The Beer Bars
Sure, they’ve added two more bars around town and are finishing their third as I type this, but The Monk is still the place to go if you want something weird, foreign, or Belgian. The last time I was there, they had all the mainstays from Stone to Ommegang, but also had five taps devoted to Brew Dog. Head downstairs, and you’ll have 200 bottles at your fingertips. Plus, there’s a dude who dresses like a nun that hangs out there. Asheville.
The draw of this bar is in the title. It’s literally by the water. More specifically, it’s a tiny little house with a ton of taps that has an expansive yard along the French Broad River. Bring your own meat to throw on one of the outdoor grills, or just roast hot dogs over the impressively large fire pit.
The Brew Pump
You might not think a beer garden inside a gas station would work, but have one beer at The Brew Pump, in West Asheville, and you’ll be convinced the concept should be franchised. It’s your standard CitiStop gas station, but there’s a walk up/open air bar with a handful of rotating taps next to the pumps and a sizeable backyard with picnic tables and cornhole. In just a year, The Brew Pump has become one of the best beer gardens in Asheville.
BREW-ed: Sign up for this walking tour that begins at Asheville Brewing Company and fans out to any of a number of downtown breweries (Wicked Weed, Burial, Hi-Wire, and Green Man), and a certified cicerone will lead you through the intricacies of tasting beer, teaching you how to identify certain characteristics and where those characteristics come from during the brewing process.
Skip the cheesy souvenirs and hit one of these bottle shops to find a little piece of Asheville to take home with you.
If you’re looking to pick up the latest from Evil Twin, or Founders or St. Bernardus, you go to Appalachian Vintner, a bottle shop with an extensive collection and a 20-tap list to boot. And if a local brewery bottles or cans, you’ll find it here.
The tap list at this growler filling station is typically impressive to say the least. You’ll find plenty of options from big hitters like Stone, Ballast Point, and Left Hand, but also tasty options from some of the smaller breweries operating outside of the city’s limits, like Southern Appalachian, which crafts tasty ales in nearby Hendersonville.