Thanks to BEER NC, a complete roundup of North Carolina’s breweries is just a few taps away on your mobile device. This fall, we’re making the experience even easier with our regional ale trail series. Designed to help you navigate the brewing scene in cities across North Carolina via walkable itineraries, these monthly guides will quench your thirst for great beer — and travel — across the Old North State.
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Considering that Asheville has the highest number of breweries per capita in the U.S, we’d be remiss not to include the city in our guide. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that the South Slope neighborhood is considered the city’s unofficial brewing district. South Slope has transformed from an industrial area to an uber-cool scene for shoppers, foodies, and — you guessed it — craft beer lovers. An added bonus: your dog can come along to all three of these breweries.
Start your day at Dirty Jack’s, Green Man Brewery’s original tasting room. With bumper sticker-covered walls, dart boards, and the occasional Star Wars decoration, this place oozes retro charm. Sit at the bar and watch the brewers in action as they craft specialty beer, or, if the weather is right, you can lounge on the outdoor patio.
Just a two-minute walk around the block and you’ll arrive at Twin Leaf Brewery. The cozy atmosphere may be laid back, but an assortment of games like giant Jenga and shuffleboard will keep you on your toes between sips. With hops growing in the backyard, Twin Leaf takes the term “beer garden” literally — try their new IPA Gary Made Me Do It for a taste of fresh, hoppy goodness.
Just a short stroll down the street is Catawba Brewery. The open space is bright and modern, with a chill vibe and food trucks you can count on. When visiting in the fall, their pumpkin ale is a must — or mix up your palette with their popular Peanut Butter Jelly Time specialty ale.
Downtown Hendersonville bustles with shops and restaurants and brims with character. There are only a handful of breweries, but what the city lacks in quantity it more than makes up for with great atmosphere and tasty selections.
1. Southern Appalachian Brewery
Southern Appalachian is the perfect place to start your tour. When the weather gets chilly, their autumn ale is a tasty seasonal choice; on Fridays and Saturdays, it pairs perfectly with a soft pretzel from Underground Baking Co. Live music and food trucks make frequent appearances at this warm and inviting microbrewery.
This newly-opened brewery is just a three-minute walk away on Seventh Avenue — the heart of an area that is quickly becoming known as a beer and pizza destination. Try the light Angelicious ale, tinted pink by raspberries. Stacks of board games, plenty of dog treats, and a popcorn machine give the large tasting room a family-friendly vibe.
An 11-minute walk to the heart of Hendersonville leads to Sanctuary Brewing Company’s rustic-contemporary space, complete with vintage-style light bulbs draped from the ceiling and a garage door wall. The vegan-friendly menu and clothes-collection bins reflect Sanctuary’s mindful attitude. Through actions like partnering with local animal-rescue organizations and providing free meals to those in need on Sundays, this brewery strives to make a difference in the community.
Quiet Morganton has put itself on the map for beer-lovers. So sit back, sip, and savor. Hopping between these three spots will lead to a perfect day of lingering over lagers and lounging on bar stools in the midst of gorgeous mountain scenery.
Start your tour surrounded by exposed brick walls at Fonta Flora, which presents a cool take on the classic pub experience. Even cooler is their sustainable, artisan approach to beer, which emphasizes seasonal flora –– like dandelions, hazelnuts, and beets –– farmed and foraged from local fields. This distinctive brewery also works with artists to design labels, merging agriculture with art to truly “craft” delicious beers.
A five-minute walk from Fonta Flora, this bottle shop keeps a dozen rotating beers on tap –– many from nearby breweries –– that make for a wonderfully regional selection. Located in a beautifully designed space with a laidback atmosphere and an assortment of local snacks, Brown Mountain Bottleworks is a perfect hangout spot.
Eight minutes down the road, you’ll find Sidetracked Brewery’s cozy taproom, where industrial aesthetics and beer names like Whistleblower Sour nod to the Morganton Railroad Depot Museum just a few doors down the street. A wine selection, Jenga, a Ping Pong table, and fun weekly events complement the artisanal beers at this local joint.