Our main goal for our mini vacation was relaxation. We did have two different activities that we definitely wanted to experience. One of those was a brewery tour. Asheville has a ridiculous craft brewery scene, and some pretty ingenious companies decided to capitalize on that fact. Thus, the brewery tours were born. There are a couple of different options : the company will take you around in a van to multiple breweries for you to taste the creations or you can take a walking tour. Of course, we chose the walking tour because how else are you going to take in the sites of the city too?!
We began our tour at Green Man Brewery, which had a very eclectic style, complete with Yoda and Kermie overseeing the pours.
Our tour guide, Melissa, was extremely knowledgeable about the brewing process and, of course, each beer that we were to taste. She asked us specifically what types of beers we preferred and tried to accommodate each of us at every stop. She even gave us the rundown on the history - and things to come - when it came to the craft brew scene in the city. She was pretty rockin' as a person too so that was definitely a bonus.
We hit up Catawba Brewing Company next, which is housed in a really cool loft-type building. Very industrial meets rustic. I was totally digging the vibe. Our tour group consisted of Craig, me, Melissa, and one other really laid back couple. It was nice having a small group to hang with rather than missing out on the human interactions with a large group of strangers.
Next up - Twin Leaf Brewery, where we sat at long picnic style tables and laughed together. The beer may or may not have started to buzz us a little by then. Also, we were getting to know each other and the comfort level was definitely increasing. This brewery, as well as all of the others, was housed in a converted maintenance garage. Melissa told us that this was purposely done because brewing beer is not the cleanest process. Things are going to spill and it is much easier to take a building that already has the drainage system needed in the floors instead of trying to add all of the equipment and piping, which would be a major construction job.
We ended the tour at Hi-Wire Brewing. Given the name, it should be no surprise that it had an almost carnivale feel to it, but it was understated and cool. A place you could just hang out for hours, playing pool and talking with friends.
If you find yourself in Asheville, I highly recommend taking a tour with Melissa from Asheville Brewery Tours. Totally worth your time. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. And no, I can't choose my favorite brewery or beer. There were definitely a couple of beers that we tasted that I didn't care for, but it was because I am not really into IPA's. They don't really do it for me. Overall though, the craft brewing scene in this cool little city is legit and I am so glad we took the time to explore it.