Asheville — that quaint little town full of lesbians (and gays, too!) — seems to fall on just about every LGBT-friendly travel guide ever created. Most focus on the art and the LGBT-friendly nightlife and dining. Everyone mentions Biltmore (we will, too; keep reading). But, Asheville and the surrounding highlands hold more treasures we haven’t seen often discussed — beer and wine.
Asheville’s official travel website credits itself as the “craft-brewing center of the Southeast.” We’re sure some other towns would like that to be up for debate, but what’s for sure is Asheville is home to some mighty fine breweries — more than a dozen, in fact!
As rated by Yelp.com users, out of 5.
French Broad Brewing Company 4.5 stars
101 Fairview Rd., Asheville, NC 28803
Green Man Brewing 4.5 stars
23 Buxton Ave., Asheville, NC 28801
Highland Brewing Company 4.5 stars
12 Old Charlotte Hwy., Asheville, NC 28803
Wedge Brewing Co. 4.5 stars
125B Roberts St., Asheville, NC 28801
Wicked Weed 4 stars
91 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, NC 28801
Bonus: Asheville Brews Cruise
Visiting 14 breweries, the Addison Farms Vineyard and Troy & Sons Distillery. With mobile and walking tours Tuesday-Sunday. Private tours available. Four-person minimum for all tours; $50 per person. ashevillebrewscruise.com.
Asheville Beer Fest, Jan. 25, 2014
Featuring local, regional and national craft breweries. ashevillebeerfest.com.
Brewgrass Festival, Sept. 21, 2013
The perfect mix of good brews and bluegrass music. brewgrassfestival.com.
Oktoberfest, Oct. 12, 2013
Presented by the Asheville Downtown Association. ashevilledowntown.com.
For Blue Ridge wine, the most iconic is Biltmore Estate, where winery experiences and tastings can be rolled into a full weekend’s worth of estate touring and activities. But, with nearly half-a-dozen other wineries in Asheville, there’s plenty to keep you busy. Addison Farms Vineyards is a bit northwest of Asheville. Family-owned, the winery was once a tobacco and cattle farm. Other nearby wineries include Overmountain Vineyards, Green Creek Winery, South Creek Winery and Lake James Cellars.
More information at romanticasheville.com/wineries_winery_tours.htm.
NOTABLE SITES & EVENTS
In between all your brewery and winery tours, be sure to stop in at some of these iconic and favorite places and events.
Blue Ridge Pride, Oct. 5, 2013
Annual LGBT Pride festival in Pack Square Park, Downtown Asheville.
Malaprop’s Bookstore & Café
55 Haywood St., Asheville, NC 28801
Asheville’s favorite little indie bookstore, featuring regular book signings and author events, a book club, music and more. The Malaprops Café includes local goodies and organic, fair-trade coffee.
LaZoom Comedy Bus Tours
Featuring two guided bus tours through Asheville (one for 13 years old and up, another for 17 and up) hosted by laugh-out-loud guides.