Carolina Beer Guy: All Sevens Brewing turns 1

STEPPING UP: Dirk Hillegass is the brewer at All Sevens Brewing, appropriately located at 777 Haywood Road in West Asheville. Photo courtesy of All Sevens Brewing

Walking down Haywood Road in West Asheville, you might stroll by All Sevens Brewing without realizing it’s there. Open since April 15, 2018, the brewery shares a space with Westville Pub in its beloved 1920s-era building, which 17 years ago was the first solid establishment where folks could get a bite to eat with a beer on the now bustling neighborhood strip.

Drew Smith owns both businesses, and the beer is made by Dirk Hillegass, who previously worked at Highland Brewing Co. The All Sevens beer lineup includes an amber ale, porter, pale ale and IPA, but it’s also featured such specialties as an Irish red ale and a strawberry IPA.

Smith says he had long wanted to open his own brewery when the space next to Westville became available. It had previously housed the Center for Holistic Medicine and was separated from Westville by a 20-inch-thick wall.

“It was a no-brainer as far as getting the space,” Smith says. “Cutting through these walls, we learned a lot about this building, pulling back the layers. It took 3 1/2 days total [to open up the room].”

When Westville and then All Sevens opened, the plan was to draw locals. “We used to have a shirt that said, ‘Where the tourists will never find you,'” Smith says. “But they found us.”

He adds that Hillegass, whose skill set is fortified by a pair of biology degrees, had been a regular Westville customer, so it made sense to bring him into All Sevens. At All Sevens he works on a 5-barrel system, where he produced 500 barrels of beer in the brewery’s first year.

With shared ownership, Smith notes that the brewery has greatly boosted the Westville’s business, and the growing number of breweries and restaurants along Haywood Road has likewise been a benefit for all involved. “It’s great for the neighborhood,” he says.

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About Tony Kiss
Tony Kiss covers brewing news for the Xpress. He has been reporting on the Carolina beer scene since 1994. He's also covered distilling and cider making and spent 30 years reporting on area entertainment. Follow me @BeerguyTK

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