This fall there’s a big event happening in our backyard and we’re excited to tell you about it. The Hendersonville Cheers Trail is a popular attraction for visitors and locals alike. Although this year will look a little different than years past — and socially-distanced for safety — the fun will still be happening in and around Hendersonville NC!

What is the Hendersonville Cheers Trail?

The Hendersonville Cheers Trail celebrates the craftsmanship of Western North Carolina’s beer, wine, cider, and mead makers with a tour in and around Hendersonville NC. This year, 17 different makers are participating in the event, including some well-known breweries, scenic wineries, and Western North Carolina’s only meadery. The trail is a self-guided tour across the historic city of Hendersonville, NC and into the surrounding countryside, with plentiful views of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Socially-distant activities are already built-in, as the nature of the event is to visit the tasting rooms of each maker to try their beverages. Still, each vendor will have regulations in place to keep visitors healthy and protected.

To participate in the Cheers Trail, purchase a $10 passport from the Visitor Center (you can order online, too) and plan your route! If you collect at least 12 stamps in your passport, you can redeem it for some fun Cheers Trail merchandise to immortalize your travels. We’ll talk about planning your route in a minute, but first, let’s get a quick look at some of the participants of the Hendersonville Cheers Trail.

Hendersonville Cheers Trail: Wine

The Cheers Trail features six distinct wineries near Hendersonville, NC. Each has their own unique atmosphere and selection of wines. NC’s Winegrower of the Year, Burntshirt Vineyards, has locations in Hendersonville and Chimney Rock. Visit the production facility and vineyards to try their signature bottles, and sample their apple wine, made with local Hendersonville NC apples. Or, take a short scenic trip out to the tasting room with a view of Hickory Nut Falls. Both locations have large outdoor patios for plenty of seating.

Wineries on the Hendersonville Cheers Trail:

  • Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards
  • Burntshirt Vineyards
  • Point Lookout Vineyard
  • Marked Tree Vineyard
  • Sawyer Springs Vineyard
  • Stone Ashe Vineyards

Hendersonville Cheers Trail: Beer

Explore the roots of craft beer at Sideways Farm & Brewery. This equal parts farm, brewery, and flower garden celebrates the outdoors in every part of its experience. Surrounded by lush organic gardens, pastures, and fields, you can see the whole brewing process from soil to pint. Bartenders treat every tasting as an experience, demonstrating the way the ingredients shape the flavors and aromas of the beer, and sharing the stories of where it came from. The best part about a brewery on a farm is all the room to spread out! Grab a friend and some beer and explore Sideways Farm and Brewery.

Breweries on the Hendersonville Cheers Trail:

  • Blue Ghost Brewing Company
  • Burning Blush Brewery
  • Dry Falls Brewing Company
  • Guidon Brewing
  • Mills River Brewing Co.
  • Oklawaha Brewing Company (Formerly Sanctuary Brewing Co.)
  • Sideways Farm & Brewery
  • Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
  • Southern Appalachian Brewery
  • Triskelion Brewing Company

Hendersonville Cheers Trail: Cider

Henderson County is most well known in the Carolinas for its amazing apple harvest. Near Hendersonville, cider is made with fresh apples, harvested hyper-locally. Two cideries participating in the Henderson Cheers Trail are Appalachian Ridge and Bold Rock — both very popular in the region for their stunning ciders, and yet vastly different from one another.

Appalachian Ridge is located just to the northeast of Hendersonville NC. Specializing in the European style of cider, this producer uses a blend of local Hendersonville apples with fruit from French varieties of apple trees transplanted from the old continent. This approach creates a cider that is similar to wine in process, complexity, and richness. 

To the northwest, in Mills River, lies Bold Rock. Bold Rock is the largest craft cider producer in the country. Using locally sourced Hendersonville apples, Bold Rock has created a selection of regular staples and some seasonal ciders for you to try. They offer flights so you can pick out your favorites. The Bold Bites food truck is on site to keep you fueled, and there’s plenty of room in the cider garden to sit, taste, and enjoy.

Hendersonville Cheers Trail: Mead

The Hendersonville Cheers Trail also showcases the region’s only meadery. To save you a google, mead is an alcohol made from fermented honey water. It’s similar to wine in process, but can be flavored with fruits, spices, grains or hops, similar to beer. Mead is characterized by its smooth, light-bodied mouthfeel and floral taste and aroma. It was a popular beverage in colonial times and is making a comeback in many parts of the country.

World’s Edge Meadery is part of Point Lookout Vineyards. The tasting room enjoys sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The meadery offers seven different meads to try with a range of flavors from chai tea and spice to fruity raspberry or tropical fruit. If mead isn’t your thing, Point Lookout also has a traditional wine selection.

Planning Your Hendersonville Cheers Trail Tour

With so many places to try, how can you visit them all? First, we recommend you don’t attempt to stop at all 17 in one evening. Choose a few to start with and budget your time at each location. If you’re just stopping for a quick taste at each location, you might be able to get more stamps in one outing. Alternatively, if you want to get a full experience, pick two or three and spend some time at each one. When it comes to picking the best route, here are a few ideas to get organized:

  • Pick one type of beverage — just beer, for example — and choose a few locations that make sense logistically. Start with the furthest from town and work your way back.
  • Mix and match beverage types but prioritize an area; i.e. near Chimney Rock, there’s Point Lookout and Burntshirt Vineyards.
  • Stick to locations within walking distance, and turn your Cheers Trail into a crawl; For example, in Hendersonville, try Oklawaha, Dry Falls, Triskelion, Guidon, and Southern Appalachian Brewing.

When planning your Cheers Trail Route, consider who will be accompanying you. Maybe you want to make a day out of it, starting with a scenic drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains and ending your tour with a Cheers Trail stop at a winery to take in the views. Take a self-guided walking tour that explores the complexity of Hendersonville’s history, then take a break with a refreshing beer or cider in town. Whatever gets you out to see what Hendersonville has to offer, the Cheers Trail can help you explore the many flavors of our beautiful region.

If visiting Hendersonville just isn’t enough, why not live here? Check out Couch Mountain’s beautiful, sustainable community. With the Blue Ridge Mountains and all of the region’s breweries, wineries, and meadery in your backyard, this could be a wonderful place to call home. To learn more about life in our community, reach out to us today.

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