Brewery Tours From Grain to Glass
North Carolina is home to more than 260 local breweries and brewpubs, celebrates its own Beer Month (April y’all), and includes Asheville, a 4-time “Beer City USA winner.
Here are 5 Brewery Tours to check out for your next trip to North Carolina, date night adventure, private event, corporate retreat, or just because you love beer!
Asheville, North Carolina Brewery Walking Tours
Where: Asheville, NC
This Asheville beer tour is not just another pub crawl! BREW-ed brewery tours are a behind the scenes glimpse of Asheville’s growing craft brew industry. Each 2-3 hour tour is led by certified beer experts (aka Certified Cicerone® ). Get a taste of how beer is made from hops to suds and discover the brewer’s stories that ignited the creation of each company. This helps you fully appreciate each pint poured from the tap.
Along your journey, you also learn about Asheville and its rich history. Did you know there are underground tunnels throughout the downtown area that were used during Prohibition? And, did you know there are over 20 local craft brewers in Asheville, NC today? You’ll discover why this mountain town has been voted Beer City, USA four years in a row.
This tour is also great for wine lovers (who will come to appreciate beer), and for home beer brewers who are curious about how to increase their beer brewing knowledge.
The tours move at a relaxed pace in small groups and last a couple of hours based on which one you book. Be prepared to walk and drink and plan for a great lunch afterwards to help soak up the beer education you get during the tour!
Asheville Brewery Tour Website: https://brew-ed.com/ashevillebrewerytours
Charlotte Brews Cruise
Where: Charlotte, NC
This 3 ½ hour craft beer tour in Charlotte, NC includes transportation between three breweries for safe travels. You’ll follow the trail of great beer from grain to glass, tasting four to five samples at each location. Tastings are generous, from 4-6 ounces each, so light snacks and water are available so you can fully enjoy the unique attributes of each glass.
If your coming into town and want to get to know Charlotte, the Brews Cruise is a great introduction. You will learn about the local craft beer scene which includes more than 20 breweries in the city. As an added plus, the tour guides are locals who happen to love beer so you can also learn about great eats and other stops during your travels.
As of this writing, breweries in Charlotte include:
- Blue Blaze Brewing Company
- The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
- Lenny Boy Brewing Company
- Heist Brewery
- Birdsong Brewing Company
- Catawba Brewing Company
- Bold Missy Brewery
Charlotte Brewery Tours for small groups: https://www.brewscruisecharlotte.com/
Wilmington, NC, Port City Craft Brewery Tour
Where: Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, NC
When you’re in eastern North Carolina, the Port City Craft Brewery Tour is the ticket to giving you a behind-the-scenes taste of Wilmington suds. Just like the Charlotte tour mentioned above, transportation is provided in the Mini Brew Bus (the short bus!) so you can sit, sip, and safely enjoy the tastings.
The 3 ½ hour long tours are offered on three different days of the week so you can find one that fits your schedule. Their recommendation: eat before you arrive! Although there are snacks along the way, y’all know that having something in your stomach to soak up the suds will help you enjoy the tour and the beer tastings much more than if you taste on an empty stomach.
Here is fair warning, if all you drink before the tour is mainstream lite beers like Miller Lite® or Michelob Ultra®, prepare to be transformed into a “real” beer enthusiast. There is something special about a beer with flavor. This isn’t about cutting calories or limiting carbs, it’s more about matching your meal to a beverage that makes your taste buds stand up and take notice!
For the growing Wilmington Craft Beer scene, more breweries mean more kids to play with in the sandbox. For beer lovers, this means a greater variety of high quality, higher alcohol content, and flavor-filled grains in your glass.
Port City Wilmington Brewery Tour: http://portcitybrewbus.com/
Waynesville, NC Leap Frog Tours for Beer and More
Where: Waynesville, NC
Leapfrog tours wants to show you what they love about their town in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. Their tours reach beyond beer and include art tours, nature outings, yoga and wellness exploration and city and seasonal tours. But, let’s talk about beer, spirit and beverage tours!
How would you like to watch the sun set from some of the most awe-inspiring rooftops in Asheville while sipping on a variety of night caps? Or a sunset beer tour starting in March throughout the scenic byways of the mountains?
Or, experience what Leap Frog Tours calls the “outliers” of beers found at Oskar blues, Ecusta, and Brevard Brewing company?
New for this year is exploring the flight of the bumblebees and their role as pollinators for the food that is grown and delivered to our tables by farmers all year round. In the Pint & Pollinator Tour, you’ll learn more about bees and get to taste the fruits of their labor as related to beer.
Choose your tour and dive into a taste of the richness that Western North Carolina brings to our eyes, minds, and bellies.
Leap Frog Beer and Beverage Tours: https://leapfrogtours.com/
Raleigh Area Beltline Brew Tours
Where: Raleigh / Durham, NC
William Holland told his family he wanted to drink beer for a living. Well, that’s only part of the reason he had the support of his family when the idea of a brewing tour in the Triangle area of North Carolina became his passion. The founder of Beltline Brew Tours is an avid craft beer drinker, a Certified Beer Server in the Cicerone Program, and an advocate for spreading the word about the growing Raleigh area beer culture.
Their tours are private, public, and arranged for special events. Two tours are offered in and around Raleigh and a third is launched in Durham. You’ll learn about the beer and the stories behind them.
For example, why are beers poured out of a coffin at Triangle Brewing Company? Rufus Red was created in honor of the guy in the basement and once you hear the story you may want to spill a little ale in his honor.
Also, did you know that Bull City Burger and Brewery naturally carbonates the beer (that’s why bubbles you see rising to the top are small) as opposed to the larger artificially carbonated bubbles you see in soda?
Everything you wanted to know about beer and more can be discovered during this Brewery Tour in Raleigh and Durham.
Beltline Brew Tours: http://www.beltlinebrewtours.com
Additional Resources for Brewery Tours and the NC Beer Scene:
North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild
Wilmington Brewery Scene – Business Information