5 Smoky Mountain Breweries You Need to Experience this Year!

5 great smoky mountain breweries

Get “HOPPY” at some of our favorite Smoky Mountain Breweries!

5 Smoky Mountain Breweries You Need to Experience this Year! The HeySmokies region is proud to be home to the finest Breweries in the South East. Sipping a cold beer can wet your whistle on a hot summer day or while relaxing on a cool evening by a Smoky Mountain campfire. It’s arguably the most popular adult beverage at cook outs and sporting events, and everyone has their favorite. For centuries the simplest ingredients of malted grain, water and yeast have been combined to produce a libation enjoyed all over the world!

The advent of microbreweries ushered in a new age of enjoying beer that has taken America by storm, and many varieties and flavors await the discriminating beer connoisseur. As popularity soared craft brewers established themselves in the HeySmokies communities and are letting the good brews flow. Romantic weekends are a great excuse to treat yourself to some tasty suds at these local Smoky Mountain Breweries!

Smoky Mountain Brewery

With four locations in Pigeon Forge, Knoxville, Maryville, and Gatlinburg this popular watering hole is easy to find! Handcrafted small batches ensure the freshness of each pour of their seven core brews. Choose from great flavors of Velas Helles lager, Cherokee Red Ale, Tuckaleechee Porter, Black Bear Ale, Windy Gap Wheat Beer, and Mountain Light. On a warm Smoky Mountain evening the Rasberry Wheat is a great way to cool down. Regular live music makes a flight taste even better. Trivia games are available for those feeling extra intelligent after a few brews!

Nantahala Brewing Company

Nestled in the heart of downtown Bryson City, NC. Nantahala Brewing has the largest daily beer selection on tap with 32 choices. The brewery is hard to miss in a “jumbo” sized quonset hut across the street from the Smoky Mountain Railroad depot. The structure was refurbished in 2009 and is also home to great live music. Nantahala has 5 year round brews,  “Dam Release” seasonals, “Big Water” high gravities, and many more specialty guest brews. The HeySmokies team is partial to the “Trail Magic” which we enjoy after our annual Appalachian Trail thru-hiker trail magic dinner! Tours of the facility are available for those interested in learning the nuances of a perfect brew.

Catawba Brewing Company

The Asheville, North Carolina microbrewery scene is second to none and the Catawba Brewing Company is on the cutting edge. If high gravity is your goal you have come to the right place. No matter if your taste is sweet or bitter Catawba satisfies. The surprising “Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout” lives up to its name and always satisfies. The HeySmokies sampling team took a liking to the “Hopness Monster” IPA which has just the right amount of bitter. Other’s in our crew also enjoyed the “White Zombie” White Ale and the “Deep State” Baltic Porter. Of course no visit to this brewery would be complete without tasting a little “Astral Bootie” Session IPA!

Last Days of Autumn

Knoxville, Tennessee has firmly established itself as a craft brew destination and “Last Days” is setting the standard. Starting as a home brewery over 20 years ago owners Mike and Tracy Frede have begun a tasty tradition of fine beers. “Pardon My Garden,” Biff’s Best,” “Juicy J’s,” are a few of the IPA’s to temp your tastebuds. “Rye Pale Ale,” “Last Days ESB,” and the historic “Kentucky Common,” and many more round out the selection.

Burial Beer Company

Residing in and revitalizing the South Slope District of Asheville, NC, the brewery began its life in summer 2013 as a one-barrel system that grew to a ten-barrel in just over a year. The draft selection has what you are thirsty for with many brews to choose such as “The Shattered Remains of Reality” American Imperial double stout, “Massacre of the Innocents” American IPA, “Wandering in the Vast Emptiness” Berlinner Weise Sour, and the HeySmokies favorite “The Triumph of Death” Sumac Saison. No the beer is not brewed with the infamous poison sumac your mother warned you about but it is packed full of delicious flavor. The names of these beers may take you longer to say than it actually takes to drink the beer but that is all part of the fun!

Alliance Brewing Company

This brewery is found across the Tennessee river south of downtown Knoxville and is worth seeking out. Alliance gets the hops and barley and brews them to perfection. Selections include the “Citra Blonde,” An American Blonde ale that is light and clean with a smooth fruity hop finish. Dry hopped with Citra is the “Citra Mosaic,” IPA, brewed with a California Ale yeast. The “Cubano Coffee Brown” is a malty brown ale brewed with cold brewed coffee from Three Bears Coffee Company. The “Oatmeal Stout” and the “Saison 4” also bring something special to the table with their specialty yeast from London and Belgium.

If you enjoy a good beer you will not be disappointed on your next visit to the HeySmokies region. Take a brew tour of our amazing communities and find out what the fuss it about. Come thirsty and take it all in!




Smoky Mountain Ice Curls

Ice curls are a common site on cold morning hikes.Smoky Mountain ice curls, whorls, tufts, feathers and mounds—all forms that natural ice can take on the ground under the right conditions. In an era of energy conservation, double-paned (or even triple-paned) windows, and thickly insulated homes and buildings—most of us no longer see ice in any of its patterns on our windows. But if you go hiking this time of year or even just venture into your backyard at the right time, you may well see ice curls.

Ice curls are varying shapes of ice that form on the ground under these conditions: typically a recent rain that has not been sufficiently absorbed into the soil, followed by a quick freeze, usually overnight. Our area is perfect for the formation of ice curls because our Tennessee red clay doesn’t absorb moisture very readily, especially when cold weather has made it even more dense than normal. Then, when a fast freeze occurs, the water left on the ground crystallizes into ice curls. The next morning as you are looking out your insulated window, these ice curls, which can take many shapes, may appear in the distance like tufts of cotton that, during the winter night, have miraculously bloomed in our yards, fields and woodland margins.

Often the ice curls wrap around blades of grass or the woody stems of other plants. In this case they appear like tufts or small white mounds—hence, their cotton-like appearance. But on closer inspection they are actually a collection of icy curls or feathers that have built on one another as the ground water gradually transformed into ice. Although less conspicuous, individual ice curls may also be seen on the ground. But it’s up close that the beauty of ice curls becomes clear—delicate, fragile structures of thinly formed, curling ice—nature’s own miniature ice sculptures, which disappear with just a touch from the sun!

So look for them on your winter walks. You’ll see them, especially in the mornings, after a recent rain or thaw followed by a quick freeze. Later in the day, if the sun has come out, they’ll disappear quickly in the sunny areas but will linger on in the shade. They’re worth your stopping and kneeling down to see them.

Ice curls can be found nearly anywhere from your backyard to the highest elevations in the Great Smoky Mountains. Mount LeConte is always a great place to find ice and snow this time of year. Meandering down any of the trails will afford a chance to find ice curls. Let’s get outdoors and see what we can discover!

HeySmokies.com is honored to have Carl Parsons as a contributing writer. Carl is Deputy Editor for Storyteller Magazine, a member of the Writers’ Guild of Sevier County, TN, and a Tennessee Master Gardener.


Rose Glen Literary Festival 2018

Mark your calendars now to attend the Rose Glen Literary Festival on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 at the Sevierville Convention Center. This year’s keynote speaker is Wiley Cash who is a writer in residence at the University of North Carolina-Ashville and also teaches in the Low-Residency MFA Program in Fiction and Nonfiction Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. Cash holds a B.A. in Literature from the University of North Carolina-Asheville, an M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and a Ph.D. in

wiley cash rose glen literary festival

Author Wiley Cash will be the keynote speaker at the Rose Glen Literary Festival in Sevierville, Tennessee. Photo credit: Brady Cash

English from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Cash’s stories have appeared in The Crab Orchard Review, Roanoke Review and the Carolina Quarterly. His essays on Southern Literature have appeared in American Literary Realism, The South Carolina Review, and other publications. All programs at the Festival are free with the exception of the luncheon ($20 per person.) Tickets may be purchased at the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce.

Other exciting featured authors, presentations and workshops at the 2017 Rose Glen Literary Festival:

9:15- 10: a.m. David Madden, LSU Robert Penn Warren Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing and the author of such novels as

David Madden HeySmokies

Author David Madden

Cassandra Singing and The Suicide’s Wife, a CBS Movie of the week in 1979 that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His collection of short stories includes The New Orleans of Possibilities; On The Big Wind, and The Last Bizarre Tale. Other works include Hair of the Dog, Pleasure Dome and Abducted by Circumstances.

9:15-10 a.m. Bren McClain, author of One Good Mama Bone, is a two time winner of the South Carolina Fiction Project and recipient of the 2005 Fiction Fellowship by the South Carolina Arts Commission.

9:30-11 a.m. Workshop by Christopher Herbert, author of Angels of Detroit. Hebert is a graduate of the University of Michigan and former senior editor of the University of Michigan Press, and winner of the 2013 Friends of American Writers award. He is currently Assistant Professor of English at the University of Tennessee.

9:30 – 11 am. ABCs of Writing for Children Workshop conducted by Debbie Dadey and Rick Starkey. Dadey, who wrote Adventures of the Bailey School Kids and the Mermaid Tales, recently released a new book, Ready, Set, Goal. Starkey, a Sevier County native who lives in a 200-year-old cabin in the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community where he and his wife own a magic shop and craft store, is the author of Blue Bones.

kathryn smith

Author Kathryn Smith

10:15-11 a.m. Kathryn Smith, author of The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR and the Untold Story Partnership that Defined a Presidency, earned a bachelors degree in journalism at the University of Georgia, worked as a daily newspaper reporter and editor, and has been the book columnist for the Anderson Independent Mail for 20 years.

10:15-11 a.m. RB Morris, a singer-songwriter whose songs have been recorded by John Prine and Marianne Faithful, has published several books of poetry. These include Early Fires, Littoral Zones, and The Mockingbird Poems. He is the current Poet Laureate of Knoxville.

11:15 to 12: a.m Mark Powell is the author of five novels including Echolocation. He holds degrees from the Yale Divinity School, the University of South Carolina, and the Citadel. Powell, who received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Breadloaf and Sewanee Writers Conferences, was also a Fulbright Fellow to Slovakia 2014.

11:15-12:a.m Jennifer McGaha lives in a wooded Appalachian hollow where she farms and writes about family, farming and Appalachian culture. Her essays have appeared in dozens of blogs and magazines including The Good Men Project, the Chronicle of Higher Education Baltimore Fishbowl and others. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post.

12:30-2 p.m. Luncheon Keynote Speaker, Wiley Cash, writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and teacher in the Low-Residency MFA Program in fiction and nonfiction Writing at Southern New Hampshire University.

2:15-3:30 p.m. Panel Discussion:
Bill Landry. Landry is the voice, host, narrator, and co-producer of The Heartland Series, which has aired on WBIR-TV for nearly 30 years

bill landry heysmokies

Bill Landry author and host of the Hearland Series. Photo credit: Fentress County historical society.

and, has received two Emmy Awards for directing the series. Landry holds an MFA from Trinity University at the Dallas Theater Center and a BA in Literature from the University of Tennessee. In 2009, Landry premiered his DVD production of William Bartram – An Unlikely Explorer for the 75th anniversary of the founding of The Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Sam Venable, a graduate of the University of Tennessee and author of 12 books, is a former feature writer and police reporter for the Knoxville journal and the Chattanooga News-Free Press. A member of the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame and Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame, Venable has won more than three dozen national and regional writing awards. Now retired as a humor columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel, Venable continues to write news and outdoor columns for the paper.

Linn Stepp is On Adjunct faculty at Tusculum College where she teaches research. She has taught a variety of psychology and counseling courses for more than 16 years. Stepp has nine published novels each set in different locations around the Smoky Mountains. She and her husband have published a Smokies hiking guide.

Stephen Lyn Bales is senior naturalist at Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. He has written for Smithsonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to the Tennessee Conservationist magazine. He is also a regular speaker at Wilderness Wildlife Week. His first book Natural Histories covered the history of the Tennessee Valley. Bales second book, Ghost Birds; Jim Tanner and the Quest for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, 1935-1941, recalls Jim Tanner, the only ornithologist to conduct an in-depth study of the largest woodpecker to live in the United States, the legendary ghost bird of the south.

Check out this impressive video about the history of Rose Glen and its founders who inspired the creation of the Rose Glen Literary Festival.

Oconaluftee Visitor Center Hosts Holiday Homecoming


Get in the holiday spirit at the Oconaluftee Holiday Homecoming!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park hosts the Oconaluftee Visitor Center Holiday Homecoming on Saturday, December 16, 2017. Park staff and volunteers will provide hands-on traditional crafts and activities from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Children and adults will have the opportunity to learn about and experience some of the traditions surrounding an Appalachian Christmas.

The visitor center will be decorated for the holiday season including an exhibit on Christmas in the mountains. Hot apple cider and cookies will be served on the porch with a fire in the fireplace. In addition, the park will host the monthly acoustic old time jam session from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Musical expression was and still is often a part of daily life in the southern mountains, and mountain music is strongly tied to the Smokies history and culture,” said Lynda Doucette, Supervisory Park Ranger, Oconaluftee Visitor Center. “This month our music jam will focus on traditional holiday tunes. We would like to invite musicians to play and our visitors to join us in singing traditional Christmas carols and holiday songs as was done in old days.

The Oconaluftee Visitor Center is located on Newfound Gap Road (U.S. Highway 441), two miles north of Cherokee, N.C. For more

information call the visitor center at 828-497-1904. All activities are free and open to the public. Generous support of this event is provided by the Great Smoky Mountains Association.

The Oconaluftee Visitor Center is a must stop for any visit to the Great Smoky Mountains! Entrance to the Center is free and it is open to

Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Oconaluftee Visitor Center is a must stop for any visit to Great Smoky Mountains National Park!

the public every day except Christmas day. The Visitor Center has plenty of parking for cars, RVs and motor coaches. Public restrooms and vending machines are available to the left of the Center’s main entrance. You will find everything you need to experience the Park at your own pace.

The Visitor Center offers a unique view into the area’s past at the Mountain Farm Museum – a collection of historic log buildings from the late 19th century that were relocated here from all over North Carolina in the 1950’s.

41st Christmas Past Celebration

Meet Saint Nick at the Festival of Christmas Past in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Meet Saint Nick at the Festival of Christmas Past in Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Photo credit: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Sugarlands Visitors Center will host the Great Smoky Mountains 41st annual Festival of Christmas Past celebration. The event is scheduled for Saturday, December 9th from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Sugarlands Visitor Center a half mile south of the Gatlinburg national park entrance. This event is cosponsored by the Great Smoky Mountains Associationand is free to the public.

The festival will include old-time mountain music, traditional shape note singing, mountain craft demonstrations, and a living history walk. Visitors can also experience these traditions through hands-on activities such as make-and-take craft stations. Hot apple cider will also be served throughout the day.

Around Christmas time, people gathered in churches, homes, and schools where they celebrated the holiday through music, storytelling, and crafts,” said North District Resource Education Supervisor Stephanie Sutton. “The Festival of Christmas Past allows us to pause and remember some of these traditions.

Make sure and add all the fun scheduled to your calendar so you don’t miss a single minute!

9:30 Shape Note Singing
11:00 Old-time mountain music with Lost Mill
11:00 Memories Walk
12:00 Old-time mountain music with Boogertown Gap
1:00 Smoky Mountain Historical Society
2:00 Appalachian Christmas Music and Storytelling – NPS Staff

Sugarlands Visitor Center, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Sugarlands Visitor Center is a must stop for any visit to the Great Smoky Mountains!

The popular Christmas Memories Walk will be held at 11:00 a.m. Costumed interpreters will lead a short walk from the visitor center and talk about life in the mountains during the holidays. Through this living history program, visitors will experience the spirit of the season in the mountains during the early days.

The Sugarlands Visitor Center is a must stop for any visit to the Great Smoky Mountains! Entrance to the center is free and it is open to the public every day except Christmas day. The Visitor Center has plenty of parking for cars, RVs, and motor coaches. Public restrooms and vending machines are available to the left of the center’s main entrance. Here you will find everything you need to experience the park at your own pace.