Thanks to BEER NC, a complete roundup of North Carolina’s breweries is just a few taps away on your mobile device. This summer, we’re making the experience even more fun with our regional Brewery Adventures series. Find out about some of the best places to explore across the Old North State — and where to grab a cold craft brew afterward — in our monthly roundups.
Take a hike! There are dozens of trails to choose from at Pilot Mountain State Park, but no matter which one you choose to explore, be sure to make your way to the Little Pinnacle Overlook Trail. It’s just 0.1 miles long, but it features a stunning view of Big Pinnacle and the Sauratown Mountains. On a clear day, you can see for miles — which makes it a great spot to catch a sunset. After the sun goes down, head up the road to White Elephant Beer Company in downtown Mount Airy, and try the Saisonator, made with local malt, or the fruity Passionfruit Berliner.
Set out solo or with a guide for a paddling adventure with Haw River Canoe & Kayak Company (they rent stand-up paddleboards, too!), and explore the peaceful Haw River in Saxapahaw, a former mill village. When you’re back on dry land, walk over to Haw River Farmhouse Ales to enjoy a cold Belgian-style brew on their shady patio — we like the Cotton Blossom Farmhouse IPA. Check out the brewery’s website to see the list of local farms from which they source many of their ingredients.
Spend the afternoon exploring historic Winston-Salem on foot or by bike via the Salem Creek Greenway; you can even rent a bike from one of two BikeShare stations located along the path. The greenway winds past Old Salem, Salem College, and multiple parks before it reaches Salem Lake — which offers seven miles of trails of its own. Also along the greenway: Carolina’s Vineyards and Hops. Pedal right up to the tasting room, where you’ll find a truly impressive selection of North Carolina craft beer and wine and a serve-your-own beer wall.
Launch a kayak, take a hike, or cast a line at Mebane’s Lake Michael, a beautiful 59-acre lake perfect for a quick afternoon adventure. A couple of miles away, you’ll find Bright Penny Brewing Company. Try the Friendly Neighbor, a farmhouse ale with a peppery finish. Even better: Pair it with one of their sophisticated deviled egg appetizers, featuring garnishes like pecan wood-smoked bacon, local goat cheese, and pepper jelly — or get the “Flight of Grandma’s Eggs” to sample a variety.
Spend a day at the U.S. National Whitewater Center near Charlotte, where, in addition to white-water rafting, you can ride a zip line attached to the top of a 100-foot-tall tower, rock-climb with or without a rope, and go paddling on the smooth waters of the nearby Catawba River. After a day spent conquering your fears and pushing yourself to new limits, grab a North Carolina craft beer at the Pump House Biergarten, where you can watch the rafters go by on the competition channel. It’s the perfect spot to relax and refuel.
Get our most popular weekly newsletter: This is NC
One of the last old-school fish houses in Onslow County stands sentry on the White Oak River. Clyde Phillips Seafood Market has served up seafood and stories since 1954 — an icon of the coast, persevering in pink.