Arguing that Asheville is one of the country's best cities for craft beer enthusiasts is an easy position to take.
It's won the vote for BeerCity U.S.A. the last three years in a row. It's home to nine craft breweries and a handful of devoutly patronized beer-geek bars (Mellow Mushroom, Barley's Taproom, and Thirsty Monk, to name a few). It plays host to a number of beer festivals (the Brewgrass Festival and a local beer-only Oktoberfest), and has a serious bottle shop to its name (Brusin' Ales, which stocks more than 1,000 international brews). In short, you want to drink beer here.
So what might you find in your pint glass? Everything from turn-of-the-century-inspired ale to a rich oatmeal porter crafted at the city's oldest brewery. Below are six favorites to sample for a taste of the local scene.
Oatmeal Porter, Highland Brewing Company
No list of favorite Asheville craft beers would be complete without mention of Highland Brewing, the city's biggest and longest-living brewery. In business since 1994, it's best known for its Gaelic Ale and this Oatmeal Porter. Typical of the porter style, this dark pour has a rich, malty character with notes of chocolate and coffee, but is unique for its distinctly hoppy finish.
Solstice, Pisgah Brewing Company
This organic brewery's Beglian-style Tripel is a favorite of craft beer expert Joshua Bernstein for its subtle fruit flavors and "spicy, yeasty scent." Still, picking a favorite brew here is no easy task as they are well known for their unique seasonal varieties, often featuring local ingredients. Take the Valdez, for example, a stout made with beans from Asheville Coffee Roasters.