Spend an afternoon sampling local beers and exploring some fun Blue Ridge Mountain small towns west of Asheville. Find more than a 100 different brews on tap at six breweries in Sylva, Dillsboro and Cashiers - all in scenic Jackson County. Whether you enjoy a smooth golden ale, a refreshing IPA or a dark porter, we suggest trying a flight since there are so many choices. In addition, find many local restaurants, shops, hikes, waterfalls and attractions along the way.
Pick up their Ale Trail Map at any of the breweries or at their Visitor Centers in each town. Or download the Jackson County Ale Trail Map on their website.
Jackson County Ale Trail Breweries
Dillsboro (See tour Dillsboro Town Guide)
Innovation Station (40 Depot St, Dillsboro): Located in a former railroad depot with views toward the Great Smoky Mountains, they have 32 taps including great sours. They are kid and pet-friendly, open seven days a week, and have plenty of outdoor seating. (photo at top of page)
Sylva (See our Sylva Town Guide)
Nantahala Brewing Company Sylva Outpost (5 Grindstaff Cove Rd, Sylva): With 40 taps, their taproom also serves wine, hard cider and cocktails. Their restaurant serves handcrafted burgers, upscale bar bites, salads, wings and southern tacos - complete with the outdoor patio by the river. (photo above)
Innovation Brewing (414 W Main St, Sylva): Find 32 brews on tap, a homemade ginger ale and several ciders at this seven-barrel brew house. Try traditional ales as well as several IPAs and seasonal experimental beers. Pair your beer with a woodfired pizza or burger.
Balsam Falls Brewing Co (506 W Main St, Sylva): With more than a dozen beers, find a rotating selection of IPAs, pale ales and sours, along with six staple beers - utilizing fruits, herbs and vegetables in their brewing process.
Lazy Hiker Taproom (617 W Main St, Sylva): The wide variety of brews include their flagship mainstays such as Trail Mate Golden Ale and Slack Pack IPA. Get pizza, sandwiches and burgers at Mad Batter Food and Film in the same building
Cashiers (See our Cashiers Town Guide)
Whiteside Brewing Co (128 NC-107, Cashiers, NC): With six main-stay brews year-round with a seventh seasonal, they have plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Restaurant menu includes wings, soup, salads, sandwiches, burgers and more.
Most of these breweries have live music and many special events. See our Jackson County Guide for many things to do. Go to the Jackson County Ale Trail website for more details.
Photo credits: Very top photo by Courtesy Birch Production Co. and Whiteside Brewing by Chelsea Cronkrite