The boom in craft beer production has led to a proliferation of brewery trails crisscrossing the South. So much so that well-traveled zythophiles (that’s a fancy word for beer lover) might crave a route that offers more than just a brochure and tasting flights. For those thirsty pilgrims, a few Southern brewery experiences are adding offbeat wrinkles.
EBike Brewery Crawl, Asheville, North Carolina
Battery-assisted bicycles are all the rage, so it was only a matter of time before someone had the genius idea to deploy them for visiting craft breweries. Asheville Adventure Company’s eBike Brewery Crawl provides a beach cruiser–style Giant Vida ebike, a helmet, and orientation for any novices. Then a local guide leads you on a leisurely, approximately ten-mile spin through the artsy mountain town’s eclectic neighborhoods, pointing out graffiti murals and points of historical interest between wet-your-whistle stops at a quartet of Asheville’s favorite breweries. Always on the four-hour afternoon tour are Wedge Brewing Company in the River Arts District and speakeasy-ish One World Brewing, tucked three flights below the heart of downtown.
Music City Brew Hop, Nashville
Nashville’s boomtown status boasts plenty of lively craft breweries, not all of them situated in the downtown tourism nexus of Lower Broadway. Enter Music City Brew Hop, which allows beer fans to travel an option of two distinct loops that link breweries and neighborhoods aboard a trolley-style bus outfitted with large, arched windows for guided sightseeing. True to the concept, riders can hop off at any of seven breweries per loop, then hail the next trolley when it rolls by about an hour later—and repeat as desired. Sip a peach cobbler sour ale on the patio at Southern Grist Brewing Company in East Nashville and an imperial stout with salted caramel and coffee notes at Bearded Iris Brewing on the Nashville Greenway in Germantown. After all, you’re not driving.
Pitt County Brew & ’Cue Trail, North Carolina
A road trip in and around Greenville, North Carolina, lands you at lauded craft breweries that don’t serve food and legendary barbecue joints that don’t serve beer. Hmmm, what to do? The savvy folks in local tourism engineered the perfect fix, a trail along which some participating breweries allow customers to BYOBBQ. Want pairings? You can’t beat a vinegary, whole-hog sandwich from Skylight Inn, washed down with barleywine ale at Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery. But if you want to try, go for a second round of a hearty bowl of Brunswick stew from Parker’s Barbecue with an easy-drinking Helles lager at Local Oak Brewing Company. Collect enough stamps in the provided “PassPork” and get your photo on the Brew & ’Cue Wall of Fame. In that photo, you’ll likely be smiling contentedly.