Posted on: January 16, 2024 Posted by: Sarah Giavedoni Comments: 0
the best breweries west of Asheville

Last Updated on January 16, 2024

Did you know that Western North Carolina has more than 90 craft breweries—along with dozens more cideries, wineries, and distilleries? And the vast majority of those are homegrown!

From its epicenter in Asheville to tiny enclaves around the region, craft brewing is a big draw for people from near and far. The number of local craft breweries is matched only by their quality, uniqueness, and seasonal ingredients.

No matter your tastes, WNC breweries are guaranteed to have something you enjoy. Are you ready to get out of Asheville and explore the beer scene in other towns? All you have to do is drive west! 

Here are nine breweries west of Asheville, NC you need to visit sometime soon.

1 brewery in Canton, NC

BearWaters Brewing Company

What happens when passion collides with creativity, a love for beer making, and the best ingredients? Award-winning beer! BearWaters Brewing serves artfully crafted brews in a vast variety of European and American styles and flavors. But they also place emphasis on quality, service, community, and sustainability. Relax outside by the river at their original location in downtown Canton, or enjoy one of their many events. BearWaters also runs locations in Waynesville’s Hazelwood Village neighborhood and in Maggie Valley.

101 Park Street, Canton | (828) 492-0220

1940 S Main Street, Waynesville | (828) 492-0220

4352 Soco Road, Maggie Valley | (828) 944-0009

3 breweries in Waynesville & Maggie Valley, NC

BearWaters Brewing Company

See above.

Boojum Brewing Company

Located in the middle of Main Street, Boojum Brewing takes its name from a local mountain legend. Their taproom offers the perfect relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy lunch, dinner, or drinks. Fill up on their delicious beer and pub grub, including tasty burgers, shareables, and daily specials. Downstairs, the Gem Bar features Boojum beer, wine, and a full liquor bar. It’s the perfect hangout space, with bar games including pool, darts, shuffleboard, and foosball.

50 N Main Street, Waynesville | (828) 246-0350 |

Frog Level Brewing

Waynesville’s first brewery serves some of the smoothest craft beer to touch your tongue! From light and refreshing to extra hoppy, stout, or sour, you can enjoy their selection in the tasting room or get it packaged to take home. If you are hungry, stay inside and take advantage of the food menu, featuring snacks, sweets, and full meals (like Nashville hot chicken). Or venture out onto the back deck overlooking the flowing creek. Frog Level is also the production facility and test kitchen for 7 Clans Brewing, a majority-female indigenous-owned company in Asheville.

56 Commerce Street, Waynesville | (828) 454-5664 |

READ MORE: Craft the perfect day enjoying breweries in Waynesville.

3 breweries in Sylva & Dillsboro, NC

Balsam Falls Brewing

Balsam Falls’ nano-brewing operation is rooted in community and sustainability. Discover classic styles and one-of-a-kind flavors, all brewed with care and commitment. The name of the brewery conjures the image of the mountains surrounding Sylva and the picturesque waterfalls that delight locals and visitors alike. The brewery is dedicated to protecting the natural resources of those mountains. Their process minimizes waste while maximizing efficiency and recycling. Much of their wastewater is recaptured for use in other brewery operations and the spent grain is used as livestock feed.

506 W Main Street, Sylva | (828) 631-1987 |

Innovation Brewing Company

Innovation Brewing Company is dedicated to changing the way you think about beer. They supply neighborhood patrons with plenty of traditional styles of ale and good ol’ standbys. But they are equally dedicated to crafting new and unique styles of beer. They enjoy experimenting with a variety of fun and fresh ingredients to stimulate the palate and the senses. Enjoy whitewater rafting, river tubing, and rock climbing within minutes of the taproom. Go a few more miles and you’ll find the Black Balsam Trail, one of the greatest hikes along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

414 W Main Street, Sylva | (828) 586-9678

40 Depot Street, Dillsboro | (828) 226-0262

732 Centennial Drive, Cullowhee | (828) 882-3035

Lazy Hiker Brewing Company

Need a break from the rigors of the trail? Lazy Hiker Brewing Company is your perfect excuse to take a break or stop for the day! Opened in 2015 in the former town hall and fire department, their original Franklin brewery includes a taproom, an outdoor patio, and an outdoor event space. The spot is also the proud home of the Hiker’s Kitchen food truck, offering a variety of delicious food to pair with your brews. In 2019, Lazy Hiker expanded and opened a taproom with Mad Batter Kitchen in beautiful downtown Sylva.

188 W Main Street, Franklin

617 W Main Street, Sylva

(828) 349-BEER | 

2 breweries in Bryson City, NC

Mountain Layers Brewing Company

After 30 years in public service, the owners of Mountain Layers Brewing Company are excited to share their award-winning beers with the community! Their brewery and taproom feature two bars: one on the main level built around the brewhouse and another upstairs where you can drink on the outdoor deck overlooking downtown. Whichever you choose, be sure to stop a minute at the brewery’s Honor and Remember Wall, a tribute to military veterans and first responders.

90 Everett Street, Bryson City | (828) 538-0115 | 

Nantahala Brewing Company

Since 2009, Nantahala Brewing has offered year-round flagships, seasonals, and pilot beers from their rustic taproom in downtown Bryson City. The space was built in the 1940s and served as a warehouse until the brewery moved in. Several segments of the Appalachian Trail run through the town, with the nearest access just 13.8 miles away. Stop by Nantahala after a hike for the App Trail Extra Pale Ale. Enjoy tours and tastings in their taproom, along with regular live music.

61 Depot Street, Bryson City | (828) 488-2337 |

2 breweries in Franklin, NC

Lazy Hiker Brewing Co.

See above.

Currahee Brewing Company

Currahee Brewing Company began operations in Alpharetta, GA in 2016. Today, their main production facility is in Franklin, NC—right off Main Street along the Little Tennessee River. The Franklin location includes a taproom, a bier garden overlooking the river, a kayak put-in and take out, outdoor music stage, and a food truck. The brewery takes its name from a Cherokee word that roughly translates to “Stand Alone” and is the official motto of the 506th Infantry Regiment. The name honors the Cherokee people who are deeply rooted in WNC, as well as the brave men and women in the military.

100 Lakeside Drive, Franklin | (828) 634-0078 | 

2 breweries in Highlands & Cashiers, NC

Satulah Mountain Brewing Company

When they opened in 2014, Satulah Mountain Brewing Co. became the first legal post-prohibition brewery in Macon County. Their premium craft beer is inspired by the wild places that surround the town of Highlands. Their taproom is family-friendly, and dogs are welcome on the patio. You won’t find food there, but you are welcome to bring in outside food and nonalcoholic beverages.

454 Carolina Way, Highlands | (828) 482-9794 | 

Whiteside Brewing Company

Enjoy mountain life in a glass at Whiteside Brewing Company! Master Brewer Dieter Kuhn (formerly of Heinzelmännchen Brewery) leads Whiteside’s production of quality, hearty, Bavarian-style ales. Visit them to try their year-round taps and rotating seasonal styles. Along with unique craft beers, Whiteside also offers a carefully curated food menu, designed to complement the beer selection. You’ll find the brewery adjacent to the popular Laurelwood Inn.

128 NC-107, Cashiers | (828) 743-6000 |

Map your trip to breweries west of Asheville, NC

From Asheville, head west along Highway 23 to begin your day visiting these breweries. Start your tour in the recently revitalized mill town of Canton at BearWaters Brewing. Continue along Highway 23 into Downtown Waynesville for stops at Boojum and Frog Level. Then, follow the highway southwest into Sylva to visit Innovation, and Balsam Falls Brewing. Make a detour even farther west to check out Mountain Layers and Nantahala Brewing. From Bryson City, venture south along Highway 64 to Franklin and Highlands. Highway 64 will take you back through Jackson County to Cashiers. Then, it’s an easy drive home through Hendersonville, at which point you can jump onto Interstate 26W.

Along this trail, you’ll travel through four mountain counties (plus two additional on the return) and a good bit of Nantahala National Forest. It’s a great route to see the beauty of Western North Carolina and try a few craft brews along the way.

Toast to great beer every day! Live near breweries in WNC.

At Allen Tate/Beverly-Hanks, we appreciate the revitalization that craft breweries have helped bring to many of our mountain towns. If you want to patronize local beer, cider, sake, and other breweries west of Asheville on a regular basis, why not live nearby? Find a home worth toasting to near one of the breweries mentioned in this post!

What’s your favorite mountain brewery west of Asheville? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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