East Tennessee beer, wine, cider, moonshine

Beer, Wine and Shine: Libations of the Tennessee Smokies

Brewed, fermented and distilled beverages are what make the world go ‘round in the Tennessee Smoky Mountains

The Smokies are well-known for their arts and crafts. This hands-on community has produced quality workmanship for generations. Throughout the years this craftsmanship has gradually trickled into their culinary and imbibing community as well. The rebellious mountain spirit is best exemplified in the explosion of local moonshine producers but can also be seen in their selection of deliciously crafted beers. The vineyards of the Smokies also take pride in producing original vintages you can’t find anywhere else. That’s why the locally crafted beer, wine and shine offered in the Smokies will make your visit a truly memorable experience. Be sure to take some time to imbibe during your Smoky Mountain vacation.

Craft Beer near the Tennessee Smoky Mountains

There’s nothing quite like a cold beer on a hot summer day. This refreshing drink is the national beverage of summertime. It pairs perfectly with some of our favorite local dishes—imagine delicious Tennessee ribs dripping with sauce, enhanced by a tall, brown ale. And nothing says summer better than a game at Smokies Stadium with salty fries and a frothy, cool brew in your hand.

Like many locations throughout the country, the craft beer movement is growing in the Smoky Mountains. The simple ingredients of water, yeast, malted grain and hops are blended in a variety of creative and interesting ways here, producing a Tennessee Smoky signature taste. The types of brews range from IPAs to lagers to stouts, but the flavors carry a quality that you can’t find anywhere else.

Appalachia provides a wonderful selection of locally-brewed beers. Many of these breweries even offer all-natural microbrewed beers. The brews are crafted from locally-grown ingredients and are handcrafted in small batches to provide the freshest taste possible. The microbrewing process is truly a work of art, and you will not want to leave Appalachia without experiencing what these breweries have to offer.

The atmosphere of the local brewery is almost as appealing as the beer itself. With mountain views as their backdrop, you can sit back and enjoy the best the Smokies has to offer. There also might be seasonal or experimental brews on tap that you won’t get to try unless you come on by. Most breweries offer live entertainment, especially on the weekends. Let the sweet sound of bluegrass wash over you, and let your senses soak in the sounds and tastes of the Tennessee Smoky Mountains.

Cider near the Tennessee Smoky Mountains

Wyile Cider Mill

A close cousin to beer is cider—a fermented beverage made from pressed fruits. Tennessee’s only craft cidery is Wyile Cider Mill, in Sevierville. Wyile produces two types of all natural, high-quality hard ciders that stands apart from. The O’Klee’s Dry Cider has a simple finish, while the Keeva’s Sweet Cider is crisp with a bubbly finish. Wyile presses their own apples to bring the freshest blends to their fermentation tanks. Then, the cider is fermented in small batches and aged for six months.

Wine near the Tennessee Smoky Mountains

The Smokies are an ideal location for crafting wine. The fertile soil and mountain climate provide an excellent setting for the art of winemaking. Locally-grown grapes are harvested and crushed at these vineyards. Many vineyards use traditional methods, such as aging their wines. Yet, aging these vintages is also part of the art. The oak casks are used to give the wine a distinctly delicious oaky flavor. But you’ll find more than just traditional wines here. Zesty fruit wines, mountain apple wines and even honey wines are available at many area vineyards.

Cades Cove Cellars

Tucked away in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, Cades Cove Cellars is passionate about the area where they cultivate their award-winning wines. Each step of the winemaking process takes place right at the winery, including crushing, bottling and fermentation. During a visit to their tasting room, you’ll be able to sample their delicious assortment of wines in varieties of muscadine, blackberry, chardonnay and cabernet.

Click here for a Cades Cove coupon.

Cades Cove Cellars

Take time to sample as many of these fine wines as you can during your stay in the Tennessee Smoky Mountains. Be sure to purchase your favorites to take home with you. They make thoughtful gifts for your friends and delicious memories for you. Every time you sip, you’ll be instantly transported back to this special time in the Smoky Mountains.

Moonshine near the Tennessee Smoky Mountains

This region boasts a rich history of “white whiskey” making. Moonshiners during Prohibition especially loved the mountains as an inconspicuous place to distill their coveted contraband. What was once an undercover operation in the region is now a booming industry, with many different kinds of moonshine and whiskey available to adventurous visitors. The local distilleries craft their authentic spirits from locally-harvested corn then ferment and distill the alcohol themselves.

Today’s generation of ‘shiners have discovered a way to make moonshine legally and continually great success in the process. They’re manufacturing a product inspired by the recipes passed down for generations of moonshiners in the Smokies—only less potent. Their products are classified as grain neutral spirit or corn whiskey, and although the government has no true moonshine classification, they allow these manufacturers to market the term.

Old Tennessee Distilling Co.

Located in Kodak, in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, Old Tennessee Distilling Co. handcrafts each bottle from scratch. Old Tennessee promises to deliver authentic spirits worthy of their legacy with each sip. Using cornmeal locally ground at the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, sugar, yeast and water, their crystal clear, superior moonshine reflects a tradition spanning generations. Visit their copper-clad tasting room to sample Old Tennessee’s moonshine, along with their rum, gin, whiskey and vodka.

King’s Family Distillery

The newest small batch distillery to enter the Smokies’ spirit scene is King’s Family Distillery. While the distillery, located outside of Pigeon Forge, is new, the King family has been in the distilling industry for decades. King’s Family Distillery offers a range of spirits, from vodka to whiskey, that have been specifically prepared to have the perfect flavor.

Click here for a King’s Family Distillery coupon.

Old Forge Distillery

When you visit The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, be sure to stop by the Old Forge Distillery tasting room. Produced with freshly ground grain from the mill and pure mountain spring water, Old Forge’s small batch spirits taste true to the area. Try their 1830 Original moonshine or one of the flavored ‘shines.

Smith Creek Distillery

What began in Branson, Missouri made its way to Pigeon Forge when Smith Creek Distillery opened its second national location. Smith Creek has 12 unique moonshine flavors, including sweet tea, salted caramel, lemon lime, chocolate silk and butter cake, that pack a punch of deliciousness in every jar. Stop by their tasting room and step up to the bar for a moonshine tasting. You’re sure to go home with a new favorite flavor.

Tennessee Legend Distillery

A legend by name and by craft, the distillers at the Tennessee Legend Distillery have spent their whole lives hearing stories of moonshiners in the Smoky Mountains. Their shines, spirits, whiskies and Tennessee sipping creams are skillfully prepared, full of mountain flavor and should be imbibed while sharing great stories. Tennessee Legend, with two distilleries in Sevierville, crafts a wide variety of flavored spirits, including apple pie, cinnamon, peach and root beer.

Click here for a Tennessee Legend Distillery coupon.

Tennessee Legends Distillery

If you do decide to take a sip of moonshine produced in today’s distilleries, don’t expect the dreadful burn that comes after taking even the smallest swig of “white lightning.” What you’ll experience are smooth varieties of ‘shine that are reminiscent of sipping vodka or whiskey, in some cases.

Tennessee Whiskey Trail

The legal moonshine has caught on so well in recent years that folks decided to create the Tennessee Whiskey Trail. The route allows whiskey enthusiasts to sample spirits from 11 different distilleries. (You may want to recruit a designated driver for this journey). Some distilleries along the trail even offer tours so that visitors can gain an even better appreciation for the crafting of these fine Tennessee products.

Take a ride on the trail, or simply stop in at one of Tennessee’s growing number of distilleries right here in the Smokies to indulge in a sip. You’ll be drinking in a heritage that Tennessee has proudly crafted for many years—so sip slow, and enjoy the ride.

No matter your preferred craft, the Smokies are sure to provide a tasteful imbibing adventure.

tennessee smokies visitors guide cover 2021
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