The breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains enveloping Asheville, N.C., have long-established the city’s reputation as a mountain lover’s mecca. But in recent years, Asheville has reached the pinnacle of another scene: food and drink. From creative craft cocktails to farm-collaborative dining to an unrivaled micro-brew boom, Asheville has become an epicurean’s escape like no other.
Asheville is in a Glass All by Itself
The craft cocktail scene in Asheville has gained a large, loyal following, not through lots of bells and whistles, but thanks to carefully curated, thoughtful recipes that incorporate seasonal, locally grown herbs, fruits and vegetables to produce the freshest cocktails possible. From downtown Asheville’s bustling eateries boasting popular bars, to laid-back lounges devoted exclusively to the art of the creative cocktail, there’s no shortage of spots to experience the city’s spirited side.
A Brewing Movement in Asheville
With more than two dozen craft breweries operating locally (and that number is growing at a mind-boggling pace), it’s no wonder Asheville has garnered national attention as an innovative, progressive player in the micro-brew boom. With the South Slope in downtown Asheville serving as craft-brew central, the local-tap trend has branched to all corners of the city, providing beer aficianados with high-quality, painstakingly crafted brews boasting flavor undertones that break new ground – think jalapeno, raspberries, dark chocolate, even peanut butter. With the attention to detail small-batch brewing demands, Asheville’s local beers are well-deserving of the unrivalled reputation they’ve gained.
Farm-Collaborative, Locally Sourced Dining
The Asheville area is lucky to be home to a range of farms, producing everything from grassfed beef and pastured pork to heirloom grains and cave-aged cheeses. And Asheville’s restaurants have taken full advantage of their proximity to such an eclectic range of farm-fresh products, crafting their menus around seasonal offerings and incorporating the freshest finds into their dishes. Big-box chains are notably missing from downtown Asheville; instead, you’ll find one-of-a-kind eateries encompassing the locally driven mindset particular to Asheville. With such notable chefs as Katie Button (Curate and Nightbell), John Fleer (Rhubarb and The Rhu), and Elliott Moss (Buxton Hall) at the helm, the Asheville restaurant scene sees no signs of slowing down.
Off-Beat and Hard to Beat
Looking for a not-your-everyday food experience? Asheville boasts plenty of them. There’s nothing vanilla about a molasses bourbon doughnut (Hole) or Basil Lemonade Pepita Milk ice cream (The Hop Ice Cream Café); and with more than 70 food trucks in Asheville offering everything from Lebanese Poutine (Gypsy Queen) to Pork Belly Bao (Bun Intended), adventurous mobile munching has never been more satisfying.