A Local’s Guide to the Best Breweries near Boone, NC

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A trip to the mountains in western North Carolina can be an amazing respite from the busyness and routine of everyday life, and a nice addition to that escape can be a great beer. 

Boone has many great local breweries and is known for being a friendly place to enjoy some drinks. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the fact that Boone is primarily a college town, home to my alma mater and team the Appalachian State Mountaineers.

The school even has its own beer-brewing program (I believe it’s “fermentation sciences”), which helps graduating students step right into the industry. The city of Boone keeps growing, and with it comes more and more business for local breweries to grow.

Boone is simply a fantastic spot to be when the leaves change color in the fall, during the ski season, or in the springtime. Whether you’re visiting for a long weekend or staying for an extended period of time, here’s a list of awesome breweries you should check out while visiting the high country!

You might also like: Top Hotels in Boone, NC

Appalachian Mountain Brewing (AMB)

Appalachian Mountain Brewing, or AMB, wins my top spot among Boone breweries, because of both its mix of great offerings and my personal nostalgia. AMB is located just on the outskirts of Appalachian State’s campus, on Boone Creek Drive, and is a perfect spot to meet up with friends and enjoy a few drinks. It’s where I often hung out with my group of friends after classes. It was founded by an App State alum and perfectly encapsulates the friendly spirit of Boone.

The brewery features a huge outdoor bar, in addition to a covered porch for when the weather isn’t so great. Though it can get a bit chilly on winter nights, the beer and heaters should keep you warm.

Appalachian Mountain Brewing does not make and serve its own food, but they usually have a food truck on property if you’re hungry – or you just grab something from Cookout or Bojangles (two North Carolina staples, if you’re from out of state) a couple of minutes down the road.

Appalachian Mountain Brewing beer is some of the best I’ve ever had, and it has won awards at the Great American Beer Festival for its Boone Creek Blonde and Hop Rain Drop, a pale ale inspired by the surrounding Appalachian forests. AMB also has an excellent selection of ciders, which can be a great supplement to other drinks (or preferable for some visitors). 

Though the best way to drink it is from the tap at AMB itself, Appalachian Mountain Brewery sells beer throughout the state of North Carolina and has pockets where it is available outside of the state. If you want to find their beer for purchase outside of Boone, try their search tool located here.

Booneshine Brewing Company

Coming in at number two, the biggest brewery on my list is Booneshine Brewing Company. The brewery is housed in a huge warehouse and comes complete with a full restaurant in addition to food trucks, lots of outdoor space, and the indoor bar.

Booneshine is the best spot to be if you’re looking for great food to pair with your beer. Though other breweries in Boone have food to go along with the drinks, the pairings aren’t quite as good as you’ll get at Booneshine. I always love to get their flatbreads and hot honey chicken sandwich, but I know my friends who preferred healthier options loved the grain bowls.

Booneshine has lots of great drink choices, whether you’re into IPAs or stouts. An interesting pick I enjoyed was the “Sage of Enlightenment,” a cypress aged ale with notes of sage mushrooms. If you’re visiting with non-drinkers, they also have a nice selection of mocktails and a tasty lavender lemonade.

Kettel Beerworks

Full transparency: I never visited Kettel Beerworks, but it comes in at #3 on the list due to the wonderful things I have heard about it. Kettel Beerworks is located just a bit outside of Boone in the town of Banner Elk, which you’ll pass through on your way to ski Sugar or Beech Mountain. Banner Elk is home to many quaint restaurants and charming stores you can visit before heading to Kettel Beerworks for some drinks.

The brewery itself is a reflection of the town: small, personable, and a fun escape. The bar has activities and games to keep everyone having fun throughout the evening and serves small bites of food to pair with their drinks. All in all, it’s the most family friendly brewery on the list, and is a great spot to visit with your kids if you’re on a family trip.

The drinks are all created in-house, and the taproom has lots of excellent easy-to-drink beers that are perfect to wind down with after a day of skiing or snowboarding. They also have a couple of heavier options, including the Speak Easy, a “Bourbon barrel aged Baltic Porter-Vanilla and toasted oak aroma followed by a complex but smooth malty flavor and a slight cherry finish,” which rings in at 10% ABV.

Beech Mountain Brewing Company

As a bit of a different feel than the above Kettel Beerworks, Beech Mountain Brewing Company is located at the base of Beech Mountain and offers a homey ski-lodge type feel, complete with a nice fireplace. The brewery also operates at the top of Beech Mountain in the form of the “Skybar”, which is a great spot to view the surrounding mountains for those willing to travel up the chairlifts.

The Beech Mountain Brewery taproom is possibly the best spot to visit after a day on the slopes due to its proximity to the mountain and warm glow emitted from the fireplace. In addition to great options befitting of the mountain setting such as the Tilted Tartan Scotch Ale and sour ales, the brewery has a great selection of beers offering a stark contrast, such as a fruity tropical lager.

Lost Province Brewing Company

Lost Province Brewing Company has a large footprint in the Boone beer scene due to its multiple locations. Its downtown location on King Street is just a short walk from campus, right in the heart of Boone. It’s a gastropub serving great food and live music (Friday and Saturday nights) to go along with its drinks.

Though the bar is mostly indoors, it also has a patio area where dogs are welcome! The Harden Creek taproom location is its expanded spot and new primary location for brewing.

Lost Province is best known for its Hipster Juice IPA, fun vibes, and great food made from local ingredients. If you’re looking for an easy spot to swing in and out of for dinner, Lost Province is among the best of the local breweries.

Blowing Rock Brewing Company

To complete your tour of the North Carolina high country, you should take some time visiting the town of Blowing Rock, located just a few minutes south of Boone. The town has a charming main street and lively old-timey feel, and is simply a great spot to visit to experience a bit of mountain culture.

The Blowing Rock Brewing Company is a bit unique in that it is situated as a small inn in the middle of downtown Blowing Rock. It has five guest rooms, the tap room, and also serves up food to go along with its twelve beers on tap.

Food offerings are seasonal, making the Blowing Rock Brewing Company a great spot to revisit on subsequent trips to the NC mountains. The brewery focuses on making high quality artisan beer and prides itself on using the clean, natural mountain water procured from nearby sources.

The brewery has a patio for outdoor seating, and sometimes features live music, depending on the time of year. It’s best known for its selection of IPAs and the bison burger – something you can’t find at most restaurants. If visiting, keep in mind that the Blowing Rock Brewing Company can sometimes get busy, and isn’t as large as some of the other breweries on the list that can accommodate larger numbers of guests.

The Bottom Line

All in all, North Carolina’s high country is an amazing spot to enjoy falling leaves, snowy slopes, and great beer! If you have time to visit any of the breweries on the list above, you’re in for a real treat. 

Boone is rapidly expanding beyond just being a college town, and its friendly atmosphere is sure to charm anyone who visits!