If you can only visit one brewery in the Asheville area, make a beeline for the New Belgium Brewing Company. The local hot spot is known not only for its exceptional beer selection but also for its intriguing tour. Although New Belgium has a location in Fort Collins, there is something special about its acclaimed Asheville edition.
A vast array of beers are available, but on the off chance you don’t like beer, you’re welcome to drink the complimentary sparkling water. Otherwise, you’ll be eager to test a variety of brews, including many you might struggle to find in stores outside of Asheville.
If you plan to tour the brewery, set aside a full afternoon. The tour itself takes ninety minutes, but you’ll also want to hang out afterward and take in New Belgium’s chill ambiance. It’s the type of excursion that can easily take up most of your day, particularly if you visit with a close group of friends or with the intention of making new friends.
If the weather cooperates, take your beer outside and enjoy the natural beauty of New Belgium’s riverside location. Keep an eye out for food trucks, which regularly arrive to feed hungry beer enthusiasts.
During the tour, you’ll learn all you ever wanted to know about the brewing process. Even if you don’t drink beer, you’ll find the experience fascinating. The tour guides clearly know what they are talking about, and are eager to share their passion with visitors. Come prepared for large samples, but also to love those samples so much you can’t help but purchase some for yourself.
A few of our favorite brews on tap include the following:
Fat Tire White
A clear favorite among many guests, the Fat Tire White delivers the classic flavor of the iconic Fat Tire, but also adds Indian coriander and Seville oranges. The result? A fresh, sweet taste not quite like any other beer you’ll sample at New Belgium.
Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin
If your love of pumpkin spice extends to beer, you’ll be thrilled to taste the Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin. At times sweet, bitter, and sour, the brew’s complex taste will challenge, and ultimately, delight you.
Clutch Dark Sour
A truly robust brew with a notable coffee flavor, the Clutch Dark Sour is sure to appeal to mocha lovers. It’s a nice choice for those who feel ambivalent about beer, but enthusiastic about coffee.
Named the Green Business of the Year by the WNC Sierra Club, New Belgium’s Asheville location clearly prioritizes sustainability. The company makes its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint clear on its website and during brewery tours. To keep accountable, the company produces sustainability reports. One such report indicates that it manages to reclaim an astounding 99.9 percent of the waste it produces.
Like many breweries in and around Asheville, New Belgium Brewing Company is dog-friendly…to an extent. You are welcome to bring your four-legged friend along and hang out together outside, but your dog cannot go on the brewery tour or accompany you in the sampling room.
-The staff at New Belgium strongly recommends visiting on a Tuesday if you are “allergic to crowds.” After all, the downside of exploring a brewery with such a strong reputation is that others are bound to visit as well — especially during the weekend. That being said, most reviewers argue that the crowds are worth enduring for the sake of sampling some of the area’s finest brews.
-Interested in taking the New Belgium tour? Be sure to book your ticket online well in advance. Because the tour is always in high demand, spots for the 90-minute affair fill up quickly. Tours are open to visitors of all ages, but of course, sampling is only allowed for those over the age of 21. Dogs, unfortunately, are not allowed on tour.
-Keep an eye on the official New Belgium Brewing Instagram page to remain up to date on upcoming events. The brewery regularly hosts local bands and other forms of live entertainment.