Asheville is becoming the craft-brewing center of the Southeast. Asheville’s brewing scene has generated so much excitement that it was named the winner of the Examiner’s “Beer City, USA” poll in 2012.
The Asheville area is home to ten craft breweries. On any given day, about 50 local beers can be enjoyed in Asheville, served on draft and in bottles. Tourists regularly travel here to sample and savor Asheville’s beer flavors, ranging from creamy, mild golden ales to robust Belgian-style brews.
Each of Asheville’s breweries has its own unique atmosphere and personalities–no two are the same. Asheville Brews Cruise provides a behind-the-scenes look at what’s happening with its unique tour service.
EXPLORE ASHEVILLE BREWERIES
From the SN website sums it up the best.
“Inspired by the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains, our beers are designed to be as bold, wild and unwavering as those storied granite peaks. With respect to tradition and an unbridled passion for innovation, Sierra Nevada beers are inspired by the philosophy that anything is possible. We are committed to pushing the boundaries of craft beer and we look forward to the day that flavorful beers are the standard throughout the world.”
We are so happy Sierra Nevada picked Asheville as their east coast headquarters!
Location & Contact
Explore the Sierra Nevada brewery nestled in the Appalachians.
We brewed our first batch of beer in 1980 in Chico, California, the lush forests of North Carolina far from our mind. Over three decades, folks tried our bold beers and deemed them fit for friends across the country. In time a second brewery became the wisest, most sustainable way to send fresh beer to the farthest reaches. Today you can venture inside our Mills River brewery to trace our history as a craft beer pioneer and see first-hand our drive to make flavorful beer the status quo. Cruise up our wooded driveway, park under a solar-panel canopy, and head behind the scenes with us.
Our tours fill up quickly! You must make reservations online for all tours except the self-guided corridor. Click below to check availability and book your tour.
Duration: 90 minutes | Ages 12+
Our brew kettles, now copper-clad and striking, are a far cry from our original repurposed dairy tanks. The whole-cone hops we use for beer’s aroma and flavor, today shipped to us in 200-pound bales, our founder Ken Grossman originally got in one-pound chunks. You’ll peer into those kettles, smell those hops, and get even more hands-on as you navigate the entire beer-making process. (Ever tried wort? Think of it as pre-beer.) If you’re over 21 years old, we’ll lead you through an educational tasting of Sierra Nevada beers right next to our open fermenters.
Natural Resources Tour
Duration: 90 minutes | Ages 12+
The weather’s too nice in the summer; we can’t stay inside! Our Mills River Natural Resources tour covers much of the brewery’s outdoor grounds, showcasing our sustainability practices and many of the initiatives based on our philosophy to “reduce, reuse and recycle.” The tour also highlights many of the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) features that have been incorporated into the site. You’ll check out our solar “trees,” rain and stormwater management systems, and the water treatment facility including our microturbine technology. Your tour will wrap up near our Estate Garden where you will enjoy educational tastings of our award-winning brews.
Beer Geek Tour
Duration: 3 hours | Ages 21+ | Cost: $30
Saddle up for an intimate, 3-hour tour into the depths of what makes Sierra Nevada tick. Really, this is leave-a-trail-of-bread-crumbs detailed, so we’re keeping groups small (5 new best friends for you!) and the experience big. We’ll talk ingredients and craft beer history before inviting you into our new 200-barrel production brewhouse. We’ll venture into our hop freezer and take in the aromas and wander through our cellar where you’ll sample brews right from the tanks. To top it off, we’ll take a visit to our 20-barrel pilot brewery, and then you’ll—what’s that? You’re already convinced? Excellent. Prepare your palate for adventure and we’ll see you soon.
Duration: 1.5 hours | Ages 21+ | Cost: $25
Hops are our business, and business is good!
We’re famous for our heavy-handed use of whole-cone hops. Learn how our passion for the “green gold” took shape with a one-of-a-kind look into the hop-forward halls of Sierra Nevada.
For a limited time, join us for a special brewery tour celebrating crisp, hoppy goodness in our aromatic hop room, copper-clad brewhouse and more!
We will dive into the evolution of craft beer’s most popular style, and we’ll explore the storied history of how India Pale Ales took over the palates of beer drinkers everywhere. Your senses will be tingling as you discover the differences between wet hops, fresh hops, and our innovative steam-distilled hop oil. Along the way, we’ll wander the ins-and-outs of our varied, flavorful portfolio of IPAs including brews you’ll find nowhere else. Ready your brain and your taste buds for an immersive IPA adventure that you won’t soon forget!
Self-guided Corridor – Mills River
Duration: At your leisure | All ages | No reservation required!
Groups not your thing? We get it. For those who prefer to wander solo, our Brewery has been designed with guests in mind! Our upstairs visitor corridor includes a raised mezzanine for bird’s-eye views of our copper-clad brewhouse, a real-time look at fermenting beer and a visit to our warehouse and packaging hall.
The first and biggest of Asheville’s breweries, Highland Brewing launched the craft beer scene here. It’s a bustling working brewery, with a clattering bottling line and huge tanks filled with ale. Highland now has a tasting room to welcome visitors. Highland Brewing is best known for its flagship Gaelic Ale (a malty amber brew) and the robust Oatmeal Porter. It’s located at 12 Old Charlotte Highway at the Blue Ridge Motion Pictures studios. 828-299-7223.
Green Man Brewing
Known here by its nickname, Dirty Jack’s, it’s the brewing arm of the popular Jack of the Wood English/Irish pub. Green Man has become a beer geek’s haven, with a small bar and a handful of tables. A big-screen TV is constantly playing international soccer matches. Most of the brews have a British vibe, such as pale ale. And be sure to ask for today’s cask-conditioned selection. It’s located at 23 Buxton Ave. 828-252-5502.
Asheville Pizza and Brewing and Asheville Brewing Company
These sister operations share the same lineups of house brews and food (pizza, burgers, sandwiches, etc.) But each has its own style. Asheville Pizza and Brewing features a second-run movie theater, game room and family atmosphere while Asheville Brewing includes a big patio, a liquor bar and a more adult theme. Flagship beers are Shiva IPA and Ninja Porter. Asheville Pizza and Brewing is located at 675 Merrimon Ave. 828-254-1281. Asheville Brewing Company is at 77 Coxe Ave. 828-255-4077.
French Broad Brewing Company
This little brew-house, located near Biltmore Village, combines a working microbrewery with a small tasting room featuring live music. Musicians play on a stage just a few feet from the brewing tanks, while visitors watch from a handful of small tables. Trains frequently roll by on nearby tracks. The music is free, but be sure to leave a tip for the players. The beers have a European edge such as the creamy Gateway Kolsch and 13 Rebels Extra Special Bitter. It’s located at 101 Fairview Road. 828-277-0222.
Pisgah Brewing Company
Take the movie “Weird Science,” combined it with beer, and that’s the scene at Pisgah, where almost any style goes. The operation includes a colorful tasting room and complex that includes live music, art gallery, game room, a big grassy back yard, and working brewery. All beers are certified organic. It’s about 20 minutes from downtown and well worth the drive. Flagship beers include Pisgah Pale and Endless Summer golden ale. It’s located at Eastside Business Park, on old U.S. 70, Black Mountain. 828-669-0190.
Wedge Brewing Company
Based in an old warehouse in Asheville’s French Broad River Arts District, the Wedge squeezes much use from a small space. Most of the room is occupied by brewing tanks, but there’s also a bar and tasting room. Many visitors take a seat on the old loading dock outside or at an inviting patio. Asheville’s railroad yard is just a few feet away, and trains often rumble by, adding to the ambiance. Flagship beers include Payne’s Pale and the mysterious (and powerful) Golem Belgian Ale. It’s located at 125-B Roberts St. 828-505-7292.
Oyster House Brewing
Asheville’s smallest brewery, it’s tucked inside the Lobster Trap restaurant on busy Patton Avenue. This is primarily a restaurant, so seafood lovers should grab something to eat (there’s an impressive selection of oysters, which match up well with the house beers). The flagship brew is Oyster Stout. Yes, oysters are used in the brewing, leaving behind a slightly salty taste. Live music is offered several nights a week. Located at 35 Patton Ave. 828-350-0505.
Craggie Brewing Company
Craggie is a brewery with a heart, which is evident from the causes it supports, the vendors it does business with, and the way it inspires giving. Craggie sells beer with a conscience – organic in craft and whenever possible, brewed with local ingredients. From building the brewhouse with as much reclaimed or recycled equipment as possible, to discounting Willibechers for those who choose to donate to select non-profits, Craggie Brewing’s Public House is a place where the community can gather to have a good time while doing good for others. Located at 197 Hilliard Ave. 828-254-0360.
Lexington Avenue Brewery
The Lexington Avenue Brewery combines all the ingredients of a rockin’ good time. In addition to beer that exceeds Asheville’s rigorous standards, the LAB also features an extensive food menu, a live music venue, and a hostel upstairs. For the perfect blend of fun and affordability and even the option of a cozy bed to sleep in, the LAB has got it all. Located at 39 N Lexington Ave. 828-252-0212.