This is part of a Beerventure Series from Steph’s April 2014 trip to Asheville, North Carolina. See the rest of the series here.
|Highland Brewing Company
12 Old Charlotte Highway | Asheville, NC 28803
Highland Brewing Company has been brewing in Asheville since December 1994. The original brewery produced up to 6,500 barrels a year, while their current location has the capacity to brew over 50,000 barrels a year.
They started bottling their beers in 1998, and today Highland bottles are sold in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington D.C.
In October 2010, Highland opened a tasting room were thirsty patrons can sample brews, hang out with the brewing staff, and listen to live music. An outdoor stage was added in the summer of 2011, and a bigger stage and outdoor bar were added in 2012.
1 Lodge Street | Asheville, NC 28803
Earlier in our trip we also visited Cedric’s Tavern, located at the Biltmore Estate. The tavern is named for George Vanderbilt’s beloved Saint Bernard, Cedric. The tavern was reminiscent of the neighborhood pubs of Britain and Ireland. Biltmore Brewing Company beers (brewed by Highland Brewing Company for the estate) include Cedric’s Pale Ale and Cedric’s Brown Ale. After tasting these beers, I knew I had to visit the brewery…
We visited Highland Brewing Company, Asheville’s oldest craft brewery, on the day of their 20th anniversary “Plaid Party” celebration. Twenty years ago first batch of Celtic Ale was brewed in the basement of Barley’s Pizzeria by head brewer John McDermott. Current Brewmaster, John Lyda, has been brewing up the Highland beers for 16 years.
Four specialty beers from their “20 Beers for 20 Years” series were on tap for the celebration including the 20th Anniversary Scotch Ale, Only N.C. Lager, Only N.C. Belgian Ale, and a re-creation of Highland Celtic Ale using the original recipe. This beer eventually became their flagship Gaelic Ale. I enjoyed a pint of the Only in N.C. Lager during our visit.
Live music was performed inside the brewery by the Screaming J’s and Love Canon. Avery’s Hot Dogs, CiCi’s Culinary Cuisine, and Mama Dukes food trucks were onsite, and of course many beer drinkers arrived in their best plaid showing their Scottish pride. Even the weather was Scottish – damp and rainy!
Before leaving, I picked up a bottle of their 20th Anniversary Scotch Ale, which had just been released that day. A few lucky patrons were able to purchase a gift pack of 2 bottles of the anniversary ale with a pint glass. The specialty box was signed by owner Oscar Wong and Vice President Leah Wong Ashburn (Oscar’s daughter).
Despite the weather, it was clear that everyone in attendance had a great time. The music, food, and atmosphere complimented a delicious line up of beers for a special celebration.
Cheers to highland and congratulations on 20 years!