Spend A Day on Asheville's Ale Trail

If you’ve heard anything about Asheville, you likely picked up on the fact that locals take pride in the thriving craft beer scene. In USA Today Anne Fitten Glenn, a brewery communications consultant and author of Asheville Beer: An Intoxicating History of Mountain Brewing explains Asheville’s historic home brewing connection, which dates back to the founding of Asheville in 1798.

Back then, it was nearly impossible to get beer from the lowlands up here in the mountains. So if settlers wanted a fermented beverage, they had to make it themselves. That spirit of self-sufficiency and support for small local businesses makes Asheville a great place to open a brewery.
— Anne Fitten Glenn, author of Asheville Beer

No one has more access to the full scope of Asheville’s bustling local brewery scene than downtown residents. We picked local South Slope favorites to fill a lovely afternoon exploring the city’sbeer scene on foot. Asheville’s South Slope is a nice walk featuring an array of atmospheres, from a small industrial taproom to a brewery with an outdoor area frequented by families. Read on to discover an afternoon in downtown Asheville, featuring a wide variety of delightful brews to satisfy the thirstiest beer enthusiast.

Hoppy Ales, Open-Fermented Belgian Beers and Barrel Aged Sours by Wicked Weed

Wicked Weed is one of the most recognizable breweries in Asheville, and you’ll certainly find a crowd outside on any given weekend. The brewery specializes in in west coast style hoppy ales, open fermented belgian beers and barrel aged sours. Their focus? “The wildness of beer, the nonconformance of craft, and the conviction of creativity lead.”

Next Up: The Legend of Greenman and the Industrial Ambiance of Burial Beer Company

Greenman Brewing is known for their traditional English ales. Read the Legend of the Green Man, or ask one of their bartenders for a quick recap. The brewery recently constructed a 3 story, 20,000 square ft. packaging hall, a “brewtique”, and an indoor/outdoor top floor taproom that overlooks production and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Burial Beer Co. is an experimental little brewery with an industrial feel whose team meticulously crafted special releases throughout 2013 to develop and test their craft beer. They now serve 10 beers on tap in addition to new pilot batches on a weekly basis.

An aside: in our book, Burial wins Best Beer Titles in Asheville. They serve up beers like “The Rise of the Merciless,” a saison, “Between Science And Superstition,” an ancient herbed ale, and “Post-Apocalyptic Awakening,” an imperial IPA.

Exciting changes are coming to Burial: the brewery has begun its second expansion to an additional location, called Forestry Camp, and 20 barrel production brewery, urban farm, locally purveyed restaurant and two-story tasting room in South Asheville.

Twin Leaf Brewery: A Family-Friendly Joint for Lunch and a Pint

You’ll love Twin Leaf’s outdoor space, relaxed atmosphere, and food options. It’s a perfect stop to refuel and relax.

At the brewery that aims to be a community steward and meeting house, you’ll find a great selection of Farmhouse Ales, Saisons, Stouts, IPA’s to pair with a locally made meal from El QuerubinSmashbox Mobile Kitchen or Salsaritas.  Check Twin Leaf’s food truck calendar to ensure you don’t miss their scheduled food truck slots.

For Sour And Funky Beer Enthusiasts, Wicked Weed’s Funkatorium Is a Must

The Funkatorium is the East Coast’s first sour and funky beer dedicated taproom. In Wicked Weed’s own words: “featuring over a dozen varieties of these burgeoning styles on draught, visitors can expect a full immersion into the old world way of experiencing and appreciating beer against the backdrop of Wicked Weed’s entire sour and funky barrel-aging program.”

Approachable and Balanced Ales and Lagers at Hi-Wire Brewing and Pizza & Beer by Asheville Brewing Company

To get a nice sense of contrast to the experimental vibes at Funkatorium, head over to your second to last stop: Hi Wire Brewing. The company brews balanced and approachable beer which can be enjoyed over multiple pints with friends- “how brewers have been striving to brew beers for thousands of years.” If you’re a fans of no-frills quality and a relaxed environment, Hi-Wire may be your favorite local spot.

Asheville Brewing Company is the last stop on our South Slope tour, because you really need to end the day with a delicious slice of pizza! Top of your tour off with a seasonal pint: the best-selling holiday spiced Ninjabread Man Porter, the winter-warming Carolina Mountain Monster Imperial Stout, and a zesty, summery Lemon Space Dog American Wheat.

Explore the excitement and leisurely pace of life as an Asheville Downtown Dweller.