Asheville's beer scene is among the most vibrant in the United States. Since 2009, Asheville has officially been known as "Beer City USA", having won Charlie Papazian's Examiner national poll four times since. Although the beer scene is relatively new (the first major brewery was established in 1994), local brews are not only readily found in the local bars and breweries, but even the coffee shops. It's hard to miss the influence of the local breweries in Asheville
It was in the basement of Barley's Taproom and Pizzaria that Oscar Wong first began his hobby brewery in 1994. Since then, the brewery scene has snowballed to over a dozen breweries that call Asheville their home. And the variety of beer has blossomed as well into an art. A local favorite Green Man Brewery has over 20 different varieties of seasonal ales, celebrating a range of themes from pop culture references to the changing of the seasons.
If you want a deeper understanding of Asheville's beer culture, there are many tours designed to help you explore its rich history. At 10 years old, the Asheville Brews Cruise is the longest running brewery tour in Asheville. It can give you an in depth tour of the local breweries as well as samples along the way.
Perhaps the most famous attraction of the Asheville, NC area is the Biltmore Estate, established by George Washing Vanderbilt II near the turn of the 20th Century. Nearly 180,000 square footage makes the Biltmore House the largest privately owned house in America, and its celebration of the seasons keep visitors coming year-round. In the spring, the breathtaking gardens bloom a large array of flowers, while Christmas time is a two month celebration. After admiring the view of the rolling hills of Appalachia, check out the estate's vineyards. Biltmore's grounds host an exquisite and diverse selection of premium wines.
The American novelist Thomas Wolfe was born in Ashevillle, at 92 Woodfin Street to be exact. The writer, with his deep and analytical reflections of American culture, was considered one of the most talented of his generation and became very well known during his lifetime.
The Thomas Wolfe Memorial on Spruce Street is the site of Wolfe’s boarding home, established by his mother, where he lived until he went to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and later Harvard. Wolfe’s father, a gravestone monument builder, died while Wolfe was in college. A replica of one of his gravestone monuments is located in downtown Asheville in front of the Asheville Art Museum. It points toward heaven.
The music culture of Asheville is vibrant and diverse. The city is well known for its musical variety. The city is home to a diverse range of buskers, ranging from traditional bluegrass ensembles of banjos and spoons to ethnic ensembles of didgeridoos and harmonic tongue drums.
Asheville’s well known drum circle is a weekly celebration during the warmer seasons. Every Friday evening, Pritchard Park of downtown Asheville is filled with the rhythms of djembe and dancers for hours into the night. It’s an open community event, so everyone is invited to bring a drum, dance, or just listen to music.
The Orange Peel is located in downtown Asheville and is well known for being the place to go for amazing concerts. The Orange Peel Social Aid and Pleasure Club is one of the Southeast’s preeminent concert venues. The club features state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment rarely found in a club of its size. The smoke-free facility has a beautiful interior, creating a fabulous setting for enjoying the premier musicians who perform fascinating concerts.
The city is also home to the Asheville Symphony Orchestra. The ensemble makes frequent performances at the U.S. Cellular Center, and it’s uncommon not to see a packed house of concert-goers (young and old), eager to listen to the Asheville Symphony’s riveting performances of orchestral masterworks such as Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring or Gustav Holst’s The Planets.
Winding through the surrounding mountains is the Blue Ridge Parkway - a leisurely road offering nature lovers access to breathtaking overlooks and some of the regions most beloved hiking, waterfall, and camping spots. The Parkway is closed during parts of the winter, but is free to the public throughout the warmer parts of the year.
Some of the most beloved hiking spots are along the Blue Ridge Parkway. These include Craggy Gardens to the northeast of Asheville as well as Pisgah National Forest and Graveyard Fields to the Southwest.
Some notable restaurants of downtown Asheville include the Green Sage Cafe, a vegan and gluten-free friendly restaurant on a mission to provide sustainable, health-conscious food options.
City Bakery has both a retail and wholesale presence in Asheville. While their restaurants offer a variety of fresh baked breads, you can also find their products in local grocery stores.
Asheville small business culture is vibrant and the people who live there proudly support their local economy. Initiatives like Go Local, Un-Chain AVL, and the Asheville Grown Business Alliance have a lot of support from the community.