Around Asheville, the South Slope brewing district remains the most popular beer destination, but the ever-developing West Asheville isn’t far behind.
Anchored on one side by the big New Belgium Brewing Co. property on the French Broad River and on the other by UpCountry Brewing Co., the stretch along Clingman Avenue and Haywood Road also includes Archetype Brewing Co., OysterHouse Brewing Co. and Urban Orchard Cider Co., with the two Wedge Brewing Co. locations just across the river.
Now there’s a new player: Triple 7 Brewhouse, located next to Westville Pub at 777 Haywood Road. The brewery is part of the restaurant, which was the first real drinking and dining destination in West Asheville. To make room for the brewery, a brick wall was removed just to the left of Westville’s front entrance.
Triple 7’s tasting room is currently open and house beers should be on tap by late March, says brewer Dirk Hillegass. For now, Triple 7 is serving guest beers from local breweries and those from outside of town, as well as cocktails and wine.
House beers will be brewed on a 5-barrel system. Among the styles Hillegass plans to produce are an IPA, amber, porter, stout, Irish red and a golden ale, but he says “the sky is the limit” when it comes to what might be on draft.
“The artistry that I am interested in is mixing Old World craft with New World equipment,” Hillegass says. “In saying that, we will stick with the beers that work. We will produce ales, but we want to bring on a lager line. And eventually, I will bring in more experimental things. I want to put out quality beer and consistent beer, not just 60 random beers that are halfway decent.”
At first, Triple 7 will sell its beers exclusively in-house, but a long-term plan calls for self-distribution in the area. Hillegass notes that the brewery’s location on the busy Haywood Road strip offers about a dozen nearby potential accounts.
“We are already looking at collaborative efforts [with other area breweries],” he says. “I think West Asheville has a lot of [brewing] momentum.”
Hillegass has what he calls a “science-based” background and previously worked in the Highland Brewing Co. tasting room before becoming cellar manager and then a brewer at Highland. The Triple 7 project was a chance to build a brewery “from the ground up, brick and mortar,” he says. “It was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.”
Triple 7 Brewhouse is at 777 Haywood Road. Tasting room hours are 10:30 a.m.-2 a.m. daily.