Craft Brewery of the
Day - Hi-Wire Brewing in Asheville, NC by Edwin Arnaudin
In December 2012, Craggie Brewing Co. became the first Asheville
brewery to close.
Less than a year later in the same building on a side street halfway
up the South Slope, just around the corner from Asheville Brewing
Co., arose the circus-themed Hi-Wire Brewing. Entering the fast
developing local scene with names like Bed of Nails Brown Ale — part
of a flagship quartet rounded out by a lager, pale ale and IPA — it
quickly developed a reputation as one of the most reliable sources
of flavor-forward yet approachable beers in town.
Hi-Wire soon cycled in such seasonal beers as Lion Tamer Rye IPA and
Strongman Coffee Milk Stout as well as exciting one-offs in its
Ringmaster’s Reserve series, among them a Wine Barrel-Aged Belgian
IPA and a Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout.
One of the few Asheville area breweries to take the time and energy
necessary to produce lagers, Hi-Wire was rewarded for its efforts on
a national level when its Zirkusfest Oktoberfest Lager took home a
gold medal at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival.
While the cozy original location remains open, the brewery’s
braintrust has shifted the spot’s focus to small-batch and sour
beers, earning raves for its Single Barrel Series of oak-fermented
brews incorporating fruit or Brettanomyces.
As for the large scale
production, it’s moved to a charmingly cavernous Biltmore Village
space directly behind noted local bottle and wine shop Appalachian
Vintner. Aptly named The Big Top, it’s become a hot spot for its
roomy interior and copious parking, quarterly festivals (e.g. Stout
Bout and the How Do You Lagerfest?), soccer game viewing parties and
winter and summer film series.