Rumbling Bald on Lake Lure is considered by many to be the central hub for fun excursions in the Western NC area. With all that you can do at Rumbling Bald, the potential for fun around the area is truly limitless when you start here. One such attraction is the bountiful supply of breweries and craft microbreweries. Each of these breweries offers a unique experience in style, vibe, and of course, taste. Asheville alone hosts 26 breweries, but this number seems small to the 60 total included in the Western NC region. You’ll fall in love with the stories, the character, the views, and the charm of each local brewery.
Since it’s impossible to hit all these great choices at once, let us take you on a weekend brewery tour through some of our favorites stops around the area:
- Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery – Chimney Rock, NC
Heading towards Asheville, our first stop after leaving the Rumbling Bald gate will be Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery. Located on the banks of the Broad River, this village brewery brings a unique style to the small NC town. Although lacking in size, this quaint brewery specializes in English cask style ales that amplifies the body and smooth taste of each brew. This English style beer fuses well alongside seasonal keg ales with unique hops unseen anywhere else, such as the Devil’s Head Red Ale or the Hickory Nut Brown. If you are already in need of some nourishment, sample some bar food or classic English pub food like their fish & chips. This lively brewery connects you with the outdoors as well with seating on four separate decks that lead to the river’s edge. Enjoy both the river and a brew on the decks of this Chimney Rock gem.
- Whistle Hop Brewing Company – Fairview, NC
Keep heading straight for Asheville and along the way in Fairview you’ll find our next stop: Whistle Hop Brewing Company. There’s no way to miss this converted train-car brewery and its fun space. This three-acre property is complete with a slide, playground, full disk golf course, mini-golf, and other popular yard games. This is the perfect spot especially if you’re bringing along some youngsters. Adults and kids alike can get involved with this fun brewery atmosphere. These eclectic brews vary in influence and taste – from the fall favorite Molasses Pumpkin Marzen to the zesty Orange Blossom Ginger Tripel. Order your brew up at the train-car and choose a spot on the open-air patio or venture out to one of the picnic days spread along the lawn. Whistle Hop serves up brews as well as outdoor fun at their brewery.
- Highland Brewing Company – Asheville, NC
Our next stop includes our first taste of the Asheville breweries: Highland Brewing Company. The first legal brewery in Asheville since prohibition, this tucked away beauty is considered the largest NC native brewer and only distributes in the Southeast – making it a local icon. With the aura of a small bier-garden, Highland serves their year-round brews along with small batch seasonals. Enjoy the seasonal Clawhammer Oktoberfest or the year-round Pilsner inside the taproom or out on the meadow. The brewery hosts rotating local food trucks that will add even more authenticity to this Asheville experience. Enjoy one of the first great North Carolina breweries.
- Green Man Brewery – Asheville, NC
From East Asheville, our next brewery stop takes us into the heart of the Asheville brewery scene with Green Man Brewery. Take a step back in history at the original tasting room Dirty Jack’s or venture down a little further to enjoy the large Green Mansion tasting room. Everything from creation, distribution, and tasting are all included on this block for Green Man. This iconic brewery is known for its daring flavors and dynamic hops such as The Rainmaker – a double IPA, which includes four different hops. Green Man experiments with craft trends while also maintaining a firm hold on their traditional English beer style. As the oldest brewery and taproom in Downtown Asheville, not only is Green Man a landmark, it’s a lifestyle.
- New Belgium Brewing – Asheville, NC
If you manage not to deviate and explore one of the other popular nearby breweries such as Wicked Weed or Asheville Brewing, our next stop sits directly on the grand French Broad River: New Belgium Brewing. Immediately upon arrival, the large distribution center looms overhead with all its industrial might. Directly beside is the large dominating tasting room which opens to the river. The deck and spacious lawn filled with picnic tables offer a fantastic way to experience your brew outdoors as well or explore one of the intersecting trails and bridges on the property. Here is another chance to experience one of the local rotating food trucks that call Asheville home. As their name would suggest, New Belgium is home to many lighter lagers and smooth brews, but they also experiment with a lot of fun hops in their IPA’s with their Voodoo Ranger series. Whether you select the Belgian-style classic amber ale Fat Tire or a more adventurous IPA such as the Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin, this impressive brewery becomes a staple.
- Pisgah Brewing Company – Black Mountain, NC
After a successful dinner, either from the food truck or one of the many nearby Asheville local favorites, our final stop for the evening on the way back to Rumbling Bald will take us to Pisgah Brewing Company. Located in beautiful Black Mountain, often called the mini-Asheville, this brewery produces some of the most sought-after craft ales in the region. Pisgah is constantly entertaining with music and fun events as well as brews, at both their indoor taproom and outdoor stage. Not only experience fun and games but bring a lawn chair or blanket to catch a performance. While currently limited to drive by pickup only due to the pandemic, brews such as the Blueberry Wheat and the Pale Ale still offer a crisp refreshing experience for the drinker. Finish off the day with the local favorite on your way back to the lake.
- Mills River Brewing – Mills River, NC
After a morning of relaxation at Rumbling Bald, day two begins with an exploration of towns and breweries Southwest of Asheville, with our initial stop at Mills River Brewing. One of the newer breweries on the NC scene (only five years old), this brewery focuses on the hops and flavors of each brew. With a large local following, Mills River Brewing has grown quickly with favorites such as the Big Creek Amber Ale, a seasonal beer now a stable due to popular demand, and the Mullinax Dry Irish Stout, the first beer developed by the brewery. And beer isn’t the only thing here to entertain you, live music is a continuous presence at this brewery – from Americana to Bluegrass to Folk. While you’re there, be sure to hit the trifecta by ordering from Juju’s Craft Cookery, the in-house kitchen and full restaurant at the brewery. Grab a Big Park Burger or a Briar Bottom Grilled Cheese to pair with your brew and some tunes.
- Triskelion Brewing Company – Hendersonville, NC
Our next stop takes us to the Historic District of Hendersonville with the Triskelion Brewing Company. This new-age brewery takes its influence from the west coast with a constantly rotating repertoire of brews and flavors on tap. Whether wild flavors or seasonal favorites, there is always something new to experience at Triskelion. One such fan favorite is the Black Wallace IPA, a blend of dark chocolate, zesty orange hops, and dark roast nuttiness. This sleek modern brewery is bringing both indoor and outdoor brewing spaces to their location along with live music and killer musicians. Triskelion is infusing the craft brew scene back into Hendersonville.
- Oklawaha Brewing Company – Hendersonville, NC
Just a hop, a skip, and a jump away is our next brewery stop in Hendersonville: Oklawaha Brewing Company. This industrial-hip brewery is vibrant in both its choice of hops along with its love of the arts. Decorated with local art and full of live music six days a week, this place is full of fun energy. With constantly rotating taps, you’ll want to try almost everything at this brewery before they are gone. One of their few flagship brews, the Hop Pig IPA, is a citrus explosion combining flavors of tangerine, grapefruit and pine. Or try the Blackberry Coconut Tart, a dark stout aged with local blackberries and toasted dry coconut. Welcome to pets and kids alike, this brewery brings together all ages for a fun community atmosphere that is hard to replicate.
- Iron Key Brewing Company – Columbus, NC
Our final stop in this weekend brewery experience is at the hottest new brewery spot, with its grand opening just this past August (2020!): Iron Key Brewing Company. Brought to life by three old friends and their love of the perfect brew, this brewery is a repurposed state prison christened Iron Key, due to the original key still required to unlock the doors. All the original craft beers at the brewery have penitentiary themed names such as The Big House IPA and the Lock-Up Lager. With beers as light as a Kolsch or as dark as a Stout, Iron Key offers an array of solid brews and smooth finishes. Alongside its devastatingly amazing beer, the brewery also boasts a full-time restaurant with menu items such as The Wardens Double Burger and Beer Braised Bratwurst, and bar food favorites such as House-Made Pretzels and Beer-Battered Fried Pickles. Consider grabbing dinner here as well before heading home.
The perfect brewery tour starts and ends with Rumbling Bald on Lake Lure. As the central hub, Rumbling Bald is surrounded by local and regional delights. Local brews can even be found on tap at Legends on the Lake restaurant. With so many exclusive offerings along with beautiful location and views, Rumbling Bald is your destination for the fall season. Come stay with us and unlock Western NC. Choose from a variety of Lake Lure Vacation Rentals that range from a condo for two or a twelve-person mountain home. Not only the central hub for local excursions, Rumbling Bald offers our guests quality dining, two professional golf courses, spa and salon, lake activities, private beach access, and much more. Rumbling Bald is the perfect fall destination for seasonal activities and beyond.
*Rumbling Bald on Lake Lure does not advocate or encourage the abuse of alcoholic beverages. If you are planning to participate in an alcoholic beverage tour, be sure to have a designated driver or hire a taxi service. The consumption of alcohol is for adults 21 years of age or older in the United States. Please drink responsibly and with moderation.*
GOVERNMENT WARNING: (1) According to the Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, and may cause health problems.