October 2011. This is a cavernous, crowd-favoring place off the beaten path. With live music on the weekend, it seems this place fills up, too. With good beers and lots of free shwag, why not drop in here!? As the original place in Asheville, you should feel obliged! (#561)
(Visited 06/2015): Highland Brewing is located southeast of downtown Asheville on Old Charlotte Highway, not too far off I-40/I-240. Parking is available in front of the building.
There is a wooden-decked patio in front of the large building. Inside is spacious with a bar along the right side, a merch stand near the front, and high-top tables in the open space. There is a stage toward the rear. Industrial look, including a B.A.F. and a disco ball, among other decorations. There is a board behind the bar listing the beers on tap.
As for the beers, there are around 6 on draught, a mix of some flagship stuff plus some seasonal and brewery-exclusive selections like Footpath (collaboration with New Belgium), Out Of The Park IPA and DiBelgian Imperial Stout. Samplers are available. They also have a few bottles available to go, including a couple Anniversary beers while I was there. The beers were decentd overall.
Service on a Friday afternoon was good. The bartenders were friendly and knowledgeable.
We did not have any food on the visit.
Overall this is a good brewery to visit in Asheville, especially given they are one of the originals. While there are some better-quality breweries around, I respect Highlandís place in craft brewing history.
Took the brewery tour during the week which is free and gives you five free samples of their year round beers. The tour guide was certainly enthusiastic. The space is located in a warehouse, watch out for the guard shack or youíll miss it, which also includes a tap room/ music venue. You certainly have to admire Highlandís commitment to the environment from their use of corn plastic cups to using re-purposed storage containers as offices. We even got to see Oscar Wong during our visit.
This is just a little operation in the basement of some building. They used to have a brewpub years ago, but itís long since gone. We chatted it up with one of the brewers and he offered us some fresh brews on tap and straight out of the walk-in cooler. The tour was thorough without being painstaking, and the staff was extremely, extremely friendly. Iím a big fan of Highland I feel even more fondly of this brewery now that Iíve visited.
The new location is a giant warehouse. I stood in line in it to get some imperial Gaelic ale. Not much to say about it.
[September 30, 2011]
Highland has dome some serious improvements to their facility. There is a stage, a cool patio area and a ton of seating inside for drinking good beer and socializing. Really nice building now.
Stopped in on a weekend evening. Quite a good size crowd. First place I had to trade my license for a sampler. The building is huge, lots of seating and a nice area out back. A little out of the way from Asheville, but worth the trip.
Visited in July, for the free tour and tastings afterwards. The waiting area is very large and clearly setup for large crowds. Wish we could have seen the bottling line in action, but no dice. They have a room with a where they make small batches so their folks can experiment and play, which I thought was cool.
One of the few breweries Iíve been to that gives out free swag at the end of the tour to discourage folks taking ísouvenirsí. They also have a selection of merchandise, if you are so inclined.
Visited the brewery when it was still downtown below Barleyís. Andy gave me and my buddy Pat a sick little tour with plenty of samples including a bomber of Tasgall he opened towards the end. Everyone there was incredibly friendly (as most in Asheville are). Good times.
Iíve been both to the old location in downtown and the bigger newer one. Gotta say, the newer one has more of a factory atmosphere to it, but I guess ambience isnít really a goal of an industrial park. Staff has always been nice. Worth stopping by for a visit if you like getting behind the scenes.