As they say in the real estate business, “location, location, location.” That principle hit home recently during a big day on the bike in Dupont State Forest, just east of Brevard, N.C. Dupont doesn’t have the cache of Pisgah, which is just across the highway on the west side of Brevard, but it probably has the most varied terrain of any single forest in the south. Chunky rocks, skinny singletrack, flowy doubletrack, sand, clay, creek crossings, slickrock…you name it, Dupont has it in a relatively tight 10,000-acre forest. Recently, Dupont has become known for its fast, bermy downhills, which are like candy for mountain bikers, particularly after they’ve been beat up on the roots in Pisgah.
I thought I was gonna do a 10-mile ride, hitting a couple of Dupont’s signature trails, but that 10-mile ride turned into a 30-mile ride and all I had was 16 ounces of water and no food. Temperatures were in the 90s. I finished my water around mile 20. By the time I made it back to the car, I had sweated through my clothes, my legs were cramping, and I was so hungry, I was considering the nutritional value of the pile of horse poop near the trailhead. In other words, I needed a beer.
I was on the south side of Dupont, near the South Carolina border, which is traditionally void of anything in the way of a cold beer. Luckily, the Cedar Mountain Canteen opened right on the edge of Dupont just a few weeks ago. It’s a small bar—a half a dozen taps, a cooler of ice cream sandwiches in the corner, mountain bike videos on the TV and a backyard just big enough to play cornhole butting up to a pretty creek. The whole thing plays out like an oasis of beer in the desert between Brevard and Greenville. I stumbled in and ordered a water, a Gatorade, a rye pale from Spartanburg and an ice cream sandwich. I sat there in the air conditioning, pouring over my Strava details trying to figure out where it all went wrong.
The location of this new bar couldn’t be more perfect. You can ride to the Canteen straight from the Fawn Lake trailhead, where you can access gems like Airstrip and Turkey Knob, or pedal a little farther and climb Cedar Rock and bomb the slickrock on Big Rock. Or apparently, you can ride all over the damn forest first, then hit the Canteen for a beer. It’s your call. The important thing here, is that the Cedar Mountain Canteen has it all: beer, location, and beer.