Author's note: Updated with a big hand from NCBeerGuys
Asheville gets all of the craft beer accolades and all of the credit for drawing bigger brewers such as Sierra Nevada and New Belgium to North Carolina, but there's a whole lot to be said for nearby Brevard. If you don't believe us, just ask Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis, who opened his company's first East Coast brewery there late last year."I've been traveling there and mountain biking for over 20 years and it's a place that I go to frequently because it's some of the most pristine mountain biking in the country ... my mom has even moved out to Brevard. She fell in love with it. It's just one of those places." Incredible mountain biking, long stretches for road biking, waterfalls all over the joint, live music and festivals and white squirrels all make strong arguments for a few days in Brevard, but what about the beer? Well, about that. The Oskar Blues Brewery Brevard is open, hosting tours and pouring pints, but until it expands into a brewpub, smokehouse, concert venue or arcade like Oskar Blues facilities in Colorado, there are still plenty of options in the area to keep beer lovers occupied. Brevard Brewing Company in downtown Brevard has been open for little more than a year and lets visitors shop Main Street and finish up with a Munich Dunkel, Bohemian Pilsner or Red Ale. Meanwhile, just up the road in Hendersonville, Southern Appalachian Brewery, hosts bands in the tap room, beers from local brewers on its taps, and its own citrusy Belgian Blonde and potently bitter (95 IBU) IPA in its kegs. If that's not enough, there's always Asheville. The city's lengthy brewery and pub crawl includes stops at at Highland Brewery's tasting room, Hi-Wire Brewing, Wedge Brewing, Oyster House Brewing, French Broad Brewing, Green Man Brewery, The Lexington Avenue Brewery, The Thirsty Monk, Altamont Brewing Co. and Asheville Brewing to keep beer lovers occupied. The city's only adding to that list, with Burial Beer Co. set to join the ranks soon. If you can extend your vacation a few days, the NCBeerGuys recommend taking Route 276 right out of Brevard and enjoying the winding road and incredible views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. While that trek sounds like its own reward, a stop in Waynesville at the end for visits to Frog Level Brewing, Tipping Point Tavern and Brewery and BearWaters Brewing is some nice incentive.