(Photo from Beer a Day)
My goal for the year was to visit 10 NC Breweries. Well, I’m an overachiever and visited 13, bringing my overall total up to 17. This year I have been to: Natty Greene’s, Big Boss, Aviator, Bull City Burger and Brewery, Lonerider, Roth, Mystery, White Street Brewing, Carolina Brewing Co., Red Oak, NoDa Brewing, Birdsong, and Foothills.
- Natty Greene’s (restaurant) – Went to the one in Raleigh. I like their beers well enough as they are distributed pretty well. I’ve voluntarily drank their beers at sporting events and have even bought a few 6 packs. They are located in a trendy party of town but just on the other side of the tracks, so there’s always seating available.
- Big Boss (taproom) – Another brewery that’s well distributed although I don’t like their beers as much. Not a very clean finish on the ones I’ve tried. The taproom itself is like the basement of your local fraternity house but definitely a low key place to hang with friends.
- Aviator (restaurant) – Another brewery that’s well distributed but I haven’t had the occasion to drink theirs as much. Very much a happening place for the otherwise sleepy little downtown of Fuquay-Varina. Good barbeque too.
- Mystery (taproom/food truck) – When I went, they had just opened their doors and their taproom is the unfinished backroom of their warehouse brewery (which is common). Sitting on mismatched chairs, listening to music operated by someone’s iPod playlist, and grabbing food from the local food truck. Works for me.
- Bull City (restaurant) – GREAT burgers. And the beers are ok too. Cool little place that I’ve already been back to.
- Lonerider (taproom) – For breweries that have their loading dock double as their taproom, Lonerider is a pretty chill little place. They are adding on to the taproom for some badly needed expansion as the day I was there, it was standing room only. Plus, they have some of my favorite local beers; Shotgun Betty (Hefeweizen) is a regular purchase of mine.
- Roth (taproom/food truck) – If you are near Lonerider, Roth is just down the street. However, their taproom that doubles as their loading dock doesn’t have the charm of Lonerider. And unfortunately, their beers aren’t my style either.
- White Street Brewing (taproom/order food in) – A brewery that only opened at the end of the Summer, they have really invested a lot of money in their taproom in the way of furniture and big screen TVs. The beers were ok and even though the facility is really nice, like a lot of things in Wake Forest, it reeks of money and lack of general charm or personality.
- Carolina Brewing Company (tour) – An established micro brewery, probably one of the older ones in the state. Lots of distribution. Honestly, I’ve had all of their beers before and was very “meh” about them all. Different story completely AT the brewery – so much better (fresh beer matters!) The tour is Saturday at 1pm; get there on time, fill up your full pint glass a couple of times before the tour (at which time they turn the taps off), and then fill it up a couple of times again after. All for free. Best deal around for how to spend an otherwise quiet Saturday afternoon.
- Red Oak (tour) – This brewery is right beside I-40 and anyone driving the stretch of road between Raleigh and Greensboro has seen it a hundred times. Their tours are only Friday at 3pm so getting off work early to head over is required. Tour costs $10 and then all the samples you can get before last call. They do have a nice little landscaped seating area where you can enjoy your brews.
- NoDa (taproom/food truck) – This was a pleasant surprise. A happening little place with big screen TVs and nice facilities, but not at the sacrifice of character. The place was standing room only and a food truck outside offered much needed sustenance.
- BirdSong (taproom/food truck) – Another brewery that has JUST opened, it shares a parking lot with NoDa. For convenience, head there and Heist Brewing down the block for a mini brewery tour of Charlotte. The outside deck has a great view of the Charlotte skyline but the taproom inside is quite small and the live band was quite loud.
- Foothills (restaurant) – A brewery that has been established for quite some time, it has serious distribution all over NC. The facility was nice and was pleasant to visit although the food was a bit lacking.
North Carolina boasts more craft breweries than any state in the American South. My rule is that if any are added while I’m doing this goal, I’m not going to break my neck trying to go to any new ones added after this date (although I’ve since been to 3 that weren’t on this original list). Another rule is that I have to have drank a beer at these places because there are several I’ve visited but didn’t drink a beer while there. The total (original) list is below.
Carolina Brewery – Chapel Hill (DONE: Oatmeal Porter)
Birdsong (DONE: Lazy Bird Brown)
NoDa Brewing (DONE: Coco Loco)
Bull City Burger and Brewery (DONE: Bryant Bridge Gateway Golden Ale)
Fullsteam (DONE: El Toro/Working Man’s Lunch)
Mash House Brewery & Chophouse (DONE: Raspberry Porter)
Aviator Brewing Company (DONE: Black Mamba Stout)
Mystery Brewing Company (DONE: White Tiger)
Carolina Brewing Company (DONE: Winter Porter)
Big Boss Brewing Co. (DONE: Blanco Diablo)
Boylan Bridge Brewpub (DONE: Pullman Porter)
LoneRider Brewing Co. (DONE: Shotgun Betty)
Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing Co. – Raleigh (DONE: Wildflower)
Roth Brewing Company (DONE: Sex Viking)
White Street Brewing (Done: White Street Golden Ale)
Red Oak Brewery (Done: Hummin’ bird)
Foothills Brewing (DONE: Carolina Blonde)