Best Brewery in Asheville, Underground No More!
After extensive research, we are proud to crown Burial Beer as the very best craft brewery in Asheville. Burial put Asheville Community is Brewing on the map. Collaboration has brought us to where we are today.
It all started in November of 2015, which is a long time ago in the annals of North Carolina craft brewing history. Wicked Weed was fresh off winning Silver for their Pernicious IPA in the Great American Beer Festival. There was no daunting Green Mansion, and Burial Beer was just a few steps down and a pleasant alternative to the waning Dirty Jacks. Wicked Weed and Burial were newer breweries, just starting to prove themselves. A lot has changed in a short period of time. Wicked Weed is no longer a craft brewery.
ABInBev’s recent acquisition of Wicked Weed for hundreds of millions has disqualified Wicked Weed as a craft brewery. The Brewers Alliance states that no more than 25% of your company may be owned by a corporate beast (or something like that) to be considered a craft brewery.
We placed a poll on our popular Facebook Page, which asked what the best brewery taproom was on the South Slope. The winner, overwhelmingly, was Burial Beer. Don Baker, co-organizer of the 2,500 member strong Asheville Beer Club offered, “I think that Burial is number one because they are so creative and adventurous with the ingredients they add to their beers, especially the local herbs and fruits. Burial also has a great outdoor space for imbibing.” There are more breweries in Asheville, than just what’s on the crowded South Slope. But if not a South Slope brewery, than who? Highland? Maybe… but Hollie Stephenson left for big beer. Burial Beer has one of the top brewers in Asheville (see story The Five Best Craft Beer Brewers in Asheville – 9/29 )
We needed to see for ourselves, having not visited Burial in more than a year, what all the excitement was about. We attended the last Moonlit Art Market of the season on a Wednesday night to find it bustling with locals. A long line of joyful customers waited to order. One couple with their dog had driven up from Columbia, South Carolina. I referenced River Rat and Conquest to them, and they responded in unison, “It’s not like the beer here!” Just a few folks in front us…
first night out since winning Bronze in the Great American Beer Festival, was Brad Hillman. Yes! The award winning Hillman Beer Brewer, for their Four Fat Baby Belgian Quad, was patiently waiting in line for his Burial Beer!
Strolling the Moonlit Art Market was less like a market and more like a neighborhood block party. The entire Fonta Flora family was there!
It was other worldly. A big night for us at Asheville Community is Brewing. We had come so far, in such a short period of time.
Back in November of 2015 we received a tip that Burial was opening a second location in Biltmore Village. We ran the property picture and made the announcement. Asheville beer lovers who saw the post checked with Burial to confirm its truth. For reasons we still don’t understand, Burial denied the move to this location. The main stream media stated that the deal and/or location had not been closed or decided upon. What ensued was utter vitriol from the Asheville beer loving community. The trolls were out and zeroing in upon us.
A couple months later county records confirmed the Burial expansion. We were vindicated, our Facebook following quadrupled. Burial plans to open a tasting room at the new location where they now brew their beer. They also are very busy brewing beer around town, helping new breweries in our community. Zillicoah Beer opens this Friday in Woodfin, and we are hopeful their recent collaboration with Burial will be on tap. This, from the Zillicoah Beer Facebook Page “There are few brewers, or people for that matter, that we hold in such high regard as the Burial Beer Co. family. We’ve followed their journey from day 1 as enthused patrons and industry friends, but today marked a monumental day for us as we crafted a beer together. These guys epitomize whats right in this industry… making beautiful beers for the sake of beautiful beer. We spent the day together working on an open fermented brett pale ale. Looking forward to raising this one up with you. So much love.”
As we strolled, or likely at this point, stumbled on, a Tom Waits cover band started playing the Moonlit Market. The lead singer sounded just like Waits. They were dead on. He looked familiar. Wait… is that Mark Conti from Highland Brewing?