man are still going strong. They keep pumping out a consistent stream of legendary core brews as well as exciting contemporary flavors. Green Man has been around since 1997 and a change in ownership in 2010 gave the brewery a new life.
Their original tasting room, called Dirty Jack’s, is on Buxton Avenue. A newer tasting room and packaging hall, The Green Mansion, is just down the same street.
Stop in to sample some classic takes on British ales like their ESB, English IPA, or porter. For more in-vogue options, try Trickster – a balanced and juicy IPA hopped with El Dorado and Mosaic.