Explore our brewery nestled in the Appalachians.
We brewed our first batch of beer in 1980 in Chico, California, the lush forests of North Carolina far from our mind. Over three decades, folks tried our bold beers and deemed them fit for friends across the country. In time a second brewery became the wisest, most sustainable way to send fresh beer to the farthest reaches. Today you can venture inside our Mills River brewery to trace our history as a craft beer pioneer and see first-hand our drive to make flavorful beer the status quo. Cruise up our wooded driveway, park under a solar-panel canopy, and head behind the scenes with us.
Our tours fill up quickly! You must make reservations online. Click below to check availability and book your tour.
Duration: 90 minutes | Ages 12+
Our brew kettles, now copper-clad and striking, are a far cry from our original repurposed dairy tanks. The whole-cone hops we use for beer’s aroma and flavor, today shipped to us in 200-pound bales, our founder Ken Grossman originally got in one-pound chunks. You’ll peer into those kettles, smell those hops, and get even more hands-on as you navigate the entire beer-making process. (Ever tried wort? Think of it as pre-beer.) If you’re over 21 years old, we’ll lead you through an educational tasting of Sierra Nevada beers right next to our open fermenters.
Natural Resources Tour
Duration: 90 minutes | Ages 12+
The weather’s too nice in the summer; we can’t stay inside! Our Mills River Natural Resources tour covers much of the brewery’s outdoor grounds, showcasing our sustainability practices and many of the initiatives based on our philosophy to “reduce, reuse and recycle.” The tour also highlights many of the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) features that have been incorporated into the site. You’ll check out our solar “trees,” rain and stormwater management systems, and the water treatment facility including our microturbine technology. Your tour will wrap up near our Estate Garden where you will enjoy educational tastings of our award-winning brews.
Beer Geek Tour
Duration: 3 hours | Ages 21+ | Cost: $30
Saddle up for an intimate, 3-hour tour into the depths of what makes Sierra Nevada tick. Really, this is leave-a-trail-of-bread-crumbs detailed, so we’re keeping groups small (5 new best friends for you!) and the experience big. We’ll talk ingredients and craft beer history before inviting you into our new 200-barrel production brewhouse. We’ll venture into our hop freezer and take in the aromas and wander through our cellar where you’ll sample brews right from the tanks. To top it off, we’ll take a visit to our 20-barrel pilot brewery, and then you’ll—what’s that? You’re already convinced? Excellent. Prepare your palate for adventure and we’ll see you soon.
Bigfoot Vertical Tour*
Duration: 2 hours | Ages 21+ | Cost: $20
Come get vertical with us! This special program focuses on the history of the unique American Barleywine beer style and includes a “vertical” tasting of our Bigfoot Barleywine Ale. We have been aging our Bigfoot Barleywine in temperature controlled cellars for seven years! Enjoy a vertical flight of Bigfoot from years 2009 through 2015. Complete your tasting with a special barrel-aged version of Bigfoot.
*Limited time only
Self-guided Corridor – Mills River
Duration: At your leisure | All ages
Groups not your thing? We get it. For those who prefer to wander solo, our Brewery has been designed with guests in mind! Our upstairs visitor corridor includes a raised mezzanine for bird’s-eye views of our copper-clad brewhouse, a real-time look at fermenting beer and a visit to our warehouse and packaging hall.