8 Ways to Celebrate the Spirit of Oktoberfest in Asheville
By Jason Tarr
When it comes to fall in Asheville, the autumn colors are brilliant and the beer is brewing. Raise a glass in the spirit of Oktoberfest throughout the season. You’ll find the fall season rich with beer festivals.
Asheville has more breweries per capita than any other city in the United States. There are more than 50 breweries in the Asheville area. So, you’ll easily be able to get your fill of seasonal suds this fall in Beer City USA.
Kick Off Fall with Oktoberfest
In Asheville, there are multiple Oktoberfest celebrations in 2019. The largest of which is Asheville Oktoberfest in downtown’s Pack Square Park on October 5, 2019 from 1-6 p.m. It’s a great time to get a taste of the local beer scene with more than 20 breweries, cideries and wineries represented. Many of them will be pouring seasonal ales. For your entertainment while you sip, yodelers, dancers and polka musicians take over the main stage. Tickets are just $45.
On September 28, 2019, Hillman Beer hosts its Oktoberfest celebration from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Enjoy a special beer release, great live music, a delicious Oktoberfest special from Rise Above Deli and a commemorative stein for sale. The event is free to attend.
On October 12, 2019 from 5-10 p.m. is Oktoberfest at Sierra Nevada Brewing in nearby Mills River (Please note this event is sold out). Lederhosen-clad and dirndl-sporting friends hoist a stein in celebration. The evening will include festbier, feasting, costumes, dancing, raucous music, live glassblowing, and more! Dress your best and brush up on your Chicken Dance skills! Dinner and your first beer included in ticket price. Tickets are $32.
If you can’t make it to one of the festivals, celebrate in the spirit of Oktoberfest all season with Highland Brewing’s lightly colored, but toasty, Clawhammer Oktoberfest beer.
Fall Beer Festival Highlights
One of the fall's biggest festivals is Brewgrass, the city's "original craft beer festival." In 2019, the festival is reinventing itself to focus more heavily on showcasing regionally and nationally known bluegrass acts. Please note the festival will no longer have a traditional beer tasting. Beer will be available for purchase. The event is Saturday, October 5, 2019 from 3 p.m. to midnight at Salvage Station. Tickets are $35.
Another highlight in the fall is Burnpile Harvest Fest, which celebrates the local harvest with music and seasonally-inspired beers from more than 60 breweries. Many of the beers are brewed just for this special event. Burial Beer Co. hosts the event on Saturday, October 12, 2019 from 12-6 p.m.
Save the date for the annual CiderFest NC, the state’s premier hard cider tasting event, set for Saturday, October 12, 2019 from 1-5 p.m. at Carrier Park along the French Broad River. The event brings together the some of the nation's best craft cider and mead makers. You’ll be able to pair your cider with the tastes of fall from the area harvest. Enjoy a lineup of live music and other performances.
If music is what you’re after, there’s perhaps no better fall event than the LEAF Festival in nearby Black Mountain. LEAF is a treasured local tradition. The family-friendly festival is a multi-cultural music and dance extravaganza in a gorgeous park-like setting. You can enjoy local beers while watching the many powerful performers. LEAF will be held October 17-20, 2019.
D.I.Y.: Craft Your Own Beer Adventure
With so many great breweries to choose from in Asheville, you can craft a do-it-yourself beer adventure any time.
Asheville’s South Slope District, just blocks south of downtown, makes it easy to experience many breweries on a self-guided walking tour. Burial Beer Co., Green Man Brewing, Catawba Brewing, Twin Leaf Brewery and the Wicked Weed Funkatorium are all within steps of one another. Hi-Wire Brewing, Wicked Weed, Asheville Brewing Company, Bhramari Brewhouse and popular bar Ben’s Tune Up are within an easy walk.
For the winning combination of music and beer, choose from nightly shows at breweries that double as great live music venues. Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mountain has an indoor and an outdoor stage. Sierra Nevada hosts live music events in its outdoor amphitheater. Highland Brewing Company has live music events in its meadow and indoor taproom. You'll also want to head to a live music show at New Belgium Brewing on the French Broad River. Check our event calendar for listings of great shows at these breweries and others!
And, if you are looking for a unique experience, try the music and beers at the caboose that houses Whistle Hop Brewing in Fairview. Not far away in Fairview is Turgua Brewing Co., one of the newest spots on the scene, which has an intimate/natural setting.
Top photo by David Simchock. Oktoberfest photo courtesy of the Asheville Downtown Association. Cider photo by Jared Kay. Green Man Brewing photo my Emily Chaplin.