by Rona Gindin
Take a quick winter trip to Boone, North Carolina, and you’ll soon gasp, “Really? Since when?!” at two discoveries:
- This is a carry-on suitcase trip. Pack a small bag and stroll onto the plane. The ski resorts here rent all the essentials, from ski pants to goggles.
- Craft beers are as popular in the High Country as in Orlando, and the folks brewing these beverages each have an interesting tale to tell.
So book a flight to Charlotte, rent an all-wheel drive vehicle and head up U.S. 321 North to N.C. Highway 105. Snow ski, board and tube by day. After dark, sample the area’s local lagers and ales.
Begin at Beech Mountain Brewing Company, steps from the slopes of the ski resort of the same name. Will Young from Plumtree’s Blind Squirrel Brewery is the brewmaster here, creating blends from pale ales to strong porters and serving them in a cozy, woodsy space. If you can’t wait for après-ski suds, grab a stiff one at 5506’ Skybar (pictured above), a circular glass tavern just past the mountaintop chairlift. Nearby, Appalachian Mountain Brewery is all about sustainability and owner Sean Spiegelman donates some proceeds to charity. Go for a flight of its housemade beverages; be sure to include the Kilt It, a Scotch ale with a caramel bent.
When you’re seeking a light meal along with serious brews, opt for Lost Province, a bustling bi-level café with wood-fired pizzas. Step behind the scenes and you’ll see a brewery so spic-and-span it’s like a science lab. That’s because the co-owner/brewmaster, Andy Mason, is a scientist—a retired toxicologist, in fact.
Want a bigger beer selection? Mile High Tavern claims to have the largest assortment of North Carolina craft pours in the area. What’s more, those willing to brave the nippy air can sip at an outdoor “fire bar”. The blueberry-barbecue wings are an apt accompaniment.