Oyster House Brewing Co. in Asheville, North Carolina by Edwin Arnaudin
Located on Haywood Road in the heart of revitalized West Asheville, Sunny Point Café’s renowned breakfast and brunch items attract long lines of locals and tourists throughout the year. Look directly across the street and you’ll see fellow neighborhood treasure Oyster House Brewing Co., an establishment that likewise warrants hourlong waits but fortunately can provide some of the city’s best beer within a few minutes.
A longtime homebrewer, Billy Klingel began making beer for regular public consumption while working at The Lobster Trap, downtown Asheville’s premier seafood restaurant, and in 2013 opened Oyster House in the renovated former Viva Deli building with his brother Jim, who manages the brewpub’s kitchen.
While the menu is terrific and features a respected range of seafood options, the true focus is on the brews, beginning with the flagship Moonstone Oyster Stout. It’s always available but each batch is slightly different, expressing various degrees of roastiness and a mild salty finish from the oyster shells used in the brewing process.
Other flavor-forward but modest ABV selections include Ole Dirty Blonde and Bubba’s Brown Ale, which rank among the top of two styles rarely seen in Asheville, while Step Papa Pale and Bob’s Yer Uncle ESB are second to none in their respective divisions on the local front. Patrons may also depend on an impressive array of IPAs, from the juicy Galaxy IPA that rivals the freshness of Stone Brewing Co.’s Enjoy By series to the hefty yet approachable Motown DIPA and newly added Amarillo Pillow IPA.
Most impressive of the regularly rotated beers, however, is Super Moon Imperial Oyster Stout, which vies with Oskar Blues Brewery’s Ten Fidy and Olde Hickory Brewery’s Event Horizon as the best in its class throughout North Carolina. Close behind it on the high-gravity front is Watch Stone Scotch Ale, though it’s Oyster House’s willingness to experiment within its five-barrel system that keeps it a consistently exciting brewery.
The recently expanded nitro taps have made great ales even better while one-off cask-conditioned beers allow Klingel and assistant brewer Philip Shepard to try out various adjuncts on their core line-up, the results of which are hand pumped into glasses via the bar’s beer engines.
Grab a pint, half pour or flight within the inviting small space and take some beer home in 64 ounce growlers or 32 ounce chuggers. You can even have a taste while waiting for your name to be called at Sunny Point – the range of the restaurant’s paging system easily reaches inside Oyster House’s confines.
Oyster House Brewing Co.
625 Haywood Road
Asheville, NC 28806
Phone: (828) 575-9370