Ready for a hops-filled road trip? Experience the best of western North Carolina’s beer and spirits scene from Canton to Maggie Valley on this weekend excursion. While craft beer might conjure images of cities like Denver and Portland, North Carolina has firmly rooted itself in the craft-beer scene of the South.
BearWaters Brewing Company, Canton and Maggie Valley
Start your adventure in the charming town of Canton. Here, you’ll find BearWaters Brewing Company at 101 Park St. along the banks of the Pigeon Forge River. The only logical place to enjoy one of their brews is on the patio overlooking the river. Does the water just look too tempting? The brewery offers tubing and kayaking trips down the Pigeon Forge originating from their taproom. BearWaters’ beers are distinctly European in style, but their use of quality American ingredients shows.
If you love BearWaters, make sure to end your trip in Maggie Valley with a stop at their Creekside location at 4352 Soco Rd.
Blue Ridge Beer Hub, Waynesville
Ready to geek out on North Carolina’s beer scene? Head to Blue Ridge Beer Hub at 21 East St. in Waynesville. This craft beer shop sells hard-to-find North Carolina brews in addition to local wine, cider and mead. Owners Marlowe and Meagan will happily fill you in on the ins and outs of beer in the Tar Heel State. Make sure to pick up a six pack for the beer lover in your life back home.
Frog Level Brewing Company, Waynesville
Frog Level Brewing, Waynesville’s first brewery at 56 Commerce St., is a perfect stop for lunch in downtown. The charming brick building serves up both excellent beer and comfort food. From boiled peanuts to Nashville Hot Chicken, you’ll be left stumped trying to decide which is better – the beer or the food. Make sure to try a 7 Clans Brewing beer while you’re there as well. The owners of Frog Level also own 7 Clans, a brewery that celebrates Indigenous women and helps tell Cherokee legends.
Boojum Brewing Company Taproom, Waynesville
Your last stop in Waynesville is Boojum Brewing Company at 50 North Main St. Boojum’s bright, artistic cans might have caught your eye at Blue Ridge Beer Hub and now’s the time to taste the beer inside of them. Pair a seasonal brew with a burger, sandwich, wings or other delicious pub fare on the shaded patio. Be sure to check the calendar for live music to get a taste of the Smokies’ vibrant music scene.
Elevated Mountain Distilling Company, Maggie Valley
Ready for something a little different? Head to Elevated Mountain Distilling Company in Waynesville at 3732 Soco Rd. Run by third-generation Smoky Mountain whiskey makers (who are training the fourth generation) you can take a tour to see how the spirits are made and, of course, sample. This craft distillery specializes in top-shelf whiskey, moonshine and vodka made from mountain water. On a tour, you’ll learn about the farm to bottle process.
Learn more about Haywood County at visitncsmokies.com.