Brevard, North Carolina is situated at the entrance of both Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Recreational Forest, two of the most preeminent outdoor destinations in the Southeast. Just one hour outside of Asheville, Brevard is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all varieties seeking waterfalls, singletrack, and multi-pitches. A lot has been written about this rec-mecca, but unfortunately, there’s no guidebook on where to find the best beer, burger, and post-adventure rewards. Here, six spots around town to post up after an epic day in the woods.
1. Pisgah Tavern
This pocket-sized tavern, featuring six rotating taps and half a dozen cans, is located within The Hub, an independent, locally owned gear and mountain bike shop. The set up is genius: crack a cold one, peruse the guidebooks and talk trails with the mechanics as they build wheels and tighten cranksets. You and your bike will finish the day tuned up, chilled out, and brimming with the beta.
The Hub and Pisgah Tavern are conveniently located at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest, adjacent to Hawg Wild BBQ and across the street from Dolly’s Dairy Bar. Essentially, everything you could ever need post-ride is within arm’s reach.
2. Oskar Blues Brewery
“Ride bikes. drink beer. repeat.” That’s the slogan for Reeb, the American-made bicycle manufacturer owned and created by Colorado-based Oskar Blues Brewing . (Why Reeb? Read it backward.) Mountain biking is deeply intertwined with Oskar Blues culture, which is why the brewery decided to set up camp in Brevard, home to some of the most magnificent trails in the country. In fact, a handful of these trails are even accessible from the brewery campus itself—parking is free and cyclists are encouraged!
Located inside the lofty and industrial brewery complex, the taproom allows you to get up close and personal with the beer manufacturing process. Sip a pint of Dale’s Pale Ale, an Old Chub Scotch Ale, or one of the rotating seasonal offerings—a brisk and spicy Gubna IPA is sure to satisfy after a scorching ride up to Cedar Rock—and watch the industry professionals in action.
Food is available Fridays and weekends at The CHUBwagon, a food truck featuring “craft casual” burgers, fries, and milkshakes. Make sure and check out the ‘Bikes, Burgers and Beers’ meet up every Friday night, hosted by Pisgah Cycling. In addition to the three B’s, you’ll enjoy live music and great company. There are even some kids bikes available on the patio to entertain the next generation of shredders.
3. Brevard Brewing Company
An entire brewery that specializes in crisp, summery beers might sound too good to be true after a sweltering day at Looking Glass, but you can find it right here in downtown Brevard. The family-owned Brevard Brewing Company specializes in lagers—the cold fermented, German-inspired beers that are light in color and huge in taste. You’ll find these brews nearly as refreshing as a dip in the Hooker Falls swimming hole.
Come in for a White Squirrel Wit, served in a tall Pilsner glass with an orange wedge, or a Single Hop Pale Ale with notes of citrus, lemongrass, and pine. While there is no food offered, you are more than welcome to bring take-out from any of the nearby downtown restaurants.
4. The Square Root
Located in the heart of downtown Brevard, The Square Root offers reasonably priced, freshly prepared American pub food. Exposed brick, high ceilings, and a gleaming, polished wood bar create a friendly, elegant atmosphere to enjoy a black bean burger and a beer. If you played extra hard that day, treat yourself to an appetizer of southern style fried green tomatoes.
Locals will agree that The Square Root is one of the most popular spots in town to meet up with friends after a day chasing waterfalls in DuPont. It’s open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch; each menu offers a variety of entrees and lighter options.
5. Dolly’s Dairy Bar
Dolly’s is a Pisgah institution, a cornucopia of treats, the stuff of summer camp lore. Also, they rent river tubes. After a demanding day on the sharp end at Cathey’s Creek Crag, be sure and preserve enough mental functioning for one last monumental decision: selecting from amongst the 100-plus flavors of ice cream, milkshakes, banana splits, sundaes, floats, dips, and freezes.
Taking full advantage of their prime location at the entrance to Pisgah, the good people at Dolly’s have concocted specialty flavor combos inspired by, and named after, the many adventures that can be found within the forest. Pay homage to your daring pursuits in the most delicious of ways. Dolly’s is not exactly anyone’s idea of a well-kept secret—and yes, the line can be long—but it is filled with people suspended between inner-tube day and ice cream cone evening. It’s a happy place.
6. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Located perfectly between Brevard and Asheville, Sierra Nevada may be the slickest, shiniest, and certainly the most enormous brewery experience of your life. The sprawling, 100% solar and water powered campus features multiple dining rooms, tasting rooms, bars, covered patios, and outdoor seating, along with complimentary brewery tours, corn toss, fire pits and an immaculate garden filled with sunflowers, herbs, and organic produce. The visionaries behind this brand new Mills River location are wholly dedicated to providing visitors with excellent beers and an incomparable dining experience, and it’s evident in every last detail.
Once you’ve recovered from the site of this mammoth stone structure (which resembles a slightly more industrial Hogwarts) it’s time to find your place at the bar. The six dollar flights are a good bargain, and every single selection from the double-sided beer menu is worth a taste, if not an entire pour.
Nothing revives the exhausted cyclist like a tangy pint of Hop Hunter IPA or the classic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. But a word to the wise: don’t come hungry unless you’re willing to shell out. A constantly rotating, farm-to-table menu offers small plates and ‘shareables’ that are consistently innovative and delicious, but they’re not joking around- those plates are small. The typical adventurer, in ravenous post-Pisgah mode, may need three tiny artesian hamburgers to feel satisfied. At ten bucks a pop, it might be worth it to slam a power bar beforehand. Just a warning.
Featured image provided by Melina Coogan