Sierra Nevada Brewery - Beer Paradise
Updated: Nov 8, 2018
Call it the"Biltmore of Beer," the "Disneyland of Beer" or our personal favorite, "Malt Disneyworld", it's a must-see even for non-drinkers
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Mills River was a little-known secret. That was before it was built, when Henderson County economic developers and the family-owned craft brewing giant hadn't yet made it publicly known that they had chosen an idyllic spot on almost 190 acres above the French Broad River to base their East Coast operation. But from the time of its grand opening in 2015 the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Henderson County has become one of the top draws in the region not just for beer drinkers but also lovers of great food, the outdoors, musical entertainment and family fun.
“One of the best ways to enjoy the Sierra Nevada Brewery is to explore the beautiful stretch of the French Broad River that helped inspire the company to locate in Mills River.”
Even the drive up to the brewery from the beautifully handcrafted gate at the bottom of the hill is impressive, winding through the forest and over a stone bridge. On busy days (and there are a lot of them) you may have a bit of a hike from the far corners of the parking lot or even have to be shuttled from the overflow lot, but if you've worked up a hunger or thirst don't worry.
The Tap Room and Back Porch
The restaurant and tap room at the Sierra Nevada Brewery is surely one of the busiest eateries in the state. But it's large and well-organized enough that it shouldn't take too long to get a table if you want, or you can order beer and a limited selection of food from the counter service in the Back Porch area overlooking the patio and amphitheater. If you do have to wait, you can amuse yourself with a trip to the ample and tempting gift shop, take the self-guided tour or play a game of corn hole. Leave time to wander through the organic garden that supplies the kitchen, explore the many green
features that have earned this facility environmental awards, or take the short, pretty hike down to the Lower Park on the banks of the French Broad. If there's a band playing you can sit on the grass near the stage, or if you prefer it just a tad bit quieter you can retreat to the upper level balcony of the tap room, which has a great view of the outdoor areas of the brewery.
Lazy Otter Outfitters' "Sierra Nevada Express"
One of the best ways to enjoy the Sierra Nevada Brewery is to explore the beautiful stretch of the French Broad River that helped inspire the company to locate in Mills River. Lazy Otter Outfitters' Sierra Nevada Express is designed to make it easy to enjoy a few hours on the river capped off by a trip to the brewery. Lazy Otter will pick you up at the neighboring Westfeldt Park, drive you about 15 minutes upstream to their riverside headquarters, and send you on a 7-mile paddle back down to Westfeldt on a pretty, uncrowded flat-water stretch of the French Broad. The driver will meet you again at the take-out to take your kayak back from you, and you can hop right back into your car for the two-minute drive up to the brewery. Beer is even better when you've earned it with a good paddle!
The guided tour of the Sierra Nevada Brewery is a very popular attraction. So popular, in
fact, that reservations are often booked up weeks, even months in advance. But here's a little tip for you: Because the tour is free, it's not unusual for people with a reservation to cancel at the last minute or not show up at all. So if you'd like to take the tour but don't have a reservation, it's worth a call to see if there are any last-minute slots available. You might get lucky!
How to find it
The Sierra Nevada Brewery is probably one of the easiest places in Henderson County to find! Directional signs start on I-26 and continue as you pass the Asheville airport and get close to the brewery location, so just follow the signs and you'll be there in no time.
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/H6yYtAiM1U32