It’s June, it’s hot, and that means you’re probably thirsty and ready to jump into a fresh body of water. Here’s my advice: Head to Bryson City for a dip in Lake Fontana and a visit to the Nantahala Brewing Company to catch a bottle of their limited release Trail Magic Ale. Named after the good Samaritans who hand out burgers, cookies, lemonade and good cheer to thru-hikers as they make their way up or down the Appalachian Trail, these beers are random acts of kindness for your liver.
NBC releases three Trail Magic Ales throughout the year: March, June, and October. You still have time to sample this year’s summer release, which features hand-picked honey-suckle in a Belgian Farmhouse Ale. It a wee-bit bitter and packs a punch at 9 percent alcohol by volume, but it’s as refreshing as the honeysuckle that’s infused into the ale.
Do yourself a favor and make a whole day out of it by paddling Lake Fontana or knocking out a big hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I like the short trek to Andrew’s Bald that begins at busy Clingman’s Dome, then leaves the crowds as it drops towards a magnificent view of Lake Fontana and the Nantahala National Forest.
And if you’re itching to do some trail magic of your own, head towards northern Virginia or Maryland to try to catch the wave of north bound thru-hikers. We hear they like it when you set up a grill on the side of the trail and offer fresh-grilled burgers. And beer.
Follow Graham Averill’s adventures in drinking and Dad-hood at daddy-drinks.com