North Carolina is home to the largest number of craft breweries in the South, with an estimated 203 breweries and brewpubs spread across the state – you can’t go a town over without finding a new brewery, or five, to try. Plus, North Carolina has also grabbed the attention of big brewers like New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, and Oskar Blues, who have set up large-scale operations in and around Asheville.
The High Country has tapped into North Carolina’s growing craft beer scene by positioning itself as the next beer destination. Here’s our guide to help you navigate through the High Country trail of beer.
Blowing Rock Brewing Company
Since 2013, Blowing Rock Brewing Company has dedicated their brewing process to sustainability – they believe in the importance of giving back to the environment and using local ingredients. Their brewpub in downtown Blowing Rock was an old home remodeled to be their restaurant, brewery, and inn, adding to its local, rustic, comfortable vibe… as if you were hanging out in your friend’s living room.
For all their news on distribution, restaurant features, and updated tap list, follow them on Facebook. They also give free brewery tours on Saturdays from 1-5 pm.
Beech Mountain Brewing Co
Beech Mountain Brewing Co is one of the only US breweries owned and operated by a ski resort. Located in the village of the Beech Mountain Ski Resort, it is the perfect atmosphere to relax after a long day of skiing or snowboarding on the mountain. Even though they are located on a ski resort, they are open all season and to the general public. Plus, during and after skiing season, they have live music, trivia night, beer bingo, and karaoke.
Flat Top Brewing Company
Flat Top Brewing Company is the newest member of the High Country’s craft beer scene. Located in Banner Elk, they serve every kind of beer from a Shandy Tart and Hefeweizen to Black Rye IPA and Imperial Stout. For $4 you can enjoy a flight of beer with interesting names like “Better Than Saul” and “Chicken N Waffles”. After exploring Grandfather Mountain, you’ll want to kick back in this relaxed, cozy taproom for a pint. You can hang out with friends, and gather around for a game of chess, shuffleboard, foosball, or board games.
Blind Squirrel Brewery
Located in an old renovated hardware store built in 1919, Blind Squirrel Brewery brings more to the table than just craft beer. They feature a restaurant (with pub menu favorites), winery, disc golf course, a zipline course, tubing adventures, and a lodge – all just a few steps away from their brewery. Consider staying at their bed and breakfast if you want to eat, sleep, and drink in this one-of-a-kind brewery.
Boondocks Brewery Tap Room & Restaurant in West Jefferson is known for their small batches of handcrafted, North Carolina brews. Some of their flagship brews include the Crumpler Crippler 2XIPA, Honey Orange Kolsch, and the Third Knob Truth Serum. With a 9.5% ABV, this libation will induce you to “share all your secrets if you’re not careful.” Be sure to try something off their food menu, which offers everything from flatbread pizzas and burgers to dinner entrees like pot roast and NC trout.
The Pizza Shop & Dry County Brewing Company
What’s better than pizza and craft beer? Spruce Pine’s first microbrewery where you can get both. Dry County Brewing Company’s mission is simple: “provide local handcrafted pizza and really good fresh beer.” They craft brews with the SABCO Brew Magic system – brewed 10 gallons at a time and served five 5 gallons at a time. Their six taps can range anywhere from farmhouse sours and Belgian beer to lagers and IPA.
Things to note: They are only open Wednesday – Saturday from 12-9pm and Sunday from 4-9pm.
Appalachian Mountain Brewery
There is no High Country craft beer scene list without adding the award-winning Appalachian Mountain Brewery. They have been deeply rooted and involved in the local High Country community since 2011 and offer over 50 types of beer and cider – some top sellers including the Black Gold Porter, Boone Creek Blonde Ale, and the Long Leaf IPA. They are obviously known for their high quality beer, but their social responsibility, community mindedness, and sustainable business practices are what set them apart from any other brewery
Their tasting room features a 120-foot-long outdoor bar, covered heated porch, and indoor seating. You can also find their beer around town at Basil’s, Cafe Portofino’s, Casa Rustica, and more.
Craving more local breweries in the High Country? Check out our list of the best breweries in Boone including Lost Province Brewing Company and Booneshine Brewing Company.