The Beer Lover’s Guide to Craft Breweries in Jackson County
Flowing in the Western North Carolina mountain towns of Jackson Co., NC are over 120 unique brews from the six breweries located on the popular Ale Trail. Each beer and brewery boast a new and refreshing feel making Jackson Co. the new go-to spot for beer lovers everywhere. Ranging from IPA’s, Sours, Lagers and more, each brewery features a different vibe and atmosphere perfect for every beer enthusiast. There’s even something for non-alcoholic fans, thanks to locally crafted sodas and beverages utilizing locally sourced ingredients. To start your journey, download the Ale Trail map and plan out your visit.
The Jackson County Ale Trail continues to grow and evolve every year thanks to new locations and offerings opening in the area. Now open in Sylva, the Nantahala Brewing Sylva Outpost showcases 40 taps in a family-friendly atmosphere. For those who prefer to try a variety of drinks, you’ll find a full-service bar along with customer favorites including the Dirty Girl Blond, Bryson City Brown Ale and Noon Day IPA. Pair your refreshment with a menu of tasty snacks, southern tacos and hand made burgers.
The newest member of the Ale Trail, The Lazy Hiker Taproom in Sylva, features a large selection of brews, including flagship mainstays such as Trail Mate Golden Ale and Slack Pack IPA. This new location shares a home with Mad Batter Food and Film, where visitors will find a collaborative menu full of the popular “Designer Pizzas,” tasty wraps, sandwiches and house specialties.
With the exception of The Lazy Hiker Taproom, all members of the Ale Trail are also pet-friendly! So, bring your four-legged friends along for the fun.
A Seasonal Approach
With fall quick on our heels, the members of the Jackson County Ale Trail are gearing up to celebrate the season with a variety of events and special flavors. Pumpkin, apple and caramel are just a few of the autumnal flavors that will soon make an appearance on brew menus. To get into the fall spirit, be sure to try Oktoberfest Beer at Whiteside Brewing or Apple Butter Brown Ale at Innovation Brewing.
Autumn is a time brimming with fun activities the whole family can enjoy. Events range from trivia nights to live music to Oktoberfest-themed evenings. Stay in the loop by following the breweries’ websites and social media profiles for the most up-to-date schedule.
Need a map?
This month we debuted our Ale Trail’s brand-new map: a field guide to all the stops and our top 10 brews on tap. Use it as your guide to exploring the best craft brews in the North Carolina Mountains. Stop by our Visitor Centers or any of the breweries to pickup your guide to start exploring!
Create the Perfect Pairing
Of course, there’s much more to see and do in Jackson County beyond the Ale Trail. Explore the great outdoors by bike or on foot on the many miles of trails or cast a line while fishing in one of the many lakes or rivers on the Western North Carolina Fly-Fishing Trail.
Jackson County is also home to one-of-a-kind shopping options with local boutiques, art galleries and other independent, non-chain stores. In fact, you can check out many of these local gems while strolling the streets between the breweries.
If your appetite demands to be satisfied, some breweries offer a full food menu, while others allow you to bring in your own food. Innovation Station in Dillsboro allows guests to order food for delivery from neighboring farm-to-table Foragers, or some of the best local NC BBQ from Haywood Smokehouse, which was rated one of Yelp’s “Top 100 places to eat in the U.S. in 2019.”
Don’t forget to satisfy your sweet tooth! Enjoy a chocolate and beer pairing with Innovation Brewing at either Baxley’s Chocolates in Sylva or Dillsboro Chocolate Factory.
With colder weather beginning to make an appearance, now is the perfect time to plan a fall trip to Jackson County. Whether you follow the Ale Trail, hike to a waterfall or stroll the downtown streets, you’ll find plenty of enjoyable excursions to celebrate the season. Plus, the area is ripe with comfortable accommodations to suit your taste and your budget. To help you plan your fall getaway, order a free Visitor Guide today.
Feature photo of Whiteside Brewing courtesy Chelsea Cronkrite