There is now a very special kind of beer tour – by road bike through some of the most beautiful country, demanding climbs, and awesome descents found anywhere in the world. Right here in Western North Carolina, on the Velo Girl Ride’s Beer City Bicycle Tour.
You will ride 176+ miles during a 4-day tour (3 days of riding) and visit as many as 10 breweries, some famous and some not so easy to find. We’ll feast like kings on the amazing food available in this region, and you’ll have the opportunity to test your legs on challenging climbs (the beer tastes better when you’ve earned it!)
We hold back the details on some of the special opportunities of this tour until you’re actually underway, as we work behind the scenes to get you to just the right brewers that can expand your repertoire.
And 30 years ago, one of your guides (not hard to identify, since only one of them is old enough) embraced the craft-brewing revolution right at the source — in Oregon where the laws regulating craft brewing changed in 1985, leading the way for a wave of change across the U.S.. Since then he’s developed a wee bit of experience in quaffing the good stuff; he’ll be along to help you find what you need.
And if you’d like to scope out what’s available in the Western North Carolina beer scene, go ahead and subscribe right now to the weekly newsletter of the Asheville Ale Trail.
So if you’re looking for a small group that enjoys laughter, great riding, scenic vistas, and good beer – this is your dream vacation.
Overnight accommodations will range from comfortable mountain retreat locations, to the sights and sounds of Asheville. This tour is limited to 10 guests.
We will meet you in Black Mountain at The Monte Vista Hotel in the afternoon. After loading your bikes and gear, we will hop in our luxury Sprinter Van and take the short trip to Morganton, the charming town that marks the start of your Beer City Tour.
Upon arrival, we will check into our hotel and then make our way to downtown for our first introduction to area micro-breweries: Fonta Flora and Catawba Brewing — which are located within walking distance of one another.
We won’t get too carried away with sampling great brews, and we’ll walk to one of numerous delicious options for dinner. We think you will begin to appreciate the good life we enjoy on a daily basis!
Day 2 – 55 Miles
Let the riding begin! After a hearty breakfast, we will wheel out of Morganton with the rolling terrain circumnavigating Lake James and continuing through rural McDowell County. We will pass through the town of Marion, host of the annual Assault on Mt Mitchell challenge ride. While we won’t climb up to Mt Mitchell on this tour (we do on other tours!) you will get a sense for this beautiful area.
After reaching the historic town of Old Fort, we will make our way up the mountain through dense forest to the town of Black Mountain.
A short descent brings us down to Pisgah Brewing Company, one of the earliest of the now-famous Asheville breweries. After sampling their offerings, we will clean up at the hotel and walk to dinner and stop by another favorite brewery – Lookout Brewing.
Day 3 – 55 miles
It’s time to see the city lights of Asheville. After breakfast, we will roll out of Black Mountain, headed west through the Swannanoa Valley, and the location of the very first (white) settler in this part of the South.
You’ll pass through the scenic campus of Warren Wilson College and eventually you’ll gain entrance to one of our nation’s treasures: the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Folk Art Center is your entry to the Parkway, and it is both a visitor’s interpretative center operated by the U.S. Park Service and a tasteful retail location operated by the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Yes, we’ll transport your purchases for you in the van.
From the Folk Art Center, you’ll head North on the Blue Ridge Parkway, with views of Asheville and surrounding towns offered almost immediately. You will make the long climb to Craggy Garden to enjoy stunning views of the valley you left behind, before beginning the descent back into Asheville.
After the big descent, you’ll pass through residential neighborhoods that are NE of Asheville. You’re in city limits, with some of the most beautiful traditional homes in the region, passing two golf courses and the famous Grove Park Inn where U.S. Presidents stay when visiting this area.
We will check into our downtown hotel and take a short stroll to the South Slope, home of some of the best breweries Asheville has to offer… and some say the most concentrated number of breweries anywhere in the United States! Here will we will resume our tour of Beer City by walking to several different breweries and enjoying dinner in foodie paradise.
Our choices could include Hi-Wire Brewing, Green Man Brewery, Asheville Brewing, Burial Beer Co, Twin Leaf Brewery, and Wicked Weed as well as their new Funkatorium location. And remember Catawba Brewing from our first day? Their new satellite brewery and tasting room is nearly across the street from Twin Leaf so we’ll reacquaint ourselves with their expertise. Its actually too far to walk, but we may also check out French Broad Brewing Co nearby. Yes, we’ll have to make some tough decisions.
Day 4 – 66 Miles
After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, we will transport via van the short distance to Brevard, the Cycling Capital of the South.
Once in Brevard, we will follow the famed Assault on the Carolinas route that will take us through beautiful farmland, and eventually to the base of Caesar’s Mountain. This infamous six-mile climb will give you bragging rights and a sweet descent to our final brewery destination – Oskar Blues Brewery back in Brevard.
After enjoying a celebratory round (or two) at this last brewery, we will jump in the van and head back to Black Mountain.
Extras for this tour include: Beer samples and snacks at each brewery visited.
All VGR tours, include support by the VGR luxury Sprinter van and trailer, with delicious and abundant food, iced drinks, and shade from the sun. Your bike never rides on top of a vehicle, but secure within our custom trailer. We carry spares, parts, and tools should there be a problem with your bike.
Unless otherwise stated, the cost of alcoholic beverages is not included in your tour package.