A burgeoning hub for craft beer enthusiasts, Asheville offers visitors a diverse selection of outstanding breweries spread across town. There’s a cluster of eight breweries in the district that stretches from downtown south toward McCormick Field (home of the Asheville Tourists minor league baseball team), and two more breweries farther south near Biltmore Village.
Down in the River Arts district near the banks of the French Broad, Wedge Brewing Company stands as a destination unto itself. Wedge really gets hopping in the summer time, when patrons can enjoy its copious outdoor space in the pleasantly mountain air. When we visited on a Friday afternoon this summer, Wedge was already quite crowded by 5 p.m.
The outdoor seating areas are nicely accented by industrial-chic rusted-metal art, which fits perfectly with the vibe of the River Arts district. The history of the building is well preserved here. Wedge is located in the lower level of an old warehouse building that served as a livestock and produce distribution center in the early 1800s. The brewery got its name from the wedge shape of the building, which houses an artist studio on the upper level.
Thanks to the large outdoor space, Wedge is a great spot for the summer and fall, with plenty of shade. The indoor bar area is small and cozy.
Wedge obviously takes pride in producing high-quality beers, many of which trended toward the hoppier. We enjoyed the beers we tasted:
Payne’s pale ale – 5.1% ABV. An American style, dry-hopped pale ale with a citrus floral hops nose. Well-developed full floral hop flavor, not too bitter, very drinkable. Our favorite Wedge beer, named after the artist John Payne, who transformed the building into an artist studio.
Apricot pale ale – 6.5% ABV. This beer is all about Cascade hops and California apricots. Light Apricot nose, fruit-forward taste, mild bitter finish. The fruit is balanced by the cascade hops. A good beer.
Belgian style witbier – 4.8% ABV, served with an orange. Floral cinnamon nose, citrus spice flavor, nice spicy mouthfeel too. Fun summertime beer.
Hellesbock – 7.2% ABV. German style hoppy lager, dry hopped. Light floral nose. Full flavored bitter floral lager with herbs.
Creature Belgian style imperial IPA – 11.4% ABV, limit 3 per customer! This dry-hopped Belgian packs a punch; you can certainly taste the alcohol. Fruity nose, sweeter taste. Virginia detected a hint of cherry.
IPA – The day we visited, Wedge was selling its porter and IPA at a separate window around the corner. Those two beers account for 60 percent of Wedge’s production, so serving them at a separate window cuts the beer line in half. The IPA is clean, light, and floral, very drinkable, not too bitter.
Porter – Chocolate malt with a little bit of anise. I get a hint of rum on the nose, Virginia thinks it’s more licorice. Tastes like it smells. This is a good, easy-drinking Porter.