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Brews & Views

Seven Great Mountain Breweries With Spectacular Scenery

Enjoying a beer on the patio at Devils Backbone in Virginia. Photo courtesy of Devils Backbone Brewing Company

WITH THE SEASONS CHANGING AND FALL FOLIAGE kicking into high gear, it’s the perfect time to enjoy a craft brew on an outdoor terrace with some killer mountain views. Throw in a firepit and some nearby outdoor adventure and you have a recipe for a perfect day. Below you’ll find seven of our favorite spots for combining nature, pints, and Blue Ridge eye-candy.

Mountain State Brewing

Morgantown, West Virginia

Mountain State is located in Morgantown’s Wharf and Warehouse Historic District overlooking the Monongahela River. Sip brews and sample pub fare — including wood-fired gourmet flatbreads — while watching the current flow from a covered rear patio area with ambience to spare. With cooler weather on the way, we like the Miner’s Daughter Oatmeal Stout. It’s coal black and creamy smooth with a light tan head, hints of roasted chocolate, and a surprisingly light body that won’t fill you up.

While you’re there

Hike or bike the Deckers Creek Trail. The 19-mile converted railway begins near neighboring Reedsville, is mostly flat, and follows the creek through beautiful oak, hickory, and hemlock forests to its confluence with the Monongahela River about a block from the brewery. Access points are found throughout, and can help you shorten the adventure to taste.

Dirt Farm Brewing

Bluemont, Virginia

Enjoy expansive views of Loudoun Valley vineyards, farmland, and countryside from a roughly 1,000-foot outdoor stone terrace carved into the Blue Ridge mountainside. Better still are the brews: Dirt Farm’s locally sourced, plow-to-pint philosophy yields some of the best craft beer in Virginia. Expect five standard brews and a rotating menu of six or seven seasonals on tap. We’re loving the Pumpkin Ale, which is brewed with roasted neck pumpkins and yams grown onsite.

While you’re there

The Appalachian Trail passes through Bluemont about four miles from the brewery. The out-and-back hike to Raven Rocks is super convenient and offers 5.8 miles of famed steep climbs and descents known as the “Rollercoaster” before opening onto a 1,500-foot overlook with panoramic views.

Devils Backbone Basecamp & Meadows

Roseland, Virginia

Nestled just six miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway in a Rockfish Valley meadow surrounded by streams, mountains, and forest, Devils Backbone is a nature and beer lover’s paradise. The brewery’s expansive property features a variety of fun outdoor seating spaces with incredible panoramic views. Menus combine six staples on tap and about a dozen rotating seasonals with a full-service grill and standard pub fare. We like Heavenly Trip, a super hazy juicy IPA with a lovely straw-colored body that’s crammed with citrus tang.

While you’re there

Take a scenic 15-mile cruise to nearby Montebello to explore Crabtree Falls, the highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. A switchback-heavy, roughly mile-long trail ascends through rhododendron thickets and oak-hickory forests, bringing jaw-dropping views of about 1,200 feet of cascading falls throughout.

Native Brews Tap & Grill

Cherokee, North Carolina

The brewery and restaurant sits less than a mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway’s southern terminus in the heart of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ 57,000-acre Qualla Boundary. Pick from a selection of eight delicious beers while basking in views of the trout-rich Oconaluftee River and Great Smoky Mountains from a grassy outdoor seating area replete with picnic tables and a large, covered gazebo. Our favorite is the Woven Walnut Stout, a decadent brew with a rich mouthfeel, roasty finish, notes of semisweet chocolate, coffee and light caramel.

While you’re there

Get your flow on in the Fire Mountain Bike Park. You get about 12 miles and counting of machine-built, thrill-packed, pro-grade mountain biking trails within a mile of downtown Cherokee. Don’t miss “Skilly,” a progression trail packed with loads of wooden features, or flagship two-mile, one-way rollercoaster “Kessel Run.”

Pisgah Brewing Co.

Black Mountain, North Carolina

Located 15 miles east of Asheville in Black Mountain, one of North Carolina’s coolest small towns, Pisgah Brewing Co. combines a fleet of award-winning organic brews with gorgeous scenery, great music, and a vibe that feels more Portland, Oregon, than East Coast. Sip cold ones in a funky outdoor seating and stage area backed by views of surrounding 4,000-plus-foot mountain peaks and the Pisgah National Forest. Feast from a cast of rotating food trucks on Thursdays and Sundays, and during ticketed events. Expect eight staple beers and a handful of rotating, experimental seasonals. Among the standards, our pick is the Turtleback Brown Ale. A hint of organic chocolate malt yields a medium, caramel-infused body with a remarkably drinkable, malt-forward presence.

While you’re there

Hike to the 3,200-foot summit of Kitsuma Peak. Easy access can be found about five miles from the brewery using the Ridgecrest trailhead on Royal Gorge Road near Interstate 40. Climb about a mile, then take a 100-yard detour to the top for magnificent views of Black Mountain, Swannanoa Creek Royal Gorge, and enumerable 3,000 to 4,000-foot peaks in Pisgah.

Hiawassee Brew

Hiawassee, Georgia

Enjoy a rotating menu of eight house beers supplemented by wines from local vineyards and a cast of regional guest brews on tap. A permanent food truck dishes out street tacos, burgers, wings, and Mexican-style pub fare. Best of all, the northeast Georgia brewery overlooks beautiful Lake Chatuge and a horizon of mountains in the Chattahoochee-Oconee national forests. Take in the scenery through floor-to-ceiling windows in the taproom, from a covered second-story deck with firepits and soft seating options, or an outdoor patio bar. We recommend the Midnight Cove Black Lager, a roasty, pleasantly bitter, relatively light-bodied delight that goes down dangerously smooth.

While you’re there

Use a two-mile loop trail to explore the nearby Lake Chatuge Recreation Area. This breezy, family-friendly hike passes through lakeside forests, bringing access to beaches and fantastic views of the surrounding hills and undeveloped shorelines.

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