Carolina Beer Guy: Highland Brewing Co. celebrates spring, 23rd anniversary

Photo courtesy of Highland Brewing Co.

There’s no rest for the crew at Highland Brewing Co.

Asheville’s first craft brewery celebrates its 23rd anniversary this weekend with a couple of beer releases, followed by a new spring seasonal brew and an array of free and ticketed concerts in its Meadow.

Highland will mark its birthday with two beer releases on Friday, April 21. Runnin’ with Turkeys India Brown Ale weighs in at 6.3 percent ABV and Bring the Summer Hazy Pale Ale is 4.7 percent ABV. Both will be served in the Highland tasting room and come with a complimentary cupcake from Short Street Cakes.

Atlanta band Kick the Robot plays a free show in the Meadow from 7-9 p.m. Highland has opened the grassy stretch behind the brewery for live music from local and touring acts throughout each weekend, company president Leah Ashburn says. The brewery’s rooftop space is also open for the season with a dozen brews on tap.

On Friday, April 28, Highland brings out its next bottled seasonal, Big Briar Tart Raspberry Ale, made from 100 percent raspberry purée. The beer is a variation on a small-batch raspberry brew that had been available exclusively in the tasting room. “We’ve been tweaking it,” Ashburn says.

A dollar from every pint of Big Briar sold at the brewery will go to the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. The seasonal will also be available in stores, restaurants and bars around the region.

May brings a series of ticketed concerts in the Meadow, co-presented with the Orange Peel. First up on Friday, May 5, is St. Paul and the Broken Bones, a six-piece soul band from Birmingham, Ala. Tickets are $27 advance and $32 at the gate.

A triple bill of rockers Clutch and The Sword and country-punk band Lucero is booked for Wednesday, May 10. Tickets are $30. Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco performs Sunday, May 21, with tickets at $25 and $28. A sold-out show by the band Primus is down for Wednesday, May 24, and on Sunday, August 27, Australian roots and jam band the John Butler Trio and singer-songwriter Landon McNamara perform. Tickets are $30 and $35.

Artists’ tour schedules played a major role in most of the ticketed shows being slated for May. Plus, Ashburn says, it was “nice to take advantage of this great weather.”

Highland Brewing Co. is at 12 Old Charlotte Highway. Tasting room hours are 3-9 p.m., Monday-Thursday, noon-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday. For more details, visit

Follow Tony Kiss on Facebook at Carolina Beer Guy and on Twitter at BeerGuyTK. Email him at


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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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