beer garden last May and the indoor event
center opened in late 2015, providing space
for up to 500 guests. Groups can use the
ground floor, mezzanine and rooftop space
together, or each floor as a separate area for
smaller meetings and events.
Thanks to park land and land trusts, the
rooftop beer garden has protected views
of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Possibly
inspired by the beauty of the surrounding
land, the brewery has made a commitment
to sustainability. Repurposed shipping
containers are used for the bar and bathroom on the rooftop and solar power is
used when possible. Other green features
include reused concrete for the indoor
flooring, a live roof to reduce energy use,
high-efficiency and temperature-con-trolled windows, as well as infrastructure
that collects rainwater.
“The rooftop reveals our solar array, the
third-largest array among all craft brewers
in the country,” explained Highland Brew-
ing Company President Leah Ashburn.
“On sunny days all power use is offset and
additional power generated goes back on
In addition to using the rooftop and
event center as a venue, group tours
and tastings are available to share the
history of the company and explain the
LaZoom Tours, which started 10 years
ago with its cheeky City Comedy Tour, now
offers a Band & Beer Bus Tour. This new
tour takes up to 40 guests on a three-hour
bus ride through town, starting at a craft
beer store and stopping at three breweries.
More than just a bus ride, or designated
driver, local bands board the bus and play
between stops. The tour emcee is also
there to keep riders up-to-date on the local
For day-to-day tours, participants order
their own brews at each stop, but for bus
buyouts and special group tours, LaZoom
Tours can work with the breweries to
arrange for special tastings or pours at
“We have had groups arrive at the brewery and tastings are already poured and
waiting for the riders,” explained LaZoom
Tours Sales and HR Manager Kelly Morgan.
Often called “foodtopia,” Asheville also has
a strong culinary culture. Groups can go
on walking tours of downtown, a Saturday
brunch tour with Asheville Food Tours or
head to the kitchen at Cottage Cooking
Asheville for cooking classes, such as its
“Gluten-free Tapas” option or carb-loading
“Taste of Italy” tour.
For groups that want to take the farm-
to-table approach a step further, No Taste
Like Home, led by Alan Muskat, CEO
(chief edutainment officer), offers foraging
excursions, presentations, cooking classes,
retreats and even banquets serving wild
food found in the Asheville area. Taking
advantage of the micro-climates and
biodiverse region, No Taste Like Home
leads tours of all kinds to collect wild foods,
including mushrooms, fruits, greens, seeds
and nuts. According to Muskat, there are
over 300 edible species that grow in the
region and they are not difficult to find.
“Most of it grows in the city,” Muskat
said. “This Garden of Eden we live in here
is very real, and the foundation is natural.”
Groups can “forage-to-table” with a wild
food tour, followed by a cooking demonstration and dinner, with options of including music, dance and other entertainment
at a local venue or farm. Or, for a more
hands-on experience after foraging is the
option of a cooking class and dinner.
Latest + Greatest
➜ AC Hotel Asheville Downtown (www.
marriott.com) is scheduled to debut in
early 2017 with 2,000 square feet of
meeting space. The nine-story, 132-
room hotel is partnering with local culinary veterans Peter and Martha Pollay
of Posana restaurant to consult on the
hotel’s food and beverage program as
well as new rooftop restaurant and bar
Capella on 9.
➜ Hilton Garden Inn Asheville Downtown
( www.hiltongardeninn.com) opened in
August 2016 with 2, 100 square feet of
meeting space and 140 guest rooms.
The hotel also features the Pillar Rooftop Bar, with views of the downtown
skyline, and the Iron Hen Cafe Restaurant, serving farm-to-table cuisine.
➜ The 12-story Cambria Downtown Asheville ( www.cambriadowntown
asheville.com) is set to open in 2017
and will have 136 guest rooms and
7,440 square feet of meeting and event
space, including a ballroom, boardroom
and outdoor terrace. The hotel will
have two on-site restaurants, hospitality
suites offering large outdoor terraces
and full-service on-site catering.
➜ The Hyatt Place Asheville Downtown
com) opened in 2016 with 140 guest
rooms and 2,070 square feet of meet-
ing space. The Montford Rooftop Bar on
the hotel’s eighth floor offers cocktails
and light bites with a view.
➜ The historic Omni Grove Park Inn (www.
omnihotels.com/hotels/asheville-grove-park) is planning renovations of its 204
Sammons Wing guest rooms in the first
half of 2017. In July, the hotel will also
debut a Pavilion with the capacity for
230 people and will feature glass walls
on three sides and views of the Blue
➜ On the horizon is Hotel Arras (http://
arrasresidences.com), slated to open
in 2018. The hotel is part of the Arras
Residential development, comprised of
the 128-room boutique hotel, condos,
retail space, meeting space and two
independent restaurants committed to
the use of seasonable and sustainable
MONTFORD ROOFTOP BAR, HYATT PLACE
DINING, DOWNTOWN ASHEVILE