Black Mountain's 1st beer tour highlights 3 area breweries

Ezra Maille
Black Mountain News
Ale Blazer Silar Sloan will take riders to three breweries in the area while providing a historical learning experience.

The Ale Trail, Black Mountain's first beer tour comes to town no later than Nov. 11.

"We have some quality breweries between here and Old Fort," said "Ale Blazer" Silar Sloan, the bus driver and tour leader. 

"There's nothing like this in the area," said Liz Carleton, the operations director of the Ale Trail. 

The trail starts at Black Mountain Brewing, moves on to Lookout Brewing Co. and then heads down the mountain to Hillman Beer in Old Fort. The tour lasts roughly three hours with flexibility for tourgoers who may find one beer or brewery they fancy in particular. 

The tour operators said once the bus is ready, the tours will begin. According to Carleton, the bus has undergone various maintenance and detailing work in preparation for the tours to start. 

While initially aiming to start Nov. 7, the Ale Trail will be up and running on Nov. 11 at the latest, according to Carleton and Sloan. The tours will run four days a week, Thursday through Sunday. 

"Once what is being worked on now is done, we're ready," Sloan said. "We're at the finish line."

Tours offer drinker and non-drinker options, welcoming families and participants over the age of 12. Drinking tickets are $55 and non-drinking tickets are $40. Sloan and Carleton said these prices compete with the Asheville beer tours that typically don't offer tickets cheaper than $60. 

As the tour driver and leader, Sloan will provide fun facts and history about the area as well as the breweries the tour will visit. 

"You really get a lot of bang for your buck with this because you're getting the beer tasting, the brewery information and you're being driven around and talked to about the local area," Carleton said. "You're really getting a lot."

"And the natural beauty of the area," Sloan added.