French Broad River Brewery in Asheville, North Carolina by Edwin Arnaudin
One of the Big Four breweries that formed the Asheville beer scene before there was such a thing, French Broad River Brewery remains a local force alongside fellow mainstays Highland Brewing Co., Green Man Brewery and Asheville Brewing Co.
Founded in 2001 and housed in plain warehouse on the edge of Biltmore Village near Hillman Beer and Catawba Brewing Co.’s original Asheville outpost, French Broad offers a similar no-fuss vibe through its decor, atmosphere and beers that’s made it a longtime favorite among area residents.
Intimate seating inside the taproom, often right next to live acoustic music, and a handful of outdoor tables by the entrance keep the space immune from overbearing crowds and place the focus firmly on one of Western North Carolina’s most reliable and balanced year-round beer portfolios.
A flight of Wee-Heavy-Er Scotch Ale, 13 Rebels ESB, IPA, Ryehopper Rye Pale Ale, Gateway Kolsch and Anvil Porter showcase the brewery’s range of styles and is typically augmented by a seasonal brew, from the Zepptemberfest Märzen and Dry Irish Stout to a Flanders Red and the Wee-Heaviest Belgian-style Scotch Ale.
Visitors may take French Broad’s beer home in cans and 22 ounce bombers, both at the brewery and area grocery stores, though the taproom itself is poised to become more of a destination.
After local brewpub chain the Thirsty Monk came close to purchasing French Broad, Sarah and Paul Casey of Chapel Hill became its new owners in 2017. The couple restored “River” to the brewery’s name, implemented a rebranding with watery font and imagery and have additional aspirations to keep their company innovative in an ever-competitive local market. Plans are afoot to expand and renovate the current building’s interiors, maintaining the character of the existing taproom while offering additional space for patrons and brewing capacity.
French Broad River Brewery
101 Fairview Rd. #D
Asheville, NC 28803
Phone: (828) 277-0222