Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 65

culinary travel is nothing new. Travelers often try

recommended restaurants as they roam, or choose
their destination based on the cuisine. Wine trails
have an established track record, too, but the newcomer on the scene is brewery hopping.
Over the last three decades, American craft breweries have grown from fewer than 100 to more than
2,000, creating a product that stands on its own as a
culinary delight or pairs with food from pizza to
escargot. With dozens of styles, endless creative variations, small-batch releases and seasonals, there is
always a new brew to enjoy.
Fortunately, such enjoyment doesn’t require travel
to distant locales. You can explore craft breweries in
the Blue Ridge Mountains, pleasing your palate and
your sense of adventure. Though dozens of breweries
are eager to host you, here’s just a sampling, helping
you to create your own personalized brew-hopping
tour.
A logical starting point for the craft beer experience is North Carolina, which has become second
home for three large western U.S. craft breweries:
Sierra Nevada, New Belgium and Oskar Blues. With
more than 20 active area breweries, Asheville has
earned the title of Beer City, USA.
And North Carolina mountain beer isn’t restricted
to Asheville. A short drive away are two quality breweries nestled in the Smoky Mountain playgrounds,
where a relaxing draft and entertainment can follow
a walk in the woods.
craft brewery hopping: what to look for

Craft breweries, sometimes called “microbreweries,” are small,
independent, and traditional. They may produce stellar examples of historic styles, add twists to these styles, or develop
altogether new styles. Though they use the traditional beer
ingredients – malts, hops, yeast, and water – they sometimes
add adjunct ingredients to enhance flavor and distinctiveness.
The brews may be mild, but craft brewers are known for bumping up the flavor and the alcohol content.

In Bryson City, self-proclaimed “Basecamp to the
Great Smokies,” is Nantahala Brewing Company,
where “Water is for wimps.” As I sampled several
beers in the taproom, I chatted with the bartender
and a local regular, who freely shared tales of the Road
to Nowhere and gave recommendations for local
hiking.
Nantahala produces several flagship beers that are
good representations of the style. The Noon Day IPA

A logical starting point for the craft beer
experience is North Carolina, which has
become second home for three large western
U.S. craft breweries.
(5.75% ABV), an American India Pale Ale with pine
and grapefruit flavors, is brewed using pellet hops in
the kettle and a hop back system that mingles fresh
hop flowers with the wort. The very sessionable
Bryson City Brown, at 3.8% ABV, is mild in flavor
as well, with a touch of nutty character.
In 2012, Nantahala introduced their Trail Magic
series, beers that showcase the creativity and community focus of American craft brewing. Not only
do these beers use local ingredients, portions of the
sales benefit the Appalachian Trail Ridgerunner
Program. The third Trail Magic release was on tap
when I visited, a unique Belgian Golden Ale aged in
French oak red wine barrels with added elderberry
(9%). The first two releases I took home in bottles:
Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout brewed
with local sorghum syrup and wildflower honey
(9.8%) and Lemongrass Imperial India Pale Ale, with
lemongrass, fresh lemon zest and wildflower honey
(8.5%).

The larger taproom at
Nantahala is the setting
for entertainment,
recreation and
relaxation.

As you explore local craft breweries, you’ll experience:

• Entertainment. Many tasting rooms provide game tables,
corn hole, trivia, TVs, or other amusements. Some host musicians, from small acoustical talent to full-stage concerts.
• Tours. Guided tours take visitors through the brewery for a
look at the process of brewing beer.
• Brewpubs. These businesses operate a full-service restaurant
and serve beer brewed on premises. Though savoring a quality
beer by itself is a treat, connoisseurs are learning that beer’s
scope of styles and variations creates a panorama of pairings.
-AT

JULY/AUGUST 2013 | 65

courtesy NaNtahala BrewiNg compaNy

• Tasting rooms. A brewery showcases its fresh beers here,
usually offering samples as well as full or half pours. Though
they don’t offer dining service, many welcome outside food or
host food vendors.



Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013
Table of Contents
Digital Help Guide
Letters
From the Editor
From the Farm
Worth a Click
Creature Feature
Great Home Buys
Country Roads
The Hike
Mountain Report
Festivals and Events
The Best of the Mountains 2013
25 Years of Covers: Your Favorites
Ghost Town in the Sky Rises from the Dead to Live Again
Blossoms and Buddies: The Photoessay
25 Gen X and Gen Y-ers Changing Our Mountains for the Better
Beer! A Tasting Tour of Notable Microbrews in the Mountains
Then & Now: A Photo Tour
Chefs of the Mountains, Part III
Cabin in the Woods
Flavors
Mountain Garden
The Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Digital Help Guide
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Letters
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Great Home Buys
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Festivals and Events
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - The Best of the Mountains 2013
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 25 Years of Covers: Your Favorites
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Ghost Town in the Sky Rises from the Dead to Live Again
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Blossoms and Buddies: The Photoessay
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 25 Gen X and Gen Y-ers Changing Our Mountains for the Better
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Beer! A Tasting Tour of Notable Microbrews in the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 69
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 70
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 71
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Then & Now: A Photo Tour
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 73
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 75
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 76
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 77
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 78
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 79
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Chefs of the Mountains, Part III
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 81
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 82
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 83
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 84
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 85
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cabin in the Woods
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 87
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 88
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 89
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Flavors
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 91
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 93
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 94
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 95
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 96
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 97
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE1
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE5
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE6
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE7
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE8
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - DE9
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 99
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - The Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - Cover4
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