Breweries Near Me – Asheville, NC

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Craft beer tourists Asheville
Burial
Mural at Burial

We’re at it again, and this time we are craft beer tourists in Asheville, North Carolina. With the French Broad River and the Blue Ridge wilderness area nearby offering outdoor activities galore, more than 25 craft breweries and just under 100,000 people, this booming craft beer, adventure town is a must for any adventurous craft beer tourist.

Spending only one day drinking and one day mountain biking, with over 25 breweries and over hundreds of miles of trails, we obviously didn’t hit them all, but we sure got a great taste of both.

Join us as we wander the streets of Asheville (mostly on foot and predominantly in the South Slope) and fall in love with this bountiful beer town within seconds.

Zillicoah Beer Company

Craft beer tourists Asheville
Zillicoah

We rolled into Asheville on a weekday afternoon excited for whatever we found. Knowing that we had to find a place to park for the night, we began our brewery tour about three miles north of Asheville at Zillicoah Beer Company. Located right next to the French Broad River, the third oldest river in the world, Zillicoah, the Cherokee term for this section of the river, boasted an expansive beer garden and a wide open patio and taproom. Specializing in lagers, we tried the Rye Lager and a Helles on Fire Smoked Helles Lager, perfectly balanced beers to start our first foray into Asheville.

Ginger’s Revenge Craft Brewery

Craft beer tourists Asheville
Gingers Revenge

Just one mile down the street from Zillicoah is Ginger’s Revenge. Even though this brewery specializes in alcoholic ginger beers, which are generally not something we would seek out, we decided to broaden our palate a bit and give ’em a try.

We recommend this place. Not only are the beers unique and great, but the ambiance of the industrial region coupled with the cozy style of the taproom, make this brewery stand out amidst a world of craft breweries. While there, we tried three of their house ginger beers: Dry-Hopped, Hibiscus Lavender, and the Orange Mint.

The Dry-Hopped had citrusy taste without the bitterness and was light and refreshing with the perfect amount of ginger. The Hibiscus Lavender had a perfect balance of hibiscus and lavender and was sweeter and juicier than the others. The Orange Mint had flavors that played well together; almost like sipping a lemonade on the front porch of a southern town.

Finding a strategic place to park for the night, we snuggled in knowing that we were in Asheville…if only for a day.

Vortex Donuts

Craft beer tourists Asheville
Vortex

OK, yes, we love beer, but we still love our coffee in the morning. Groggy-eyed, we drove the few miles into Austin, and parked in the South Slope region. All the better to wander the streets for breweries. But first, coffee. Finding a place to work before we headed out for some day-into-the-evening drinking, we wound up by chance at Vortex Donuts. The cards were stacked in our favor that day. Vortex is awesome!

We’re not even fans of donuts, but these were love at first sight (and taste), and that oatmeal we had for breakfast, blech, we didn’t eat breakfast. With flavors like salted caramel, espresso, cherry graham cracker, and maple pecan blackberry, um…yeah, give me a donut please! 

Burial Beer Company

Craft beer tourists Asheville
Burial

In no particular order, we found cool places, and they were all within walking distance of Vortex Donuts. Ok, but Burial was first because it was recommended by locals and tourists alike, and a place with a Slayer reference can’t be bad. Especially when it’s a quote like this:

Craft beer tourists Asheville
Burial

Even Tom Selleck and Sloth from the Goonies endorse Burial, and we agree. This would be a place we would frequent often if we ever create roots in or around Asheville. For now, we will just have to dream about the Mortal Dimensions of the Spiritual (Fresh Hop IPA), the Savages of Ruminating Minds (IPA), the Rosary (Belgian Export Stout), and the Otherworldly Entities (Rustic Saison). Oh, and not to be beaten by other breweries with great beer gardens, this one has that, too!

ZaPow Gallery

Craft beer tourists Asheville
ZaPow

Wandering the streets for the next brewery, we came across ZaPow, an illustration, narrative, and pop culture art gallery. With artistic kids, we had to check this place out, or they would be disappointed in us. To our surprise, this gallery offered a multitude of artists, and it was affordable! And the best thing?! They have a bar in there with wine and local brews, so your decision making skills become less intrusive, and you just say, “What the hell!? I’ll buy it!” No, actually, check this place out. It’s pretty artsy and cool!

Twin Leaf Brewery

Craft beer tourists Asheville
Twin Leaf

Just across the street from ZaPow, we came upon Twin Leaf. Its gorgeous taproom is full of greenery, and while small, their outdoor space is quite quaint and cozy. I could see myself planted there for awhile with a book and a few glasses of the Oatmeal Cookie Brown. The flavors on that thing were just like an oatmeal cookie. Where’s the milk? With brews such as a Fleury du Soleil Black Tea Saison, Shy Baby’s Rebellion Caramel Saison, and a Make No Mistake Milk Stout, to name just a few, this place has something for everyone.

Ben’s Tune-Up

Craft beer tourists Asheville
Bens Tune Up

Food? Ben’s Tune-Up, just up the street from Twin Leaf a few blocks and around the corner, has got you covered. And you won’t get just any old food and drink here; this place specializes in what I’d like to call, gourmet Asian and bar food (and not at a gourmet price). We had the pork nachos while sipping on some sake…Oooh, that was a good meal. Combined with the ambiance of an old garage refurbished creatively, this place is worth the visit, even if all you do is try the sake.

Wait…Sake?! Yes, an old beautifully refurbished garage, complete with an outdoor area, and they make their own sake here. I tried the Lemon Ginger, still not a sake fan, but worth the taste of something different.

Craft beer tourists Asheville
Bens Tune up

Speaking of different, we also had to sample the WTF IPA #3. The story? Somebody lost the tag to the keg when it was delivered, so they basically said WTF! and appropriately called it that. Number Three? I wonder. Have they done this before?

The Thirsty Monk

Only about three blocks away is the the Belgian inspired Thirsty Monk. And after those pork nachos, that walk was a necessity.

Craft beer tourists Asheville
Thirsty Monk

The Thirsty Monk, while nondescript as far as some breweries go, has great service and even better beer. Drinking a Coco Norm Porter and reveling in the coconuttiness of this beautiful dessert beer (I just had dinner; I’m calling it a dessert beer.), we sparked up a conversation with another tourist about the declining Broncos (they were playing that night) while sitting on the deck enjoying the crisp air. Kenny was drinking the Trail Monk, a traditional IPA with hazelnuts and that hoppiness he loves so much. While we only hit the top floor, there’s an entire Belgian bar downstairs, too. The beer never stops here in Asheville. 

Catawba Brewing Company

Craft beer tourists Asheville
Catawba

I said it never stops. Coming back full circle from where we started the morning at Vortex, we ended our South Slope day just a few storefronts down at Catawba Brewing.

Grabbing a pint of their seasonal King Don’s Pumpkin Ale (just like grandma makes) and a few tasters of their small batch beers, we settled in for the night to watch our beloved Donkeys lose yet another game (not a good season). 

But as many of our brewery visits play out, listening to live local music, saying hi to a stranger and making fast friends, this one did the same. Taking a moment to say hey and smile at our neighbor next to us (we love community tables), we sparked a conversation through a Colorado connection. Chatting the night away, ignoring the Broncos, and not thinking about where we were parking that night, Catawba with year-round brews such as White Zombie White Ale and Evening Joe Coffee Blonde, was the perfectly balanced evening to a perfectly balanced day of food, art, and of course, craft beer.

Pisgah National Forest

Craft beer tourists Asheville
mountain biking Pisgah

After discretely parking on the street overnight, we awoke refreshed (if not a little parched), grabbed some coffee from Vortex Donuts (no donuts today, sad face, too much caloric intake yesterday), it was time to find the mountain biking trails that Asheville is also known for. Yes, sometimes it is not always about the beer. Our guts and our pocketbooks dictate this. Plus, mountain biking is fun!

Heading about 20 miles out of town, we found ourselves at Bent Creek in the Pisgah National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains. Playing all day yesterday left us with plenty of work to do today, but as they say, “All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy.” So we carved out a few hours to explore a couple of trails. Extreme we are not, but the blue/green trails kept us entertained and invigorated for the afternoon and into the evening.

Saying Goodbye

Leaving Asheville that evening, we did her a disservice by not staying longer and exploring more, but at the same time, we are thrilled that we had the short time here that we did. By no means did we get to experience all of this lovely town – the River Arts District, the Biltmore Estate, Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Archetype Brewing, Hi-Wire Brewing, rafting, more biking, more foodie places, more breweries – it just means we have to come back.

For other craft beer tourist adventures and Stout Life approved places, click here.

Craft Beer Tourists Asheville
South Slope Asheville
Craft Beer Tourists Asheville
Zillicoah and Ginger’s Revenge

We fell in love with Asheville, so much so, that I had to keep writing. So, I pitched a story to CraftBeer.com, researched the beautiful French Broad, and wrote all about her and her lovely brews and how Asheville breweries are working hard to maintain her beauty.

https://www.craftbeer.com/craft-beer-muses/the-french-broad-river-and-her-brews

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We Are…

Ken and April

Ken and April, craft beer and travel lovers. We live and work from, RAIF, our 24 foot RV, while traveling to drink good beer, visit Mother Nature, and mountain bike. We are not experts and don’t want to be. We are, however, tourists, just like you, and we want to do everything and visit everywhere. We also know that this is impossible (dammit – and wrote a post on it), so in order to help you experience as much as you can in the time you have, what we experience, we pass onto you. We hope to only give you guidance (although our friends say to never follow April), because you need to also create your own adventures along the way. Happy craft beer travels!

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