By Chris Heagney
As the state gradually reopens, we have started to see opportunities to go out and enjoy a beer somewhere other than home. Phase 2 of North Carolina’s reopening plan allowed breweries and wineries to open their doors, and many have put into place new protocols for the safety of their employees and customers. Some of these measures include accepting only cashless payments, using disposable drinkware, the provision of social distancing guidelines and hand sanitizer stations, and reduced contact with staff.
Although breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries are allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity, some have opted to serve outdoors only, or to emphasize their outdoor space for on-premise patrons. Wedge Brewing Company has been serving beer on the patio at their Foundation location next to 12 Bones. Customers can eat some take-out ribs and drink an Iron Rail IPA just like the old days, but outdoors and at a safe distance.
Although it is not a brewery, West Asheville’s craft beer bar, The Whale Beer Collective, is open and serving a wide variety of beer (and even rosé) on draft. With a list that includes beers from Connecticut to Germany, The Whale specializes in sourcing a diverse taplist outside the realms of Western North Carolina. Located between Zia Taqueria and Haywood Common, The Whale’s patio area and open-plan indoor space make it easy to socially distance and enjoy a unique beer.
Located just outside of Asheville in Fairview, Turgua Brewing has recently moved its taproom to a brand new location with abundant outdoor space. While the brewery’s seating is predominantly indoors, the large garage doors on three sides of the building encourage the breeze and give the illusion of sitting outdoors.
Another great place to enjoy a refreshing beer in the sunshine is Hillman Beer in Biltmore Village. Its large draft list and plentiful outdoor seating ensure that customers can enjoy themselves while following all the rules. They have something for everyone: from traditional styles of beer like Kolsch and Brown Ales, to modern brews like their Hazy Half Back IPA. Enjoy safely!
Wedge at Foundation is located at 5 Foundy Street, Asheville. The Whale is located at 507 Haywood Road #10, Asheville. Turgua Brewing is located at 3131 Cane Creek Road, Fairview. Hillman Beer is located at 25 Sweeten Creek Road, Asheville.