It’s a weekday evening at the Wedge Brewery, which recently opened in the corner of a building facing the railroad tracks and the sunset.
The rest of the Wedge Building, a cornerstone of Asheville’s River Arts District, is taken up by artists’ studios. The brewery itself shows a fitting flair, from the photos of street art adorning the walls to the railroad spike marking the Iron Nail IPA draft. The vats can be seen through a window behind the bar.
The beer is just right here, with five options and more coming soon. The Golem, a Belgian-style brew, is smooth and powerful, while the aforementioned Iron Nail is delightfully rich. Asheville has a growing array of microbreweries to choose from, and some of the new ones benefit from employing veterans of the local microbrew scene. The Wedge’s brewmaster, for example, is former Green Man brewer Carl Melissas.
Wedge also offers a simple but classic bar treat: peanuts—the shelled kind that you have to crack open before scarfing down. Bowls of them are on the tables inside. (Be warned: They’re addictive.)
Outside, you can take in one of Asheville’s more peaceful spots: a small garden, fenced in by sculpted industrial metal salvaged by the late John Payne (the Wedge’s owner and a well-known sculptor, who passed away last month). The courtyard space is ideal for patrons seeking a quieter environment.
The loss of Payne is deeply felt here, as the bartender recalls the sculptor’s last visit.
“Just that Monday [before Payne died on July 17], he was right here having a beer,” she says, pointing to a stool at the end of the bar. “It’s still a shock.”
His memory is frequently toasted to, the pint glasses clanking together as the trains go rumbling by.
The Wedge Brewery is located at 125 Roberts St. Hours are 4 to 10 p.m. every day. Call 279-6393.