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Where Locals Drink Beer
Where Locals Drink Beer

Where Locals Drink Beer

The answer, of course, is: anywhere. Anywhere there’s beer. In the kitchen, the living room, even in the bathroom. Ashevilleans love their beer, and with good reason: it’s fresh and tasty and makes a persuasive case for moving here.

But you want to know where locals drink beer when they go out. OK, then, here’s an admittedly incomplete list of the best places to go to drink good beer with other locals. Most tourists don’t know about these places and rarely stumble upon them. Bottom’s up!

The Obvious

This one’s hidden in plain sight. Tourists might venture into it, but they never stay. To paraphrase a line from The Addams Family: “These Asheville men, where do you find them?” “It has to be damp.” I’m talking about the downstairs tasting room at Wicked Weed. It’s dark. It’s dank. It’s for locals and beer aficionados only. There’s always something on tap that you just can’t find anywhere else. Tourists eating upstairs might wander down, maybe even order from the bar, but they rarely linger. I think Wicked Weed planned it that way.

The Champion

This place has been in Asheville longer than I have. I first learned about it as “Dirty Jack’s,” but its proper name is the Green Man Brewery tasting room. I call this place The Champion because it’s likely the most well established of the places listed here. There may be a soccer game on the large-screen TV. There may be 20 loud conversations going on at once. And there may be only one very busy pourer. But the place rocks, especially in the summertime, when the shaded patio attracts beer-drinking patrons like “Representative” Tim Moffitt attracts controversy.

The Buried Treasure

When it comes to hidden treasure, you have to look to find where it’s buried. And that’s an apt description for Burial Beer Company. Even locals have trouble finding this out-of-the-way tasting room, but it’s worth the effort. A nondescript building in the middle of a row of warehouses hides a mom-and-pop, one-barrel pilot system brewery that provides a great selection and friendly confines. The artwork on the walls alone is worth a stop-in, but you should definitely stay and enjoy the offerings. Because the Burial you miss today could be the burial you attend tomorrow.

The Very Best

OK, this is a subjective claim, but there are many Ashevilleans who’ll back me up. I’m not claiming they have the best beer in Asheville (although their double IPA is one of my personal favorites), but the ambiance of the digs, the camaraderie of the clientele, and the very location all point to this as the best place for locals to hang out and drink beer as early as four o’clock in the afternoon, because why the hell not? I’m speaking, reverently, of the Wedge Brewery. Why is it so cool? It’s right next to the railroad tracks in the River Arts District. It’s located in a building full of artist’s lofts. They show outdoor movies. Come on! If you’ve never been there, shame on you.

This is far from a complete list of cool, local drinking establishments for locals, but it’ll get you started. Whether you agree or want to share your own beer-drinking discovery, leave a comment.

About Mark Bloom

Mark is a freelance writer, editor, and videographer who has spent his life playing with words and pictures. He used to think tourists were “endlessly entertaining,” but lately their driving habits have tested his patience. He writes on every subject from parking in Asheville to choosing SEO keywords. He edits fiction and nonfiction. He produces website content, including video. He’s lived in Asheville for ten years, which means he’s a third of the way to being considered a local. You can reach Mark at markhenrybloom@gmail.com or through his professional website at rayaccess.com.

16 comments

  1. szs.webaddr@gmail.com'

    I was impressed by the upstairs/downstairs selections at Thirsty Monk. But that may only be an Asheville Tourist trap?

    • markhenrybloom@gmail.com'

      Steve, it’s not true. Wicked Weed is an authentic brewery/brew pub that has gained a tremendous amount of respect in the short time it’s been open. While I’m not in love with their menu, they do in fact brew beer that you can’t find anywhere else. And no self-respecting person who calls himself (or herself) a tourist would spend time in the dark cavern that is Wicked Weed Downstairs. Not when their significant other is whining about wanting to spend time at the Biltmore Winery…

      • szs.webaddr@gmail.com'

        Yeah, we went to Biltmore, and while the house an amazing sight, the wines are nothing to write about. But I’m confused… Wicked Weed is a different place from Thirsty Monk? Seems like I missed out. But even the selection at that pizza place (Mellow Mushroom?) was above average.

      • szs.webaddr@gmail.com'

        And oh man, Wicked Weed has Stein Mondays! How could I have missed it? Would I get beer for free? (In truth, I don’t think I was in Asheville on a Monday, though.)

  2. Hyderma1@goldmail.etsu.edu'

    Really… no mention of Pisgah? Being tucked away as it is, it is mostly regulars. I suppose you mean inside AVL city limits.

    • markhenrybloom@gmail.com'

      Miranda,

      Yes, I only reviewed locations I could stumble to. Pisgah Brewery deserves to be on this list — their Pale Ale has set the standard for all local beer — but their facility is too far to walk. Maybe I’ll do another article about the best local places to drink and drive to…

  3. markhenrybloom@gmail.com'

    By the way, everyone, I’d just like to state for the record that I had to put in extra effort to research this article. I had to visit and revisit the places I was going to write about, perform comparisons, and talk to the other patrons. This article, then, is the result of a blitz of researching effort. And I’ve done it all for you. You can thank me by buying me a beer next time you see me sober. 🙂

  4. ROLANDonPIANO@gmx.com'

    Mark, I did not know that you were a beer aficionado. I’ll have to try those places that you mentioned. I do like the local “Green Man ESB” the best. Thanks for your fine article! Roland.

  5. student@kerryemery.com'

    My wife and I enjoyed the fine food and drink at the Wicked Weed whilst waiting for a show (Leo Kottke) at the Orange Peel next door. I agree with your assessments on all counts. Thanks for the short but informative list. We live in Charlotte currently (someone has to work), but visit often and yearn to end up in Asheville eventually on a full time basis. What an eclectic aura it presents.

    • markhenrybloom@gmail.com'

      Thanks, Kerry.

      I understand the problem of having to work for a living, even if I don’t agree with it. 🙂

      I only wish I got paid in $100 dollar bills for writing about Asheville. If only. I even have to pay for my own beer. It seems criminal. But then, I’ve managed to live and work in Asheville for these past 10 years, so I guess I’m one of the “lucky” ones.

      Come back often (to this blog and to Asheville)!

  6. producer@santalorena.com'

    But Asheville is an overrated city. It is *the* overrated city. The most overrated city ever, in the entire world! [Psst. Keep telling people just that, and the trendy ones who drive up our rent will stop moving in.]

  7. producer@santalorena.com'

    One quibble: he complains about the traffic? Really??? Has he ever been to a city that has actual heavy traffic? Or did he spend his entire vacay in the shopping mall mecca that is South Asheville?

  8. Thearmaagency@gmail.com'

    I never understand why the French Broad Brewing Company fails to be on any of these lists. Locals you all may be (or Tansplants as I like to call you), these guys have made solid beers for 13 years and they’re just simply ignored for whatever reason. Maybe they should put more yuzu fruit in their beer. Maybe then you’ll mention them…

    • markhenrybloom@gmail.com'

      Nathan,

      How right you are! But every time I go to write about them, I end up drunk and broke. I can’t explain it.

      Also, remember that this is a public blog. Everything we write ends up searchable by those outsiders who are desperate to learn our secrets. Therefore, I chose to leave some places out so the locals still have somewhere to go that isn’t overrun by tourists and wannabees. The French Broad Brewing Company still makes some of my favorite beer. If it wasn’t for them, I’d never have a beer at McCormick Field…

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