Up until a few years ago most blog posts about this area of western North Carolina were all about the waterfalls, the fantastic mountain scenery, the amazing array of outdoor activities, mountain biking, and the life style. Those things are all still big drawing cards for Asheville, Brevard, Hendersonville, and the surrounding areas, but we have a new reason to love this area. Beer! From the big names like Sierra Nevada to the small local microbreweries, beer is a big deal around here. So big that Asheville has been dubbed Beer City with more breweries per capita than any city in the US. And that's just Asheville! There's more in Hendersonville and Brevard.
Among the big boys in beer is Sierra Nevada, centrally located in the Mills River area, near the Asheville Regional airport and it has become more than just the place where they create their various brews. It's a destination for locals and visitors alike. The tours are wildly popular, there is live music, a tap room, and a restaurant that serves "small plates" of yummy things like duck fat fries (my personal favorite).
While you're in Mills River, you'll also want to stop at Bold Rock Hard Cider's new location that just opened last year. If you aren't familiar with hard cider, I consider it the sweeter first cousin to beer. Where beer is made with grains, cider is made by fermenting fruit like pears and apples. The alcohol content is equivalent to beer so don't be fooled by its sweet demeanor.
About 20 minutes south of Asheville, in Hendersonville you'll find two micro breweries within a couple of miles of each other. Southern Appalachian Brewery is a laid back spot that is as well known for its tasty brew as it is for the entertainment that it hosts on a regular basis. A few months ago, SAB constructed an outdoor stage where it hosts bands and their fans from across the area. In downtown Hendersonville you'll want to make a stop at Sanctuary Brewing Company. It's a fun spot with a big assortment of beer to choose from. It's also one of my favorite spots because of their involvement and support of animal rescue in our area.
Continue your tour by heading west to Brevard where you'll find the North Carolina home of Oskar Blues. In downtown Brevard, when you're taking a break from visiting the shops and galleries, head over to Brevard Brewing Company. This is truly craft beer in its truest form. It's a labor of love of one man committed to bringing German style lager to the mountains. And we're glad he did!
A brand new edition to the beer scene in Brevard is Ecusta Brewery and their new tap room in downtown. You'll find the tap room below street level on Main Street and it's a lot like stepping into a "speak easy".
Another new player is The Hub, located at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest. It's the home of Backcountry Outfitters but it's also a tavern where you can kick back after a long hike or a mountain biking adventure and sample beers from a variety of local breweries.
This is just a small "taste" of some of the places you can visit the next time you are in our neck of the woods and you're craving a "cold one".
For more information about western North Carolina visit us online today! And remember....drink responsibly and don't drink and drive.