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Celebrate North Carolina Beer Month in Jackson County

Fall is a special time of year in the NC Mountains. Along with the famous hues of autumn comes North Carolina Beer Month in October, which celebrates craft breweries across the state. Throughout Jackson County, there are over 120 locally crafted beverages on tap to satisfy the tastebuds of craft beer lovers, including some of the very best IPAs, sours, and seasonal autumn brews.

Jackson County’s Ale Trail is made up of seven breweries within our charming mountain towns of Cashiers, Cullowhee, Dillsboro, and Sylva. The Ale Trail’s main hub is downtown Sylva where you can enjoy four breweries within walking distance. In fact, Sylva’s new social district allows Ale Trail goers to carry beverages between breweries during social district hours. All our breweries are pet and family-friendly, and most also serve bites from delicious food trucks or restaurants on site, too.  Celebrate North Carolina Beer Month in Jackson County by visiting these locations.


Innovation Brewing Company

Innovation Brewing Company has been a staple of the Jackson County brewery scene since 2013. The brewery has since expanded to three locations in Sylva, Dillsboro, and Cullowhee, along with its own canning operation. Innovation’s motto is ‘Experimentation in Fermentation,’ with owners Chip & Nichole Owen being staples of the community that they serve. They’re dedicated to changing the way that you think about beer with their crafty creations.

Innovation Brewing is known for its full-flavor IPAs. Mainstays include Soulvation IPA, Hoppy Camper IPA, Spaceman Pale Ale, and the Black Balsam Porter. When autumn rolls around, seasonal flavors include the Belgian Pale Ale, Oktoberfest, Cold Brew Brown, and Chocolate Stout. Swing by any location to pick up a pint or buy a six-pack or growler to take home.


Balsam Falls Brewing Company

Located on Sylva’s Main Street, Balsam Falls is a great place to grab a cold craft beer and relax. In addition to celebrating NC Beer Month this October, Balsam Falls is also launching a limited beer release in honor of its fifth year in business. Owners Corey and Laurie Bryson wanted to become an integral part of the craft beer community in Sylva. “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. Balsam Falls has over a dozen house-made brews on tap and a full kitchen serving delicious bites such as flatbreads, stack burgers, and rotating specials.


Lazy Hiker Taproom Sylva

The Lazy Hiker Brewery originally out of Franklin, NC opened its second Taproom in Sylva in 2019. The Sylva location shares a large space with an iconic restaurant, Mad Batter Kitchen, between two levels of seating, a large screen & stage area, and a spacious outdoor area, complete with a fire pit, perfect for an autumn night. Order any of the delicious brews on tap, including mainstays such as the Trail Mate God or the Slack Pack IPA, and pair it with a locally sourced organic dish from Mad Batter – the perfect match!


Nantahala Brewing Company Sylva Outpost

Located in a scenic spot right off Scotts Creek, the Nantahala Brewing Company Sylva Outpost is a great Ale Trail location for those looking for more than a beer. With a full liquor bar, food menu, and event stage, the Sylva Outpost is a great stop along the Ale Trail. This location is known for its stage and a rotating calendar of live music and events, and a great selection of TVs for watching your favorite sporting events year-round.


Whiteside Brewing Company

In Cashiers, Whiteside Brewing serves as the plateau’s first brewery. Not only does this location boast delicious house-made craft beers and a full food menu, but it also has the best outdoor space of all the Ale Trail Locations. Enjoy over an acre of greenspace shared with the next-door Wells Hotel Cashiers and the Village Ramble Greenway, giving families with kids and/or pups great space to run around and enjoy the cool mountain air. Live music is always on tap, so make sure to stop in while visiting the Cashiers area.


Beer Month Getaway

October in the North Carolina mountains brings the crisp, clean, and cool fall air along with one of the longest leaf seasons in the county. Bring along your hiking boots and hit the trails at some of the Top Fall Hikes in the Smokies. Afterward, pair your brewery tour with eclectic shopping & award-winning dining in our towns. Map out your adventure with our Ale Trail Field Guide and visit your favorite (or new favorite) brewery. Check out our full list of hotels, boutique inns, vacation rentals, and more by downloading your FREE Visitor’s Guide here.

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