The South Slope neighborhood's recent radical change from an industrial warehouse district to the craft brewery center of the world has been one of the most lauded transformations in Asheville history. No one is happier about the dramatic increase of Asheville breweries than the outdoor enthusiasts—those of us who leave town early and come back thirsty, having earned our pour by climbing mountains, crushing rocks and riding rapids. So the next time you return from a day of adventure, here are four South Slope breweries to visit.
1. Catawba Brewing
Tradition dictates that when a paddler is forced to swim out of their boat, they must drink a beer out of a neoprene water shoe once they reach the takeout. Catawba Brewing recently paid homage to this practice by teaming up with the Asheville based PFD and footwear company Astral Design. The Astral Bootie Beer, a crisp and malty IPA, was created for any kayaker who has ever had to pull their skirt. Since we're all between swims, that includes everybody! There are countless ways to get out on the river here in the Blue Ridge, from charging the extreme rapids of the Green River Narrows to cruising the gentle current of the French Broad , with many bouncy, wavy, intermediate options in between. Regardless of what class of rapids you ran, and whether you ran them in a tube, creek boat or canoe, nothing tastes better after a day on the river than an ice-cold beer. So whether you stuck it or swam, head on over to Catawba Brewing and raise a pint glass to another safe passage.
2. Twin Leaf Brewery
There are so many adventures associated with the Twin Leaf Brewery that is seems a shame to pick just one. As breweries go, this one is a bit of a recreational maverick, hosting events from the Mutt Mingle Doggie Dash (“an epic competition of true canine warriors”) to Vinyasa Yoga, to the “Foos-N-Brews” human foosball tournament. They even have a GoPro adventure film competition in the works, with raffle prizes and movies projected on a gigantic outdoor screen. The tasting room is spacious and light-filled, easily doubling as a yoga studio on certain Saturdays. On any given day you might find food trucks like Kortos Mobile Pizza Kitchen parked outside, or the Hop Ice Creamery stopping by with some specialty brew-inspired flavors. And as if you need another reason to visit, Twin Leaf has a passion for community partnership: They are a frequent sponsor of local nonprofits such as the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and Girls on the Run.
In keeping with the fun and eclectic vibe of this Coxe Avenue brewhouse, we recommend getting into something new and unusual before you pour a pint of Dark Matter Oatmeal Stout or Grapefruit Shandy. Check out the Dare to Fly outdoor trapeze facility, power through the pump track at the Kolo Bike Park, or channel your inner American Ninja Warrior with a treetop obstacle course at the Asheville Adventure Center. Keep it daring, keep it interesting—Twin Leaf sure does.
3. Burial Beer Co.
The innovative flavors at Burial Beer Co. , a 10-barrel brewhouse tucked neatly between the warehouses on Collier Ave., are best enjoyed after a rigorous day of outdoor adventures. Check out one of these epic all-day hikes in the Asheville region, then treat yourself to a tulip of Burial's famously decadent Skillet Donut Stout. Pale malt from Riverbend Malt house, Counter Culture Coffee and milk sugars combine for a silky dark brew that will bring your demanding day to an indulgent finish. Of course, not every brew is as notably rich as the Skillet. The Coconut Brown makes for deliriously easy drinking, and its subtly sweet, nutty flavor profile is perfect for late summer evenings. Unwind with a cold pint at a high-top table, or play a round of corn hole on the terrace. With its clean, modern landscaping, Burial's outdoor beer garden is an urban oasis with a slight industrial twist, providing you with the perfect contrast to a long day in the rugged Appalachian mountains.
4. The Funkatorium
Being a consummate rock climber, Walt Dickinson, co-owner and co-creator of the wildly popular Wicked Weed Brewing , understands the immense satisfaction of a good, craft beer after a day at the crag. The Funkatorium, a sour beer and barrel-aged brewhouse on Coxe Ave., is Wicked Weed’s specialty offering to the South Slope neighborhood. Arrived pumped out and thirsty after a bouldering session at Rumbling Bald , strength training at Climbmax , or an afternoon at Looking Glass, and treat yourself to one of the many deliciously tart berry-blasted sours. These gem-hued brews are remarkably refreshing—and, some might say, dangerously drinkable—after a day on the sharp end. Enjoy live bluegrass every Wednesday, running club every Thursday, and always plenty of charcuterie, cheese and pickled veggies to snack on.