PART ONE: That question does not need a decision by a Supreme Court Justice. Asheville, NC has long been known as the epicenter of art in the southeast with dozens of arts and crafts galleries in and around the city. Now, it is gaining a reputation for as a mecca for craft breweries.
There are 26 breweries in the city of 89,000 making Asheville Number One for breweries per capita. There are a whopping 60 breweries in the region including some nationally known giants like New Belgium and Sierra Nevada. The latter is located near Asheville in Fletcher, NC.
It’s hard to determine the number of arts and crafts galleries in and around the city but the choices are dizzying. The New Morning Gallery in Biltmore Village may be the best example on the east coast of high level crafts and art that includes blown glass, ceramics, metal work, furniture and mixed media. New Morning Gallery has been “celebrating American-Made crafts since 1973. This well established Gallery is one of the largest in the country and lives up to its slogan – Art for Living.
The River Arts District (RAD) is a work in progress and is the result of the 1989 Asheville Riverfront plan that won an award from the American Planning Association. RAD consists of number of former industrial warehouses that have been retrofitted to accommodate dozens of artists’ studios and show rooms. Some buildings look pretty much the same as they did in bygone years while others have been transformed with colorful murals and graffiti art. The complex stretches along the east side of the meandering French Broad River and is home to 12 Bones Smokehouse, the popular (and delicious) barbecue restaurant that attracted the attention of Barack and Michelle Obama a few years ago.
If you are in the market for some vintage clothing or head gear, then Sugar Britches, also in the River Arts District, is the place to visit. In the mood for a costume party?
And, perched above the French Broad river on the west side is the New Belgium brewery that got its start in (and still adorns) Ft Collins, CO. The sprawling complex offers tours, tastings, social gatherings and it is a splendid spot for imbibing on the bustling patio that overlooks the tubers, paddlers and kayakers who drift down the French Broad. While it overlooks the River Arts District, it is by no means, the only location available for appreciating fine beer and fine art.
For more information about the arts and beer scene in Asheville, visit Explore Asheville.