Get on the Ale Trail
Western North Carolina has made a name for itself as a craft brewery haven, with Henderson County being no exception. With flavorful porters and stouts, distinctive sours, amber ales, crisp Kölsch, and a wide range of IPAs, local breweries also enjoy drawing upon the flavors of local farms. Beyond brewing excellent beer, the craft beverage community provides hundreds of jobs and has become an integral part of the local economy.
When the “Pop the Cap” legislation was passed in North Carolina in 2005, brewers were enabled to create beers with 15 percent alcohol by volume, compared to the 6 percent previously allowed. This was a key factor in allowing for a larger variety of beer types crafted and sold, propelling greater development of the regional brewing industry. Additional provisions later passed, prompting the allowance of onsite brewery beverage sales, and counties also began offering economic development incentives to attract new breweries.Southern Appalachian Brewery opened as Hendersonville’s first craft brewery in 2011. In 2014, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. opened its east coast brewing, bottling and distribution operation in Mills River, which benefited the Henderson County economy. Over last few the years, craft breweries have continued to be welcomed and open their doors throughout the county. Additionally, craft beers from many local breweries are featured on tap at many restaurants around Hendersonville and offered at local bottle shops.
Cideries also continue to flourish, utilizing apples grown in Henderson County. As North Carolina is the 7th largest apple-producing state in the nation and Henderson County is the largest apple-producing county in North Carolina, all three Henderson County cideries source apples locally to craft a range of ciders, including seasonal varieties.
A tasting tour of Henderson County isn’t limited to beer and cider. The climate and soil of the Blue Ridge Mountains create fertile ground for the growing list of local wineries. The Crest of the Blue Ridge wine region in Henderson County was named an AVA (American Viticultural Area), one of the only four in North Carolina and the first in WNC. With eight wineries across urban settings to countryside experiences, wine lovers have a variety of options to taste and take home.
FEATURED BREWERIES & CIDERIES
BOLD ROCK HARD CIDER
Opening its Mills River Cidery in 2014, Bold Rock Hard Cider is crushed and crafted in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains using locally sourced Henderson County apples. Visitors can learn about the process behind the award-winning cider, take a complimentary weekend tour and enjoy expansive views of the production floor and bottling line.
BURNING BLUSH BREWERY
Family-owned and independently operated, Burning Blush Brewery opened in Mills River in late 2019. In addition to a large outdoor beer garden, the unique brewery pays homage to the Victorian era and hopes that its gothic romantic atmosphere will encourage conversations and relationships to flourish while their traditional, yet experimental, beers are enjoyed.
DRY FALLS BREWING CO.
What started out as a dream between father and son came to fruition when Dry Falls Brewing Co. opened the doors of its rebuilt Kanuga Road body shop in 2016. From a brewery in the owner’s garage to now having over 20 brews available for the public to enjoy, Dry Falls Brewing Co. is proud to be a part of the Hendersonville community and to share their passion for craft beer.
GUIDON BREWING CO.
Guidon Brewing is a Veteran, American, German family-owned and operated brewery dedicated to the art of brewing high-quality, carefully crafted beer. They are committed to providing their customers with high-quality beverages in an enjoyable and welcoming atmosphere marked by a feeling of friendliness and relaxation.
OKLAWAHA BREWING COMPANY
Formerly known as Sanctuary Brewing Co., Oklawaha Brewing is a nano brewery and taproom committed to brewing high-quality beer while maintaining a strong sense of community and environmental responsibility. Oklawaha strives to be an active community resource alongside offering great-tasting beer and providing entertainment through its live music, trivia nights, and other events.
SIERRA NEVADA BREWING CO.
Founded in 1980 in Chico, California, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co broke ground on its second production location in Mills River in 2012. One of America’s premier craft breweries, and recognized for its use of quality ingredients, the Mills River taproom provides guests a space to relax with family and friends, the opportunity to tour the facility, an excellent restaurant, and, of course, the craft beverages they have become famous for.