In the span of six days, we tried seventy different beers from the nine breweries in or around Asheville, North Carolina. It became routine to shoot (photos), sip (beer) and suppose. How is it that so many breweries could coexist in such a small space? And how did it happen?
I created a mental — then physical — timeline of breweries opening in Asheville, and quickly realized that more than half of the breweries opened in 2005 or later. One contributing factor has to be the Pop The Cap initiative, a successful example of grassroots campaigning. Prior to the signing of a bill in 2005, North Carolina had a 6% ABV cap on beers. Pop The Cap led to an increase to 15%. So, in the very least, the laws are in the favor of the small brewer.
• Highland Brewing Company (1994)
• Asheville Brewing Company (1995)
• Green Man (1997)
• French Broad (2001)
• Pisgah (2005)
• Wedge Brewing Co. (June 2008)
• Oyster House Brewing Co. (2009)
• Craggie Brewing Company (November 2009)
• Lexington Avenue Brewery (January 2010)
But there’s also a social and professional infrastructure to aid the zymologist. The Asheville beer scene has strong allies in Bruisin Ales (a beer shop that opened in 2006), Asheville Brewers Alliance (headed by folks from three of the breweries and featuring members from all of them) and organizations like the recently-created Asheville Beer City Divas (or the ABCDs). Throw in the 52 restaurants committed to serving local, and somewhere in the mix is a recipe for beer heaven.
Over the next few days, I’ll be posting reviews and impressions of each of the breweries, with the help of the talented Baseball Boy, whose real name will be revealed. Enjoy.
66 Broadway Street Suite 1
Asheville, North Carolina 28801