Whether you enjoy sipping a smooth golden ale, a refreshing and hoppy IPA or a dark and robust porter, Jackson County’s breweries have you covered.
North Carolina boasts more craft breweries and brewpubs than any other state in the southeast and Jackson County shares the state’s commitment to providing quality local brews.
Head down to Sylva’s Historic Main Street to experience over 100 different brews on tap and the flavors of Sylva’s thriving brewery scene. Along the way, there are great restaurants to grab a bite, antique shops and more.
Click here to see a map of the Ale Trail!
Each craft brewery offers flights (samplings of many beers), pints, growlers and either have food on-site or allow you to bring your own.
The brewery now has 32 brews on tap, a homemade ginger ale and three ciders. A seven-barrel brew house, Innovation has a handful of mainstay traditional ales as well as several IPAs and a number of seasonal and experimental beers for you to try on your brewery tour. “We like to push the envelope by creating fun and unique beer styles using non-traditional beer ingredients such as beets, cilantro, basil and cucumbers to name a few,” said Nicole Dexter, who owns the brewery with her husband Chip. In addition to brews, there are plenty of food choices on site. Brewery patrons can choose from a woodfired pizza kitchen and also the famed Cosmic Carryout Food truck, renowned for their burgers. The brewery is pet and family-friendly. If you’re into sours, check out Innovation’s Dillsboro location which has many added to their lineup in addition to their mainstay brews.
Balsam Falls Brewing Co.
Balsam Falls Brewing features over a dozen beers on tap including a rotating selection of IPAs, pale ales and sours, along with six staple beers regularly on tap. Balsam Falls also has a full kitchen serving up Cali-Mex cuisine. Husband and wife partners in the brewery, Corey and Laurie Bryson, utilize fruits, herbs and even vegetables in their brewing treatments. “Our goal is to have something different on tap every time visitors come in, and we will focus on seasonal pints based on local ingredients,” says Corey. His family grows blueberry bushes, apple trees, cherry trees and grapevines, and those flavors are instilled into the beer. The Brysons even grow several of their own hops that are used in their brews.
Lazy Hiker Taproom – Sylva
The Lazy Hiker Brewing Company is bringing its love of community, the mountains, and beer to Sylva with its latest taproom addition. This taproom offers a wide variety of brews including their flagship mainstays such as Trail Mate Golden Ale and Slack Pack IPA. This new location shares a space with Mad Batter Food and Film where the two businesses collaborate offering excellent brews and food. Indoor and outdoor patio seating and pet friendly.
Nantahala Brewing Company Sylva Outpost
Nantahala Brewing Company Sylva Outpost serves award winning beers, a full food menu featuring burgers, wings and more, alongside fun for the whole family. Hosting 40 taps, Nantahala will also offer a cocktail list along with a patio space overlooking the river and a large dining/bar area. This Outpost complements their original location down the road in Bryson City. Nantahala Brewing Company prides itself on creating high-quality and delicious brews using the finest ingredients that the region has to offer.
Dillsboro is home to Innovation’s second location, Innovation Station, located in a former railroad depot. With 32 taps, they have a number of mainstays from their Sylva location and have an expanded sour program which allows them to offer more sours at both locations. The brewing house, located in a former train depot, serves as a beer aging and pilot batch facility. The brewery is kid and pet-friendly, open seven days a week, and has both covered and open outdoor seating.
Whiteside Brewing Co.
The Cashiers plateau is home to Whiteside Brewing Co. Whiteside offers six main-stay brews year-round with the seventh changing seasonally. The brewery is conveniently located near the Crossroads and has ample indoor and outdoor seating for gatherings. After a hike, enjoy their restaurant menu of wings, soup, salads, sandwiches, burgers and more. Brewmaster Stephen Streeter crafts amazing brews that are truly “mountain life in a glass.”
Cashiers is also home to Sapphire Mountain Brewing Company’s taproom.
A tip to enjoy Jackson County’s Brews: List and rank the beers by appearance, aroma, and taste, during your brewery tour, and try a beer that appeals to those senses.
Two different types of trivia: regular trivia and “Feud time” (which is survey based): Sunday nights
Paint and pour: once a month (they said to check the Facebook page for exact dates)
Live music: Fridays
Mon. night: trivia
Tues. night: Innovation picks one beer to be $3 for the night
Wed. night: Open mic night at 8pm
Thurs. night: local band for jazz night
Mon. night: $3 pint night
Tues. night: live band karaoke
Wed. night: trivia
Sat: Live music
Brush and brew event on first Tuesday of every month
Yoga “Bend & Brews” once a month every 3rd Sunday at 3 p.m. through September
Live music: Every Friday and Saturday