From Maine to Washington, craft beer is all the rage. I’m lucky that Portland, Maine, has some of the best breweries in the world, but Maine isn’t the only state with awesome beers. North Carolina is the hub for craft breweries in the South. With over 132 craft breweries across the Tar Heel State, North Carolina is the perfect state to discover the best beer on tap on the North Carolina Beer Trail.
Image via Flickr by James Willamor
Craft breweries and brewpubs are popping up everywhere in North Carolina’s largest city. Throughout the year, Charlotte hosts many beer festivals, but the one I would love to visit is the Charlotte Oktoberfest. It’s organized by the Carolina BrewMasters and is a charity-focused event that features 100 breweries and more than 350 kinds of craft brews.
Since I’m a major lightweight when it comes to drinking, I would need a centrally located hotel near the venue. Drinking and driving is bad! Thankfully there are plenty of uptown Charlotte hotel options where I can rest after overindulging in some tasty brews.
Uptown Charlotte is also home to Avenge Brewing Company and Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery. Rock Bottom is the local lovechild of head brewer Robb Macleod, who is behind Bayhawk Ales and Alcatraz Brewing Company in California. Their Uptown Amber and Charlotte Gold sound heavenly!
Image via Flickr by *Ken Lane*
Asheville is high on my bucket list to visit when I return to the U.S. later this summer. The city is surrounded by stunning mountains, a thriving arts scene, and delicious food and drink. What more could you ask for in a city? Asheville is home to more breweries per capita than any other U.S. city. With more than 100 options, it’s hard to figure out where to start.
From dark stouts to hoppy IPAs to Belgian-style beers, Asheville has it all. Asheville Brewing Company has the largest patio and delicious pizza in the heart of downtown Asheville. Burial Beer Co. produces local favorites like Skilled Donut Stout, Bolo Coconut Brown Ale, and many other creatively named beers. The Sunday Jazz Brunch also sounds incredible!
You can’t go to Asheville without taking a peek at the beautiful Biltmore Estate. America’s largest home was built on 8,000 acres in the Blue Mountains not far from the city of Asheville. Cedric’s Tavern, overlooking the village green at Antler Hill Village, is named after George Vanderbilt’s beloved St. Bernard. The pub is quaint with decor that makes you think you’re in a small country pub in the heart of the Irish countryside. Cedric’s Pale Ale and Cedric’s Brown Ale are on tap for thirsty customers.
If there’s one lesson I have learned from years of traveling, it’s to ask the locals for their advice. With over 100 breweries to choose from, I’d have to ask the locals what their personal favorites are to finalize my last choice. Of course, I couldn’t go wrong with Belgian-style ale from New Belgium Brewery.
North Carolina is the king of craft brews in the South. As someone who loves a good craft brew, I can’t wait to visit the Tar Heel State in the future.
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