In a town known for beer, the new big kid on the block is New Belgium Brewery, located at 21 Craven Street, just a little over 2 miles from Pinecrest. If you are looking for a brewery tour in Asheville, this is not to be missed.
We had the pleasure of visiting their Liquid Center in May and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, sampling a pint or two while sitting on their patio that looks over the French Broad River. When we saw the tours gearing up in September, we made our reservations online at Tour Calendar and waited with much anticipation for our spot on their brewery tour in Asheville at New Belgium.
Things you need to know about the tours:
1) limited to twenty people
2) last between 60 and 90 minutes
3) must be 21 because…..
Really there is not much more to say except it is worth your time. Our tour guy’s knowledge and enthusiasm were contagious as he guided us throughout the facility.
First Stop on the Tour
After a brief introduction to New Belgium outside, the tour group ventured into the facility to see lots of shiny stainless steel tanks and a bar. With taps and plenty of glasses for the first sampling.
We learned a lot about the company and it’s culture: like the employees ARE the owners, every employee receives a Fat Tire cruiser bike on their first anniversary, a one week trip to Belgium on their fifth anniversary, and their workers get a free 12-pack of beer every week. The list goes on and on and you probably will want to apply for a job for no other reason than they have a slide at work! It’s part of the tour and you really should skip the steps and go down it. But be warned, you can get up a head of steam and fly out of it. As for applying for a job: the only open positions were Process Automation Engineer or Production Process Analyst. Guess taste tester was already filled?
We learned a lot about making beer too: the short version being convert a grain, primarily barley (or wheat) into wort then ferment it with yeast. That version is intentionally short so you will have to go hear the whole story at the best brewery tour in Asheville. Our guide was thorough and used verbs like mashing, sparging, fermenting, and lautering though you can forget more than you remember after the 3 free samples.
If possible, schedule your tour during the week so there will be a greater chance the bottling floor will be operational. It brought back memories of my job at Colgate, putting toothpaste in tubes. It would be both fascinating and mesmerizing to watch the action and we will be scheduling another tour in the near future for certain.
The latest news from the New Belgium blog is they are teaming up with their neighbor Wedge Brewing Co. for a collaboration to benefit greenways. How cool is it that New Belgium will be delivering Dulkelweizen beer for the launch party at Wedge by bike? And for every pint sold, $1 will be donated to greenways in Buncombe County.
Yes those are happy smiles. We tried La Folie sour brown ale, Ranger IPS but our favorite is their flagship Fat Tire Amber Ale. We love New Belgium Brewery!