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Best Breweries in Asheville—A Local’s Perspective

My high school philosophy teacher always said kids who grow up in Asheville have a bizarre concept of economics. Specifically, that in this day and age you can still make a living as a craftsman. Someone makes hand-carved toys, say. Or a basket-weaver.

But the reality is, Asheville has eked out a space for just such artisans. And on downtown's South Slope, they sprout up like a field of hops, applying their arts the ephemeral, the short-lived but delicious: the craft beer. I invite you to read on, and get a sample from some of the best breweries in Asheville.

best breweries in Asheville - beer taps
Image from Unsplash

Following Prohibition, Asheville underwent a seven-decade dry-spell, bereft of so much as a drop of local craft-beer. Since those dark days, Asheville’s coterie of artisan brewers has expanded exponentially, with some breweries even scaling to the regional or national level. Historians refer to this phenomenon as the “Great Asheville Re-Beer-ening,” and in their lofty discussions, Highland Brewing is cited as the archetype.

Today, Highland is the largest family-owned brewery in the Southeast, operating out of a repurposed manufacturing-plant on Asheville’s eastern edge.

Thanks to a surplus of floor-space, their base of operations contains an indoors music-venue, a catering kitchen, and no less than three separate bars, one of which is located on the roof.

With luck, you may visit in time to catch the release of one of their seasonal brews, used to raise funds for the Southern Appalachian Highland Conservancy.

In short: no list of the best breweries in Asheville could be complete without Highland.

best breweries in Asheville - hops
Image from Wix

Green Man takes its name from a European architectural motif, depicting, as the name suggests, a gentleman of vegetal inclination.

Scholars have linked this symbol with primeval nature deities, and mankind’s profound connection to the wild, and all the beauty and danger therein.

Despite this hoary past, Green Man’s mascot comes across as pretty chill... but who can really say what antediluvian recollections lurk behind those blank, staring eyes?

Their operating model is much like Highland Brewing’s; they invite visitors to their “Green Mansion” to view the production line, and enjoy craft beer on their rooftop bar, or at nearby Dirty Jack’s Pub.

However, Green Man does distinguish itself via a sleek, earthy aesthetic, and kid-friendly tours. Furthermore, as they are located on the South Slope itself, Green Man serves as an excellent launching-off point for a larger circumnavigation of the best breweries in Asheville.

best breweries in Asheville - sharing pizza
Image from Unsplash

Asheville Pizza and Brewing claims its place as Asheville’s third-oldest brewery, and incidentally, vends its beer from no less than three establishments.

The primary location, “Asheville Pizza and Brewing,” lies on the city’s northern side, not far away from the UNCA, and has previously received my attention as one of Asheville’s best movie-theaters.

Films here can be enjoyed with local craft beers, and a menu offering everything from pizza, to a vegan burger, to Patagonia nachos.

Their downtown location, “Asheville Brewing,” also offers Monday night bourbon, Bloody Mary Sundays, and dog-friendly Wednesdays.

Finally, their south Asheville location, “Asheville Pizza,” simply focuses on pizza and beer, obtainable via delivery, or carry-out.

With locations all across town, Asheville Pizza and Brewing works its way onto this list of the best breweries in Asheville based on its adaptability. No matter whether you want beer and a movie, dinner and beer, or beer and carry out pizza, Asheville Pizza and Brewing has your back.

best breweries in Asheville - beer flight
Image from Wix

Wicked Weed is acclaimed as the South’s first brewery focused on sour beers, which I'm told are all the rage among certain connoisseurs. Combine this specialization with the fact that Wicked Weed operates three awesome downtown eateries, and you've got yourself a truly special line of brews indeed.

Wicked Weed's original South Slope Brew Pub location contains a bottle-shop, and a dog-friendly patio, and serves mainly typical bar-fair: burgers, poutine, fried chicken, and beer.

Further north up the Slope, you've got Wicked Weed’s “Funkatorium,” which serves visitors bites from an eclectic menu—featuring banh-mis, Korean corn dogs, and Jamaican beef hand pies—in the comfort of an al-fresca biergarten

And finally, right next door to the Funkatorium you'll find Wicked Weed's answer to downtown Asheville's infatuation with haute-cuisine: Cultura. Think truffles, rabbit, puffed rice, and beyond that, who can say? Their menu's always got something new going on. Long and short of it is if you want to pair Wicked Weed's signature funky brews with some downright culinary masterpieces, then Cultura's the pick for you. Reservations recommended.

With such a proliferation of content, Wicked Weed certainly deserves the title of one of the best breweries in Asheville.

best breweries in Asheville - beer flight
Image from Unsplash

Located on the South Slope, Burial’s main location offers a seasonal menu, combining brew-pub favorites with locally-sourced ingredients, and a drinks menu spanning all of craft beer's greatest hits: the stout, the sour, the blonde, and the IPA.

Plus, their beer can designs are spot on. Seriously, you'll want to keep one just as a souvenir.

Burial’s second location, “Forestry Camp,” is a former residence for laborers under the government’s New Deal conservation efforts, now converted into a production brewery and bar, which serves weekend brunch from 11am to 3pm. Only Asheville.

Check out their website for tours of the Forestry Camp facility, plus concert tickets at their South Slope music hall, Eulogy.

Businesses Mentioned

Highland Brewing Company

(828) 299-3370

12 Old Charlotte Hwy Suite 200, Asheville, NC 28803

Green Man Brewery

(828) 252-5502

27 Buxton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

Asheville Pizza and Brewing

(828) 254-1281

675 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC 28804

Wicked Weed Brew Pub

(828) 575-9599

91 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

The Funkatorium

(828) 552-3203

147 Coxe Ave, Asheville, NC 28801


(828) 417-6970

147 Coxe Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

Burial Beer Company

(828) 475-2739

40 Collier Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

Forestry Camp Bar and Restaurant

(828) 505-4452

10 Shady Oak Dr, Asheville, NC 28803


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