The popularity of locally brewed craft beer in western North Carolina rivals only the spectacular beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and Brevard offers plenty of both.
With three craft breweries in town and four new taprooms now open, there’s no shortage of fun places to grab a cold one and celebrate the diversity of craft brewing. Even the grocery stores are stocked with the local brews.
Mix in a charming mountain town, plenty of live music everywhere you turn and a bike-friendly culture for a match made in heaven. “All About Beer” magazine noticed the heavenly combo, recently naming Brevard one of the “Best Bike and Beer Towns.”
We couldn’t agree more!
1 | Brevard Brewing Company
The first, small-scale craft brewer to open in Transylvania County, Brevard Brewing snagged a prime spot downtown on Main Street to open its brewery and tap room in late April 2012. It’s the only craft brewery in Western North Carolina to specialize in lagers.
Brevard Brewing offers a collection of its own beer, some of them seasonal, as well as several popular guest beers from local and other breweries. BBC beers may include: American Premium Lager, Bohemian Pilsner, American IPA, Munich Dunkel, American Red Ale, German Hefeweizen, American Wheat, Coriander Ale, Octoberfest Lager, Smoked Porter, Oatmeal Stout, ESP, German Bock Lager and Single Hop Pale Ale.
Owner and brewmaster Kyle Williams said his goal is to give beer drinkers the best of both worlds — beer that is drinkable and flavorful.
“Lagers are cold-fermented and aged over twice as long as ales. They are more costly to produce, and take more patience to brew,” Williams said. “Unlike the big flavors of ales that hide imperfections, lagers demand a higher standard of quality and care, making them a rare find in the craft beer world. But the result is worth the attention to detail–this painstaking process creates a beer that is clean, smooth, and crisp as opposed to the bold, complex flavor of ales.”
The tap room is relaxed and friendly with local art for purchase on the walls and lots of room for friends to meet, especially during Brevard’ s many downtown festivals. Brevard Brewing offers live music, often during weekends, and graciously allows customers to bring in carryout food from the many restaurants in downtown Brevard.
2 | Oskar Blues Brewery
Oskar Blues Brewery brewed its first batch in Brevard on 12/12/12. The company’s choice of Brevard over Asheville, where several major craft brewers set up shop about the same time, drew attention to Brevard just as the mountain biking world realized Brevard was a hidden gem, effectively putting Brevard on both the national beer and biking maps simultaneously.
Founder Dale Katechis, an avid mountain biker who biked in Brevard for years — and reportedly kept a bike here — chose Brevard in part because it resembled Longmont, Colorado, where he started his first brewery.
Oskar Blues helped cement Brevard’s status as a premier biking destination when it purchased the former Shoal Farms Farm adjacent to Dupont State Recreational Forest, and turned it into the Reeb Ranch East, the mountain-biking equivalent of a resort and event venue.
A picturesque farm with rolling fields and a twin waterfall hidden back in the woods, the historic farm features barns designed and built by World War II prisoners of war and a cozy log cabin with a view of the waterfalls. The Reeb Ranch hosted Oskar Blues’ Burning Can Festival July 15-16, 2016.
Beers include: Dale’s Pale Ale, Pinner Throwback IPA, Oskar Blues IPA, Momma’s Little Yella Pils, Old Chub, Priscilla, Beerito, G’Knight, Deviant Dale’s, Passon Fruit Pinner, Hotbox Coffee Porter, Death by Coconut, Gubna, Fugli, Ten Fidy and Barrel Aged Ten Fidy. The Brevard brewery produced 90,000 barrels in 2015 and a nearly completed expansion will bring the brewery’s North Carolina brewing capacity to 200,000 barrels for shipment throughout the Eastern United States and Canada.
Located in an industrial park near the edge of town, the city made Oskar Blues easier to find when it connected a segment of its city-wide trail system to the brewery in late 2015. The brewery now hosts several major bike events including the Fletcher Flyer, the White Squirrel Cycling Classic and the Looking Glass Tour.
An active community supporter, Oskar Blues hosts a regular Tuesday through Sunday schedule of group rides, runs and paddles, plus live music by local old-time, bluegrass, rock, indie, jazz and Americana musicians at its Tasty Weasel Taproom, as well as a New Year’s Eve celebration and other parties. The OB Chubwagon food truck is a regular site at festivals and the Saturday Transylvania Farmer’s Market.
3 | Ecusta Brewing Company on Main
The newest craft brewery on the Brevard scene is the Ecusta Brewing Company, which opened two locations in Transylvania County in 2016. The first location and pilot brewery, Ecusta Brewing Company on Main, opened downtown in the DFR Room, a new entertainment and performance venue under Jaime’s Creole and Brassiere at 36 E. Main Street.
An on-the-job injury convinced Greenville, South Carolina, paramedic and long-time home brewer Josh Chambers to turn his hobby into a business. Chambers originally envisioned a seven-barrel system at the entrance to Pisgah Forest, but said he ran into a “sweet deal” to offer a small brewery downtown and grabbed it.
The downtown taproom serves a selection of local craft beers, and focuses on specialty and seasonal beers. It’s an intimate place to sample a flight when in downtown Brevard.
4 | Ecusta Brewing Company
The second location and larger production brewery is is located 49 Pisgah Highway at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest, anchoring the corner opposite from Davidson River Outfitters and across the street from the expanded location of The Hub and Pisgah Tavern.
5 | Forks of the River Taproom
Open in summer 2016, ‘Forks of the River’ is a local name for the birthplace of the French Broad River not far away, where the headwaters of the French Broad spill from a 50-foot waterfall in Transylvania County.
Known as Court House Falls, the waterfall rushes into a creek that feeds the North Fork, which joins the West Fork near Rosman and eventually the Middle and East forks to form the French Broad.
In honor of these pristine mountain waters, Forks of the River Taproom dedicates five taps to the breweries within the watershed — Brevard Brewing Company, Oskar Blues Brewery, New Belgium Brewery (Asheville) and Highland Brewing Company (Asheville.)
Tucked inside Headwaters Outfitters at the intersection of 64 West and 215 as you head up into Pisgah National Forest, Forks of the River is the perfect quick stop before you head off on an adventure in the forest.
6 | Pisgah Tavern
While the Pisgah Tavern has been at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest since at least the 1940s, the Hub took it to a new level when relocated its bar-in-a-bike shop across the road into a larger facility and expanded the bar, adding an outdoor seating area.
Besides a wide variety of popular canned and local craft beers in cans, Pisgah Tavern offers a rotating selection of eight beers on tap.
Many people are now making it their first stop after a day in the forest.
7 | Cedar Mountain Canteen Bier Garden
Not far from the trails in DuPont Recreational Forest, the Canteen is the bright, family friendly enterprise of Peyre and Aleshka Cleveland. Since opening in August 2015 , the biergarten has quickly made a name for itself as a place for the entire family to hang out, with snacks, ice cream sandwiches and soda for the kids, a lazy creek in the back and a wide selection of beer on tap.
It serves a rotating selection of beers on tap and specialty brews in cans.
You can find the Canteen at the intersection of Greenville Highway and Cascade Lake Road, behind the Cedar Mountain fire station.