The really cool thing about the Greenbrier County Barrel Trail is that you get to visit a brewery, a cidery, a meadery, and a distillery all within a few miles of each other. It’s the alcohol version of hitting for the cycle. Any way you look at it, it’s a supreme Saturday afternoon outing.
We recommend starting your tour after lunching at one of the favorite Lewisburg eateries. You can then enjoy all four stops and still be done before the dinner hour. Some of these Barrel Trail stops are close together, so you certainly may mix up our suggested visit order. Because you have to call ahead to schedule an appointment there, it seems best to begin your afternoon at Monticola Meadery. Here is the order that makes the most sense to us.
Call ahead to schedule your tasting here, Monticla Meadery is the newest beverage alcohol manufacturer in Greenbrier County. This cozy, veteran-owned meadery is located in downtown Ronceverte. When proprietor Jefferson Casto is not working as an MD in his day job, he makes meads in stainless steel tanks and packages everything in 750 ml bottles.
products to Taste
- “600” is their dry, traditional mead made from 100% honey and is best-served chilled.
- “101” is a Melomel fermented from 90% honey and 10% oranges.
Getting there: From the I-64 Lewisburg exit, drive about 6.0 miles south on U.S. 219 to downtown Ronceverte. Turn left on Cedar Street. Drive one block and turn right on Edgar Ave. Go one block. Park near Chestnut St. intersection. The meadery is opposite the Post Office. Total distance 6.1 miles. Driving time: approx. 10 minutes.
211 Chestnut St.
(304) 992-4324 (Call ahead to schedule your tasting appointment)
Monticola Meadery Facebook Link
Hawk Knob Hard Cider
Hawk Knob cidery has developed a solid reputation for its bourbon-barrel-aged traditional cider and barrel-aged fruited ciders. The guys also make an excellent ultra traditional, wild yeast fermented cider. Everything is made from West Virginia apples and packaged in 500 ml bottles. Proprietors Josh Bennett and Will Lewis have done a great job establishing their brand as the state’s premier premium cider. You may also find some mead for sale in their friendly, comfortable tasting room..
Products to taste
- Appalachian Classic is their flavorful base hard cider. Unfiltered.
- Bourbon Barrel Aged Appalachian Classic in the base cider aged in bourbon barrels. Rich apple flavor with oak and whiskey.
- Fruit Infused Ciders are the barrel-aged cider rested on fruit like elderberries or cherries.
- Wild Fermented Traditional Cider is made in a traditional manner with only wild yeasts to ferment it. hen it is aged in bourbon barrels.
Getting there: From Monticola Meadery, drive back to Lewisburg on U.S. 219 North. At the main crossroads in downtown Lewisburg, turn left onto U.S. 60 West. Go 1.5 miles and turn left onto Blue Sulphur Pike (County Rt. 33). Follow Blue Sulphur Pike for approximately 2.2 miles to the cidery (Watts Roost Winery), which is on the left. Total distance: 8.1 miles. Driving time: approximately 19 minutes.
Saturday 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Hawk Knob Cidery
2245 Blue Sulphur Pike
Hawk Knob website
Smooth Ambler Spirits
Smooth Ambler Spirits, more than any other distillery, put West Virginia on the whiskey map. Their success has spread Smooth Ambler bourbons all over the country. Sample their primary products and buy a bottle of your favorite to take home. The tasting room has a nice vibe and their selection of logo merchandise is superb.
Products to Taste
- Old Scout Straight Bourbon Whiskey is their popular line of discovered bourbons. Look for some of the 10-year old or single-barrel products
- Smooth Ambler Wheated Bourbon is wholly made at the distillery and drinks so smoothly and nicely.
- Smooth Ambler Barrel Aged Gin is an award-winning blended gin that they age half in new charred oak barrels and half in used Old Scout bourbon barrels for 3 months.
- Revelation is a fine “ron anejo” rum from Jamaica.
Getting there: From Hawk Knob go back out Blue Sulphur Pike to U.S. 60. turn right and go back to downtown Lewisburg. Turn left on U.S. 219 North and go about 4.5 miles, then turn right obnoxious Airport Road. Go 0.3 miles and turn left onto Industrial Park Rd. Drive into the industrial park a half mile of so until you see the distillery on your left. Pull into their parking lot. Total distance: 9.1 miles. Driving time: approximately 20 minutes.
Hours for Tastings
Saturday 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Smooth Ambler Distillery and Tasting Room
745 Industrial Park Road
Smooth Ambler Spirits website
Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company
In its first two years of existence Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company proved you can make a nationally competitive IPA in West Virginia. Brilliant Stream named GVBC’s Devil Anse IPA its 2015 WV Beer of the Year. One of WV’s premier brewery installations, GVBC’s taproom is right inside the actual brewery, giving it a super good vibe for having a pint or flight. Because the taproom is open until 9:00 PM, make this the last stop of your tour and relax a while. Their motto: “Get Out, Explore, Bring Beer”
Products to Taste
- Zona’s Revenge Wit is light and refreshing with just enough orange peel and coriander to highlight the nice yeast induced flavors.
- Devil Anse features Galaxy, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops giving it a contemporary IPA flavor. It’s their best-selling beer.
- Mothman Black IPA is a dark IPA-style with a moderately bitter, citrus & toasted malt flavor.
- Pilot Brew of the Month. Whatever pilot brew they have on tap, it’s always something worth trying.
Getting there: From Smooth Amber, turn right leaving the parking lot and take a nearly immediate left into a gravel driveway. Go to up the hill and park at the end of the driveway. Distance: 300 feet. Driving time: 1 minute
Saturday: 2:00 – 9:00 PM
862 Industrial Park Road>
Greenbrier Valley Brewing website