More than a restaurant, more than a brewery, Forestry Camp is a piece of Asheville history nestled on a hill overlooking Biltmore Village. In 1937, after Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps to put unemployed men to work on public works projects during the Great Depression, the US government built a campus of barracks a stone's throw from the railroad chugging through Asheville's Biltmore Village. They called it Forestry Camp.
Here in the mountains of Western North Carolina, the CCC began building what many consider the country’s greatest scenic byway: the Blue Ridge Parkway, which snakes 469 miles across the Appalachian Mountains from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. Men toiled by hand to cut the curving road and its iconic tunnels into the rugged landscape—stashing their spare personal belongings, extra lumber, and tools in spartan cubbies at Forestry Camp. Some of their numbered identification markers remain as clues to the past.
More than eighty years later, the Blue Ridge Parkway provides the backbone of the regional tourism industry and helps bring a nearly endless stream of visitors to Asheville.
The feeling of another time pervades the entire grounds of Forestry Camp, which sprawls across two acres and six buildings. In addition to the two-story bar and restaurant, there are offices, a pair of barrel-aging houses, and a production brewery with the capacity to churn out 10,000 barrels a year.
The menu is eclectic to say the least and is a culinary adventure. Dishes like aguachile, bacalao, squid rice, tin fish, cowboy beans, and east carolina pulled pork pair well with Burial beers long list of craft beers, cocktails, and wine. Served upon communal picnic tables built from the property’s abundance of yellow pine evoke the rustic cider houses prevalent in Basque Country.
Bar snacks here include crispy Gernika peppers and flaky cod tater tots. Climb the stairs to the intimate dining room, where the Basque immersion takes the form of whole grilled Carolina trout and epic cuts of pork.
Owned and operated by Seattle transplants Jess and Doug Reiser and their partner, Tim Gormley, Burial Beer's mission was to pay homage to the area's history while crafting something unique and woodsy. The brewery has built its reputation on modernizing classic and historic beer styles, from crisp pilsners and rare grisettes and gruits to barrel-aged sour ales and IPA hop bombs. The cyclical nature of the harvest inspires Burial’s farmhouse ales and saisons as much as it does the brewery’s philosophy. Early beers all bore the names of crude farming tools—thresher, scythe, bolo. Burial’s logo brandishes a sickle.
A brewery by the name of Burial could easily fall down a rabbit hole of zombies and other tales from the crypt, but here, there’s poetry in everything’s eventual demise. In the words of Burial’s website: “We find glory in the things that once were so we choose to celebrate the things that have passed, the things that still are, and the things that will be again.”