Brevard and Transylvania County serve up incredible mountain biking and amazing craft beers. We thought it would be fun to explore both by doing a “Taps and Trails” pairing: we’ve picked five trails and matched them with five brews that share similar characteristics. We called on avid mountain biker and in-the-know beer connoisseur Ben Hardy to help us out.
1. Ridgeline Trail, Dupont State Recreational Forest
Smooth and packed with flavor; pair with Brevard Brewing Co. Bohemian Pilsner, 4.9% ABV
Ridgeline is a classic local trail in DuPont. It’s probably on the top five list of anyone who’s ever ridden around Brevard, and you’ll quickly understand why. Ridgeline is all fun and flow. Riders of any skill level should find plenty of enjoyment. The trail has enough whoops and berms to keep it exciting, but it’s smooth and gentle all the way down.
BBC’s Bohemian Pilsner is a classic style brewed with respect to tradition. It’s the perfect refresher after a day of riding, guaranteed to keep the fun rolling. Just like Ridgeline, this beer is a smooth character, packed with flavor, but not over the top. You’ll want to keep it flowin’.
Brevard Brewing Company opened in 2012 and holds the distinction of being Brevard’s first craft brewery. It’s also notable for the dedication and passion owner and brew master Kyle Williams brings to all his creations. He has a special soft spot for German lagers and pilsners using imported Bavarian barley, hops, and yeast.
2. Farlow Gap Trail
Dark and complex, though perhaps not for everyone; pair with Ecusta Mongo Imperial Stout, 9% ABV.
Farlow Gap is raw Pisgah. This trail isn’t for everyone. But, if you want to get distant, Farlow is the ticket. You’ll head into Pisgah’s darker depths on a true backcountry adventure. It’s a stout trail that packs a punch.
Ecusta’s Mongo Imperial Stout is the perfect match for Farlow Gap. It’s dark and complex. It requires a certain palate. Just like Farlow, it probably isn’t for everyone. But, those willing to venture down into its depths will be rewarded.
By the time you read this Ecusta Brewing Company will have opened its spiffy new location on the historic Ecusta Mill property and within shouting distance of Pisgah National Forest. Since opening in 2016, owner Josh Chambers and his crew have established a reputation for creating a stellar range of signature and seasonal brews.
3. Avery Creek Trail
Rowdy in the best kind of way; pair with Oskar Blues Double Dale’s Imperial IPA, 9% ABV
Avery Creek is rowdy in the best kind of way. It has all the gnar Pisgah is known for, but you have lots of options. It’s a progressive trail, so if the standard Pisgah roots and rocks aren’t quite enough, you can toss in optional drops and jumps scattered down the trail to up the fun factor. Access Avery Creek from Black Mountain to add on some similar extra downhill action and grab one of the best views in the forest on the way there.
Double Dale’s Imperial IPA is a beer worthy of Avery Creek. It’s big, bold, and in your face. To be so big, it’s super drinkable, bringing together juicy and piney notes. It’s a rowdy beer that, just like Avery Creek, will keep you coming back for more.
Oskar Blues Brewery is a heavyweight craft brewery with locations in Brevard, Austin, TX, and Longmont, Colorado. Befitting their size, OB boasts 32 taps with a mix of year round and rotating taps, not to mention a lively outdoor space offering live music and the famous Chubwagon Food Truck.
4. Daniel Ridge Loop
A mash-up of epic proportions; pair with Noblebräu You Don’t Own Me IPA, 5.8% ABV
Daniel Ridge Loop is the perfect blend of all that Pisgah has to offer. To really understand that, you’ve got to descend both the rocky and the bridge sides. The rocky side lives up to its name with a long, rocky stretch along the river, but it offers more, including sharp hairpins and plenty of techy roots. The bridge side has steep fast shoots over loose rock, twisty meanderings through mountain laurel and rhododendron thickets, chattery roots, and a variety of bridges, of course.
Noblebräu’s You Don’t Own Me is, like Daniel Ridge Loop, a mash-up of epic proportions. It’s a marriage of styles, bringing the clear, crispy West Coast IPA together with the juicy drinkability of a New England IPA. The liberated spirit of this brew is captured perfectly by its name and will make an impression on your taste buds. Why settle for a single feature or a single flavor? Ride Daniel Ridge, then grab a pint of You Don’t Own Me and have it all.
The newest addition to the Brevard brewing scene, Noblebräu Brewing is the brainchild of Cody Noble, who soaked up the knowledge he learned from working for Oskar Blues, Brevard Brewing Company and Waynesville’s Boojum Brewing before opening his own establishment in the King Street District of Brevard. It’s the perfect spot to hang out indoors or out, sample Cody’s brewing artistry and enjoy the live music scene of 185 King Street.
5. Big Rock Trail, Dupont State Recreational Forest
Cool and unique; pair with UpCountry Brewing Black Currant Gose, 4.8% ABV
Big Rock is one of the coolest trails around. It’s in DuPont, but it’s unlike any other trails in the forest. In fact, when you’re weaving your way through patches of moss and lichen on its lengthy granite slick rock sections, you know that you’re somewhere truly special. In one word, Big Rock is unique. As an extra bonus, it offers one of the coolest, techiest downhills in DuPont.
UpCountry’s Black Currant Gose was developed as a part of their Simply Sour series. This kettle-soured beer is definitely something different. Deep berry notes from the once-forbidden Black Currant and a slightly dry finish merge to create a unique beer that is the perfect pairing for Big Rock.
UpCountry Brewing Company was founded in 2016 by John Cochran, a craft beer industry veteran UpCountry puts its focus where it matters: awesome craft beers, local music and the great outdoors. You can enjoy all three at their inviting King Street District location.
Let us know what you think about Ben’s pairings – and feel free to share pairings of your own – in the comments below.