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There’s plenty to be celebrated in Beer City USA, and Asheville certainly rolls out the red carpet for its favorite brews. From the musically inclined Brewgrass Festival, to the specialty-focused Best Firkin Beer Festival, the parties are as unique as the breweries themselves.
Festivals are a great way to introduce yourself to a variety of beers and to pick out that one ale, lager, stout or porter that will keep you coming back for another pour. And Asheville isn’t afraid to share the love—festivals welcome regional brewers from across North Carolina and the Southeast.
- Winter Warmer
Combine 25 breweries with scrumptious local food, great local music and more than 1,000 of your closest beer enthusiast friends, and you have the perfect recipe for kicking off the new year in style. Learn more!
- Asheville Beer Week
After winning the Beer City title three years in a row, Asheville’s brewers decided that one day was not enough time to celebrate the victory. Held during the week leading up to the Beer City Festival, Asheville Beer Week includes special beer tastings, pairing dinners, fundraiser events, educational seminars and more. It’s all beer, all the time!
Showcasing more than 120 different beers from 40+ regional breweries as well as national and regional bluegrass musicians, it’s no wonder that this festival has become a local favorite.
Brush up on your keg-rolling skills for this fest, which transforms downtown streets into a traditional German party featuring tastings from local breweries. Live “oompah” music and local foods complete this fall tradition.
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Hopping Brewing Scene
The Evolution of a Beer Town
Asheville’s beer culture all started back in 1994, when Oscar Wong, a retired engineer living in Charlotte, moved to Asheville and opened Highland Brewing Company in a rustic basement space below Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria in downtown Asheville.
What began as a home-brew hobby became the first successful brewery operation in Asheville landing Wong his status as godfather of “Beer City USA.” Since then, Asheville has seen more than a dozen breweries of all sizes and styles open their doors. Asheville offers everything from tiny nanobreweries adjacent to taprooms, to a tasting bar offering exclusively wild and sour beers, and from outdoor patios where everyone feels like a local, to a “mostly organic” operation that sources local flavors like coffee and pumpkin—plus everything in between.
Today the craft beer scene in Asheville has reached a fever pitch with several annual beer festivals, brewery tours by foot, car or mega-bike, and every kind of sweet treat infused with craft brew goodness.
Asheville is four-time winner of the annual Beer City USA poll, hosted by Charlie Papazian with Examiner.com. This designation helped put Asheville’s beer scene on the map and garnered the attention of Sierra Nevada and New Belgium Brewing, both of whom are establishing East Coast homes in the area.
And the local brews themselves are making quite a splash. In 2013, brew scene newcomer Wicked Weed brought home a gold medal from the Great American Beer Festival, and Asheville Brewing Company’s longtime favorite Ninja Porter won its category in 2014. Many other Asheville breweries have collected medals and accolades at competition across the U.S.