If there’s one thing Western North Carolina is known for, it’s our local-made spirits and ales. From moonshine and whiskey to IPAs and seasonal brews, when you’re around these parts, you’re sure to find a drink option to warm your belly. Whether it’s been a long day of winter sports or you want to kick back after working remotely, these local libations have you covered.
For What Ales You
Beer aficionados: check out BearWaters Brewing Company, where they are combining classic English brewing traditions with American innovation. Try a Heavy Cream Stout to fortify you on those cold, wintery days or a Barrel Aged Saison that has been elegantly crafted and aged in Merlot barrels from the Biltmore Estate. Can’t decide? Try a flight and get a variety of samples to taste.
Bring the pup with you to this dog-friendly spot and delight in their unique brews including the sweet and sour Brambleberry Gose and the Balsam Brown Ale. Warm-up with a bite from the Taproom, like The Brueben, a take on the classic Rueben made with bacon-infused sauerkraut. Tired from a day on the slopes? Boojum has online ordering so you can make a quick pick up and head back to your accommodations for a cozy night in.
With a back deck that faces a rolling creek, you can take in the crisp winter air while sipping a Salamander Slam IPA. Try one of their rotating guest taps too, like the Gingers Revenge: Fall Harvest featuring cinnamon basil, anise hyssop, and dried pumpkin. If you find yourself needing a nibble, Frog Level has a full menu complete with one-and-only offerings like local Trout Burgers and BBQ Mac and Cheese.
At this unique little winery, owner Chris blends grapes from around the world with mountain spring water. Stop in for a tasting flight and pick up a limited-edition Winter’s Warmth Red, perfect for sipping by the fireplace or with a special dinner. Prefer a white? Try Chilly’s Crush, a blend of white cranberry and refreshing Pinot Gris.
The secret is out! Bosu’s Wine Shop has a large selection of wines both in-store and available as flights to try and savor. Split a Pear and Brie Bruschetta or ask co-owners Stephanie Strickland and Genevieve Bagley for a wine recommendation like a glass of Dr. Loosen Riesling.
Housed in an underground cellar like a modern-day speakeasy, The Classic Wineseller is another exceptional retail wine and cigar shop. They keep a few bottles in stock—12,000 to be exact—but not much here can beat sharing a charcuterie board while sipping on a Cabernet Sauvignon and taking in the live music.
Now that’s the spirit
Take a tour of this wonderful distillery where they are crafting small-batch moonshines, premium vodka, and whiskey. This 11,000 square foot facility houses huge custom stills where master distiller Dave Angel creates his signature spirits. Book a tasting by email or phone and pick up a variety of bottles to bring home with you. Don’t miss the Raymond Fairchild Root Beer White Lightning Moonshine, inspired by late legendary local bluegrass musician, Raymond Fairchild.
Find all these spirits and more in Haywood Country, right in the heart of the NC Smokies.