Hi-Wire is known for their sour beers and after my visit this makes sense. They have a medium sized tasting room without air conditioning. I tried a flight and then moved on to the next stop.
I started with their gose. It was funky on the nose and had a nice mix of tart lemon, kiwi, and light salt. While I could have gone for more funk, this was an excellent version of the style. Pink Drink was a nicely balanced berliner with raspberry and lemongrass. Raspberry was mild and worked nicely with the rest of the beer. Most of the flavors were quite subtle.
The Brut IIPA was resinous and bursting with tangerine and peach hop aroma. The beer was flavorful and super dry, making it easy to drink despite high alcohol. The blueberry sour was fantastic and clearly inspired by the lambic tradition. It had tons of barrel character and strong funk. The beer was good and thick and not too tart with prominent blueberry. It was so good that I bought a bottle and bought another sour bottle without tasting it.
Hi-Wire has a huge variety of beer but it is best to visit for sour heads who are not interested in supporting Wicked Weed after they sold to AB InBev.
Burial was the one stop on my Asheville trip that had some air conditioning. Because of the taster prices I stuck to full pours and tried only two beers. They have a nice dark vibe inside and it kept cool enough to be an improvement over other breweries around.
I started with sword of crucifixion, a sour golden ale aged in barrels. The beer had a nice mix of buttery oak and mild funk, a solid complex sour. Waves Crash brett pale was hazy with notes of shrimp, citrus, and guava. It had a creamy body and mild funk though the fishy notes were prominent.
Burial is a great spot for funky brett beers and sours. They also have a good variety of other beers. I will be paying more attention to their bottles in San Diego now after the visit.
At Hillman I also stuck to full pours. They have a nice open area with tons of bar seating and other indoor seating. I started with the Keller Pils. It was fantastic for the style with notes of crackers, crisp bread, and mildly hoppy. I finished with the hazy half back. It was fruity with notes of pineapple, tropical fruit, and citrus. A fantastic hazy palle creamy and dry but not overly sweet. Herbal hops come through as it warms up.
If you are a big fan of sour beer then it is worth taking a trip to Asheville for Hi-Wire and Burial. Though if you are more of an IPA fan, the beers in Charlotte are plenty good to satisfy you, especially Heist and Resident Culture. Charlotte is also much easier to get to.