Beech Mountain is located in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina. A short drive from Banner Elk will wind you up to the highest town on the Eastern Coast. Here you will find Beech Mountain Ski Resort, which is also home to Beech Mountain Brewing Company. It is only on this mountain that you can taste this excellent variation of craft beer; and if delicious brews don’t allure you, the view from 5506 feet will.
While you can taste Beech Mountain beer at the bottom of the resort slopes in the adorable town area, you can also head up the chair lift to the Skybar. A yurt structure with glass window walls and a circular bar means that every one gets an awesome view while tasting; the environment is a huge part of a great beer experience.
You can stay seated in a stool or grab your pint and head for an adirondack chair facing the valleys and slopes of the mountains. Even being an avid explorer of this particular range, I don’t think I have seen a better view than from the Skybar deck.
Hows the Beer?
Brace yourself…I don’t really like beer. Maybe it was the time that I overestimated myself and ended up violently sick in a parking lot, or perhaps I have never tried it enough to acquire a taste. Regardless, I was less than excited about our tasting, and was prepared to just toss it back to get through it.
First came the IPA beer, and everyone was building up how intense the hops were. I didn’t even know what hops meant until a travel companion informed me it attributes to a sharp flavor. Yay. I gently touched my lips to the frothy liquid, and was surprised. Yes, it was “sharp”, but I finally realized it was Bud Light that created my deep dislike of beer. Now I’m not saying I love the stuff, but I could definitely see how others do.
It only got better from there, the wheat beer was light and had the refreshing consistency I’ve always heard about, but never understood. Most people in my group wanted seconds on that one. The porter was dark and rich, with strong tastes of coffee and chocolate; I could see myself really getting used to this one as it was unique and complex. Try either one of these and you’ll leave a happy camper.
How do I get back down?
In the summer, simply hop back on the chair lift for a ride even more scenic than the one up. It’s fun to watch a mountain biker fly on the tracks below, and the view of the mountains; Indescribable. The ride isn’t scary and the slow speed makes it easy for young kids and older folks to hop aboard, making it an awesome summer excursion in the High Country.
Winter is a different story, and if you aren’t up for skiing, you might want to skip the Skybar and opt for the village location below. I’ve never been on these hills, but heard the route isn’t ridiculous. But always check in with experts before hitting the runs.
Overall, it was the most unique tasting I’ve ever experience. I’ll be returning in the winter to gain perspective on visiting the sky high bar among snow and ice.