Highland Brewing Co. in Asheville, North Carolina by Edwin Arnaudin
Highland Brewing Co., Asheville’s beer-making pioneer, remains a leading figure in the local industry as it gradually expands its presence throughout the eastern U.S.
In 1994, co-founders Oscar Wong and John McDermott began brewing on repurposed dairy equipment and hand-bottling their flagship Gaelic Ale in the basement of Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria in the heart of the then not-so-happening downtown.
As Asheville grew, so did Highland, rolling out the area’s first mix-pack (the 12-bottle, four-variety Mountain Medley) before moving to its own facility atop a picturesque hill in East Asheville in 2006.
Part of the original core four brews with Oatmeal Porter, St. Terese’s Pale Ale and Black Mocha Stout, Gaelic Ale remains one of the most dependable beers in western North Carolina, if not the entire state, region and nation, while cult favorite Cold Mountain Winter Ale continues to draw passionate crowds each holiday season for the ever-evolving brewery.
Recruiting Hollie Stephenson, formerly of Stone Brewing Co., as brewmaster is one of many indicators that Highland refuses to rest on its legacy and is dedicated to ongoing innovation. The number of taproom-exclusive small batches have grown exponentially since Stephenson’s 2015 hiring and more year-round beers (including three IPAs and a pilsner) have been added, including a few in cans. She also used her goodwill with her former employer to host an Arrogant Bastard Hits the Road guest brewing, producing a version of the celebrated ale even tastier than what Stone ships across the country.
The generous, diverse daily beer list may be enjoyed in the spacious taproom or on the newly completed rooftop bar, which provides 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains. A different food truck is on site each day and free live music is available most nights.
Highland Brewing Co.
12 Old Charlotte Highway,
Asheville, NC 28803
Phone: (828) 299-3370