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Hi-Wire Brewing tap handles
Hi-Wire Brewing tap handles

A visit to “Beer City” Asheville (North Carolina) – Day 1

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina is a small city of approximately 80,000 people called Asheville that can boast 9 breweries and more planned to come on-stream in the coming years. Asheville won the Beer City USA poll outright in 2010 and 2011 and after a number of recommendations from friends and fellow Craft Beer enthusiasts we thought it was time for Beer Infinity to pay this small town in the far west of North Carolina a visit.

Asheville Brewing Company

Our first stop was at Asheville Brewing Company who are located on Coxe Ave in the downtown area. There is both an indoor bar area as well as an attached outdoor area to enjoy Asheville’s glorious summer weather. We sampled the following beers:

  • Rocket Girl Lager – 4.2%
  • Escape Artist ESP – 5.5%
  • Roland’s ESB – 5.0%
  • Ninja Porter – 5.25%*
  • Fire Escape ESP – 5.5%
  • Shiva IPA – 6.0%

* designates our favourite(s) from the above sampler.

The range of beers is very sessionable with the Fire Escape ESP being particularly unusual in that Jalapenos are added to the secondary which not only gives this beer a strong chilli aroma but also lights a fire in your throat when you take a sip. Apparently it is very popular with the locals but for us overpowers the underlying beer style.

Beers on tap at Asheville Brewing
Beers on tap at
Asheville Brewing
Asheville Brewing samplers
Asheville Brewing samplers
Loading area at Asheville Brewing
Loading area at
Asheville Brewing

Hi-Wire Brewing

Next we walked not even 200 yards to Hi-Wire Brewing who were pretty busy and had all the shutters open with ceiling fans going and a grill firing up that was just starting to serve hot dogs, bratwurst and more. We took our place at the bar and ordered the following flights with the Belgian IPA substituting for the Hi-Pitch IPA on the menu (top-down in the menu is left to right in sampler photo):

  • HiWire Lager – 4.6%
  • Prime Time Pale – 5.5%
  • Bed of Nails Brown – 6.1%
  • Belgian IPA with peppercorns & bitter orange peel – 8.6%*
  • Up Risin’ Hefeweizen – 5.0%
  • Ringmaster Red Rye – 7.0%

* designates our favourite(s) from the above sampler.

The Belgian IPA was definitely our favourite beer at Hi-Wire with a nice balance between maltiness, hop bittering, flavor & aroma, as well as the esters from the Belgian yeast.

Hi-Wire Brewing menu
Hi-Wire Brewing menu
Hi-Wire Brewing sampler
Hi-Wire Brewing sampler
Hi-Wire Brewing tap handles
Hi-Wire Brewing tap handles

Burial Beer Company

Our next stop was a short 5-10 minute walk to Burial Beer Company who we were amazed to find out had only just opened during June 2013 – a mere 6-7 weeks earlier! This brewery has a nano setup and are currently open Thursday, Friday & Saturday for tastings and have both an indoor tasting room plus an outdoor area. Tim, who is one of the owners, explained that he had been a west coast brewer and was attracted to Asheville due to the buoyant Craft Beer scene and abundance of breweries.

Our sampler included the following beers (top to bottom in the photo):

  • Farmhouse Billhook – 38 IBU, 7.0%
  • Saison Pitchfork – 28 IBU, 8.0%*
  • Rye Pale Ale Scythe – 66 IBU, 7.0%
  • Dubbel Drawknife – 22 IBU, 8.0%

* designates our favorite beer(s) in the sampler.

Burial’s beers are definitely strong in alcohol with good size sampler glasses. In the tasting room there is a blackboard with the upcoming brew schedule so lookout for a changing lineup in the coming weeks and months.

Burial Beer nano setup
Burial Beer nano setup
Burial Beer sampler
Burial Beer sampler
Burial Beer grand opening
Burial Beer grand opening

Barley’s Taproom

Barley's Taproom sampler #1
Barley’s Taproom
sampler #1

Asheville has a number of breweries as already mentioned but in addition to these there are also a wide variety of Craft Beer bars so to end our first day we visited Barley’s Taproom. Here we enjoyed two samplers in the downstairs bar but there is also a second bar upstairs. Their selection of beers includes a number of local and regional craft beers as well as some national ones.

Sampler #1:

  • Highland Gaelic ale – 30 IBU, 5.8%
  • Highland Oatmeal Porter – 35 IBU, 5.8%
  • Catawba Valley Farmer Ted’s Farmhouse cream ale – 5.5%
  • Catawba Valley Brown Bear – 5.2%
Barley's Taproom tap handles
Barley’s Taproom
tap handles

We had no clear favorite in the first sampler.

Sampler #2:

  • Catawba Valley King Coconut porter – 5.7%*
  • Lonerider Shotgun Betty hefeweizen – 5.8%
  • Big Boss Bad Penny brown – 25 IBU, 5.5%
  • Ommegang Hennepin farmhouse saison – 7.7%

* designates our favorite(s) in the above sampler.

Look out for our follow-up article on Day 2 in Asheville…

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