The Ridgeline Craft Beverage Trail features six of Gaston and Cleveland County’s breweries, distilleries and wineries. Each has its own unique feel and culture, which was our favorite part of this trail. It’s a great representation of what makes Gaston and Cleveland Counties so special. Starting in Belmont, we’ve put together a guide and itinerary to help you experience these diverse place and people. Along the way, we’ve layered in a few activities to make for a full day of fun and exploration.
We have a few suggestions and things to think about when you’re planning your day(s).
Designated Driver. It’s important that you drink responsibly and plan ahead to have a designated driver. We can’t stress this enough. Uber and lyft are not recommended due to the distance between establishments. Designated driver is more feasible.
1 day vs 2 days: We did this trail in 1 day, starting and ending in Belmont and getting a room at the Hampton Inn. You could easily break this up into 2 days. If you decide to do that, we’d suggest getting a hotel room in Gastonia, since it’s central to all locations. We like the new Hilton Garden Inn.
Start/End. The six locations are scattered between Belmont and Shelby. Depending on where you’re coming from you should plan accordingly. Our group started and finished in Belmont. Our itinerary is just a suggestion.
Here is our list of the locations on the Ridgeline Craft Beverage Trail to help you map out your day. We’ve listed them in the order of our itinerary. Make sure to check operating hours as well as the schedule of events at each location when planning your itinerary.
Muddy River Distillery in Belmont
NewGrass Brewing in Shelby
Buffalo Baker Creek Vineyard in Lawndale
Veronet Vineyard in Kings Mountain
Cavendish Brewing in Gastonia
Old Dallas Brewing in Dallas
Stop 1: Tour at Muddy River Distillery, Belmont
We kicked things off in Belmont at Muddy River Distillery. Some of us were coming from Charlotte, others locally, and Belmont was a good central meeting point. We met at the Hampton in Belmont on Saturday and checked into our hotel. Our designated driver took us to Muddy River for a tour and tasting, which happens every Saturday at 1pm, 2pm, & 3pm. Muddy River is the oldest legal rum distillery in the Carolinas, they do everything in house including fermenting, distilling, aging and bottling. We loved the story of the founders, Robbie and Caroline Delaney, and hearing about their history. We drank a bit of their delicious rum, walked around the marina for a while then our designated driver took us to stop 2.
Stop 2: Lunch at Newgrass Brewing, Shelby
For our next stop, it was off to Newgrass Brewing in Shelby for burgers, beer and bluegrass. The plan was to get the longest drive out of the way early, then make our way back down the trail so we could end up back in Belmont. It also timed out well, the Newgrass lunch menu looked amazing and they had live music in the early afternoon. The burgers were delicious! The passionate crew at Newgrass prides themselves on empowering the Shelby community -- local bands, farm to table food and fresh ingredients for great beer. This was a perfect spot for a late lunch and some tunes!
Stop 3: Fireside at Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyard, Lawndale
After lunch at Newgrass, we drove 20 minutes out into the country for a glass of wine at Baker Buffalo in Lawndale. The vineyard is on a rustic family farm with lots of history and space to roam around. The owners, Charles and Anne, have a great story to tell. I’d highly recommend learning about the property from them over a glass of wine by the fire. We stayed here a little longer than planned chatting by the fire with Charles and enjoying the outdoors. Eventually, we finished our glass of wine and then made our way towards Crowders Mountain for a quick hike.
Activity: Lake Trail at Crowders Mountain
After the third stop at Baker Buffalo, we decided to head to Crowders Mountain and hike around a bit before heading to Veronet Vineyards. After a few drinks we wanted to take a break and do something active. At Crowders, most people head to the Pinnacle Trail but for time’s sake we hiked around the lake. It’s a nice quick, flat .8 mile hike. It took us about 45 minutes but we took our time.
Stop 4: Veronet, Kings Mountain
From Crowders to Veronet is only about 10 minutes, making it a perfect post-hike spot to grab a craft beer or a glass of wine. For us the view stole the show! Looking across the treetops over the 70 acre estate, you have panoramic views of the Pinnacle summit. We arrived here at around 4:30 pm on Saturday (they close at 6) and there was still a great crowd. We grabbed a beer and a seat at one of the communal tables chatting with other hikers and eventually made our way outside to enjoy the view. We finished our wine and set off to Cavendish Brewing in Gastonia.
Stop 5: Cavendish Brewing, Gastonia
We got to Cavendish late Saturday afternoon just in time for a beer and a snack. We sat outside in their beer garden and enjoyed some warm sunshine on a cool fall day in the city. Scott, Will and the rest of the Cavendish team have a cool space and brew setup in downtown Gastonia. The food was great and the beer was even better. While we didn’t make it to an event, Cavendish always has activities going on from yoga, to a run club, to trivia. I’d suggest checking their calendar and working it into your day!
Activity: Rankin Lake Park, Sunset, Hiking, Disc Golf
If you didn’t happen to catch an activity at Cavendish, head to Rankin Lake Park right down the street. Depending on how much daylight you have left you can get in a quick round of disc golf and hike the paved trail around the lake for sunset. This spot is definitely off the beaten path, but it’s right next to Cavendish and on the way to our final stop, Ole Dallas Brewery.
Stop 6: Ole Dallas Brewery, Dallas
Ole Dallas Brewery, or ODB, was our last stop on the trail. We got here just in time for the band on Saturday night, ending our day with some more live music. ODB is a classic local spot that has a small town brewery feel. Beau and the team are all about creating a place where the local community can come together in a comfortable environment for fellowship and good beer, and in our case some good music too. ODB feels like you’re hanging out at your friends’ house, and we loved that. They’ve always got things like oyster roasts and music going on during the weekends so be sure to check them out and plan accordingly.
Hope you guys enjoy this GoGaston Experience. We created a video of our day exploring the Ridgeline Craft Beverage Trail, so be sure to check it out for some more inspiration (link to facebook vid). You can also hear the stories of owners for each location on our Instagram Stories, and be sure to follow us on IG for additional photos and videos of the RCBT.
Go Gaston Team