Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hi Wire Brewing in Ashville, NC

This past Friday night, I visited Asheville's beer scene for the second time.  My wife (a licensed Zumba instructor) was going to a Zumba event on Grove St at a club called 'Scandals' so I decided to tag along walked around and try to stop in to few of the local brewery's tasting rooms.

But this did not quite go as planned.  I walked for about 2 minutes, then by chance, happened upon Hi Wire Brewing.  At first, I did not realize that it was a brewery. I walked past it. I had no map, other than my iPhone's map program open, so I was literally just wandering aimlessly.

As you can see from the screen shot (below) of my phone's map, I only walked for about 2 minutes from my starting point, before I stopped at the first brewery of the night.  And what, I'd soon realize, would be the only brewery of the night.

I had every intention of having a beer then continuing on my journey. After all, I had between 2, and 2.5 hours to kill before my wife was finished with her Zumba thing.  

When I had come to Asheville a few months earlier, I read up on this brewery and decided that it may not be worth my time; compared to some of the other breweries that I'd read about. .  However, during this trip, I decided to give it a chance.  And I'm glad that I did. 

Below is my review of not only the beer, but the brewery itself.

The Brewery

It had a nice, rustic atmosphere. It looks to be built in an old mechanic's garage or fire station. There are two large garage doors.  The tasting room bar was in the brewery.  On the bar was an old 13 inch boob-tube TV with an original NES connected with the original Super Mario on the screen.  It seemed to be a fairly popular place but there was always a place to sit. High-top tables were set up with stools all around the room. There was also a bar to sit at. During the 2 and half hours I was here, the crowd was constantly waxing (getting larger) and waning (tapering off).  There were periods where it was completely empty, then 10 minutes later, the brewery was packed.

The Beer

None of their beers are overly high in alcohol. The abv's range from 4.6 for the lager up to 6.7 for the IPA.  And the seasonal was 7.0%.

The price for a pint is $4.00, which is pretty standard for most of the breweries that I've been to in Asheville.  The sampler of 4oz glasses was $5.00.

There are 4 regular beers on tap and a seasonal. But there are also 5 guest taps from other craft brewers. Personally I don't get that.  My feeling is that if I'm making it a point to come to the brewery to get a beer, I want their beer.  However, I guess it's not a bad idea to have some selection, so that their beers don't run dry. Or if they do...

Today, the guest taps were from Terrapin, Lagunitias, Pisgah Brewing, and Rogue.

Today I tried their full available lineup.  I had a glass of the Seasonal (Red Rye), then I got four, 4oz samples of the regular line-up.

In the image below, from Right to Left:
1. Seasonal: Ringmaster Red Rye
2.  Hi Wire Lager
3. Bed of Nails Brown
4. Prime Time Pale Ale
5. Hi Pitch IPA

The Beer Reviews

Seasonal: Ringmaster Red Rye  


  • Like a brown ale with lacing that sheets down the glass. 


  • Very hoppy aroma. Spicy hop character and spicy rye to accent the hops.


  • Just like the aroma it's hop spiciness and rye stick out. 
  • The malt is not the dominant presence in this beer. 
  • From the first sip to the last it had staying power. My pallet didn't get fatigued even though the taste was pretty strong.  This is odd because of how strong the hop flavors are.  So when I say my palette did not get fatigued, don't mistake that for a weak tasting beer.


  • Best beer currently at this brewery. 



Hi Wire Lager  


  • Pale yellow like pee. Creamy head.


  • Grainy and sweet. Very Unappealing.
  • If I didn't know better I could mistake this for Budweiser. 


  • Sweet and grainy. 
  • Tastes just like Bud except with a tad more bitterness. A very small "Tad".


  • If you are going to come to a craft brewery of this quality and order the most bland beer on the menu, you might as well just get some free water out of the igloo cooler in the corner of the room.
  • Personally I think they put this beer on the menu to have something to serve to people who don't like anything other than Bud/Miller/Coors (BMC) beers.


  • This is difficult to rate because I hate this style. 
  • Overall for my tastes I'd give this a D.
  • But since this is par for the style of having no discernible flavors other than sweet grain,  it would get an A


Bed of Nails Brown Ale


  • Color is dark brown. It does justice to the title of being a "Brown Ale," at least in the color.
  • After 10 mins of sitting the creamy foam is still on top. 


  • Very weak aroma. Nothing draws me in to this beer.
  • If I were to close my eyes and smell this and water I wouldn't be able to tell which was which.
  • There is absolutely nothing here. 


  • Faint faint faint.  
  • Almost nothing there. 
  • No yeast fruitiness like I'd expect from a brown ale.  Surprising, especially since the description on their website says they model this after the English Brown Ale style.
  • It's very bland. Theres no bitterness to add to the experience. It's smooth as water. The only thing I'm really getting is an ever-so-slight aftertaste of vanilla. But so faint I'm just trying to find something



Prime Time Pale Ale


  • Looks like a darker light lager. It's only slightly darker than the hi wire lager.  
  • Medium to law carbonation but tight bubbles. 
  • Creamy head sticks around on top even after 30 min. 


  • Piney hops are the first thing you notice. 
  • There's a bit of graininess coming through. But only in the background as an afterthought. 


  • Spicy hop character. Not as strong as a mild IPA but much more than a new Albion type beer. 
  • Very similar to Sierra Nevada pale ale. 
  • Hop flavor is up front. The medium bitterness tops it off. 
  • I would guess about 50 ibu's. But the board says 37 ibu. 


  • If you wanted to come here and get a good favorable session beer that won't kill your palette, this is the one to get at this brewery. 



Hi Pitch IPA


  • The color was nearly identical to the brown ale. 
  • But, even after nearly over an hour, the head is still prominent on top: As you can see in the picture below.


  • Spicy hop. Pale ale had a more intense hop, and overall, aroma than this IPA.
  • If I were to have a lone glass if this, by the aroma alone, I'd think this was a pale ale. 


  • Citrusy.
  • It's not a strong IPA but it's definitely an IPA. 
  • After the aromatic experience, I wasn't expecting the flavor that I got. 
  • Don't get me wrong. It's not super strong. But the citrus is definitely on the forefront of the sensory experience and there's a nice malt backbone.


  • It's pretty good.
  • Definitely the best regular line-up beer at this brewery.

B in the ipa category. 

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