Highland Brewing Asheville Date Spots

Women's Dating

Highland Brewing is One of Asheville’s Best-Kept Secrets for Laid-Back Date Nights

Lexi Inks

Written by: Lexi Inks

Lexi Inks

Lexi joined the DatingAdvice team with years of lifestyle journalism experience. She grew her writing prowess through reporting on the topic of sex and relationships, and she loves continuing to cover this niche content while working toward becoming an AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator. You can find Lexi's writing in Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, Well + Good, and Women's Health, among other publications.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

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The Short Version: Asheville, North Carolina has a good reputation as a year-round getaway destination. The mountain views, artistic community, and delicious cuisine bring a special charm to the city. Asheville is also known for its many local breweries, with Highland Brewing being the very first — and one of the most popular. Its massive location and focus on both community and craft brewing has led Highland to become a premiere Asheville stop for both local lovebirds and tourists alike… Some have even made it the start of their wedded bliss.

Most people have one or two places that come to mind when they think about the location of their “happy place.” Some might envision themselves on a tropical beach with their toes in the sand and a drink in their hand. Others might think about a home filled with all of the people they love, laughing and sharing memories.

When I think about my happy place, it’s always Asheville. Located between several national forests along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville is one of North Carolina’s most popular cities. Although she may be small, she is mighty — despite the population hovering around 94,000 people, the mountain town is a considerable hub for creatives and nature enthusiasts alike. 

Couple drinking beer at Highland Brewing
Couples can enjoy chill date nights and great beer at Highland Brewing.

I vividly remember the first time I visited Asheville several years ago. My then-partner and I took a trip to celebrate my birthday and see one of my favorite bands in concert, and it was on that vacation that I fell deeply in love with the city. Between the art culture, incredible food, endless outdoor activities and stellar local breweries, I was hooked. 

While it’s difficult to pinpoint my absolute favorite memories of my time spent in western North Carolina, chilling at the various local breweries with loved ones (and my rescue pup, Remi) are definitely among the top few.

Anyone who has taken a vacation to Asheville knows the city is chock full of these popular watering holes, and it would be a shame not to mention the first one: Highland Brewing.

Founded in 1994 by retired engineer Oscar Wong, Highland Brewing started as a sort of underground operation. Wong began brewing beer in the basement of a local pizzeria, not knowing that one day Highland Brewing would become one of Asheville’s most loved breweries and event spaces. 

Highland Brewing tap room
The massive tap room at Highland offers a place to savor the wide variety of their craft brews.

Marissa Burns, a spokesperson for Highland Brewing, shared with us that the establishment is more than just a place to grab a cold pint with friends — it’s a multifaceted space that highlights some of the best aspects of living in the mountains. Highland Brewing makes for a superb date night spot as well, and has proven to be a cherished backdrop for the blooming of countless relationships. 

Highland’s Focus On Community Sets the Vibe

Asheville’s status as one of the smaller cities in the Southeast may lead one to think that it’s a sleepy town with an unremarkable culture. It is actually anything but. Asheville is a premiere Southern destination for live music, visual and performing arts, and food and drinks, all nestled against the spectacular views on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Marissa explained that Highland Brewing moved to its current location in 2006 – 12 years after Wong began brewing what are now some of the most well-known beers in the state – and the team has continued to expand their horizons ever since. 

Highland Brewing founder Oscar Wong
When Oscar Wong created Highland Brewing in 1994, he never would have envisioned what it has become today.

The 40 acres of land that house the brewery feature plenty of multipurpose spaces that locals in Asheville have come to enjoy. Marissa said that not only can the tap room fit 600 people, but the event center holds up to 400. The venue is perfect for weddings as it highlights the gorgeous mountain views with a 360-degree rooftop deck. 

“The outdoor facilities have really become our bread and butter here at Highland,” Marissa said. “We have a large outdoor space called the meadow. It has a shipping container bar, a large outdoor stage where we do live music three to four days a week, five tournament size sand volleyball courts, two miles of trails on the property, and an 18-hole disc golf course.”

The massive outdoor facilities and innovative use of shipping containers speak to the intentional efforts that Highland Brewing puts toward sustainability. 

“A big part of Highlands’ initiative is sustainability. So about our rooftop a huge solar array. We’re the sixth largest solar users of any craft brewery in the U.S., which is pretty cool,” Marissa said. “We have a family of goats who help us with goat scaping around the property, and we do other sustainability practices with some of our leftover materials from brewing. That’s a big foundation of Highland.”

Highland Brewing charity logo screenshot
The brewery’s “Pints With a Purpose” initiative supports various charitable causes in Asheville.

Highland Brewing’s impact goes beyond its eco-friendly business practices. Since its founding almost 30 years ago, Highland has served Asheville as a true community staple. Marissa shared with us that the city’s oldest brewery feels like a second home to Asheville locals — even those with furry tails. 

“On any given day you’ll find a lot of kids, a lot of dogs, nonprofit groups, meetup groups, and [other] people gathering,” she said. “With the development of our sports facilities, we have a lot of leagues who play here. We’ve been developing this volleyball community here, and it’s really taken off. There’s been a lot of really cool stuff that has come out of that.”

You Can Go From Grabbing a Brew to Saying “I Do”

Exploring all the attractions and establishments that the city had to offer really made me fall in love with Asheville. Doing so with the person I was in love with at the time made it even more meaningful. From brunches inspired by Southern comfort food to hiking among the trees in Pisgah National Forest, my partner and I had created some awesome lifelong memories together.

Between their sprawling property and community-centered features, the team at Highland Brewing aim to help people create lasting memories as sweet as those I hold dear, myself. Their event venues are no exception to this mission, and Marissa told us that some local lovebirds have even pledged their devotion to each other right on property.

Bride and groom posing at Highland Brewing rooftop
You and your betrothed can start your “forever” together at one of Highland’s event venues.

“I came across many couples who were looking for a wedding venue, and they were looking at Highland because they met here. Of course you want where you get married to be significant to you, your story, and how you met,” she said. “Probably over a dozen couples have been on dates here, used to play trivia here, or played volleyball here, and Highland becomes their number one choice for a wedding venue. It’s part of our storytelling that Highland can be a place for you to live and grow. I thought that was really beautiful.”

Even if you and your significant other aren’t ready to tie the knot, Highland Brewing can still serve as an excellent date spot. Whether you’re into trivia, joining a sand volleyball game, or just looking for a place to chill and sip on a delicious IPA or cider, the Asheville staple has something for everyone. 

“Highland is really popular as a date spot. Because we have a ton of parking, it’s convenient. It’s big, and it’s always gonna be busy here. I think it feels very comfortable and very safe. It’s really inviting, and our team is well-versed in how to talk anyone through our beer menu — especially when [they] can tell someone is on a first date,” Marissa said.

Their Craft Beers Are Major Crowd Pleasers

Not everyone is keen on drinking beer, and that aversion often leads groups or couples to avoid hitting up even the coolest of breweries. Some people opt for loud and crowded cocktail bars instead of a local brewery. While that may be a valid choice, folks in Asheville who pass up a chance to hang at Highland are totally missing out. 

Highland Brewing wedding venue
Your wedding guests are sure to be pleased by the delicious craft beers Highland creates.

According to Burns, aside from the brewery’s most established beer — the Gaelic Ale a la 30 years ago — Highland creates some of Asheville’s best craft brews. Her recommendation? The Daycation IPA. “I’m a Daycation diehard, that’s probably my ‘desert island’ beer,” she said. “About three years ago, we got a new head brewer. He really specializes in lager style beers, and he’s completely converted me. [There’s] a little bit of everything here.”

Although you and your partner might not think you’re into craft beer, Marissa said she really believes that Highland’s wide array of incredible brews just might change your mind. “Our Gaelic Ale is still one of our top sellers. It’s really, really nice, and could be a gateway craft beer. It’s pretty awesome. Every week I give my staff beer to bring home, and I bring home a six pack of Daycation for me…. And maybe my husband.”

Chances are that my happy place will continue to be Asheville for years to come, and I hope I’ll have plenty more visits to enjoy with the people and pups that I love. On my next trip, I definitely plan to take a visit to Highland to try their varied selection of craft beers and fun community activities. Who knows, maybe I’ll meet someone there someday and end up celebrating our union among the mountains in their gorgeous wedding venue… a girl can dream!