Anne Roderique-Jones, Special for USA TODAY:
Before visiting Asheville, N.C., I’d never tried — nor heard of — an APA brewed with fresh, fiery roasted jalapeño peppers. Sounds strange, sure, but it is one of the best I sample on a self-guided tour of 12 breweries in just five days. It’s no secret that Asheville is doing some progressive and impressive work in the beer department and gaining steam in the national scene, and that’s just one example.
“When I moved here in 1997, Highland Brewing was the only game in town, and a very small one at that,” says Anne Fitten Glenn, brewery communications consultant and author of Asheville Beer: An Intoxicating History of Mountain Brewing. “So I’ve seen (and written about) Asheville’s explosion from a sleepy one-brewery town to a nationally renowned beer mecca.”
Today, she counts 21 breweries; 26 in Buncombe County and five more on the way. With a local population of less than 100,000, the numbers are impressive.
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