Navigating the North Carolina Beer Scene
When looking for great wine, you book a trip to Napa Valley. When in search of great bourbon, you head to Kentucky. But traveling to North Carolina for great craft beer? You better believe it! Whether you’re looking for a relaxed mountain getaway to Asheville, traveling to the Research Triangle on business, or heading to Charlotte for a sporting event or concert, make sure to put these brewery stops on your list.
Traveler Tip: April is North Carolina Beer Month. Take advantage of the celebrations!
As one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. (Forbes, 2016), Charlotte’s beer scene is keeping up with the influx of millennials moving into the area the best way it knows how – by opening breweries. Good beer combined with old fashion southern hospitality and a surprisingly awesome public transportation system (with stops near most of the major breweries!) makes Charlotte a must-visit for pint purveyors. Click here for a full guide to Charlotte’s craft beer scene.
Durham has one of the highest number of PHDs per capita anywhere in the whole country. A locally brewed beer is a great way to relieve the stress of having to think. Chemist? How about a Lollygagger Kolsch? Engineer? Enjoy an Export Stout. Computer Programmer? Chill out with a Kentucky Common Good. After a long day at the office, enjoy a cold one at these Durham brewpubs:
Fullsteam Brewery (726 Rigsbee Avenue, Durham, NC)
- Known For: Rocket Science
- Atmosphere: Tavern and indoor biergarten, pet and family-friendly
- Travel Tip: Visit on Wednesdays for their running club
Ponysaurus Brewing (219 Hood Street, Durham, NC)
- Known For: Rye Pale Ale
- Atmosphere: Indoor and outdoor areas feature TVs and screens to catch sporting events.
- Travel Tip: Food trucks are on site 7 days a week!
Bull Durham Beer Co. (409 Blackwell Street, Durham, NC)
- Known For: Water Tower Wheat
- Atmosphere: Located inside the Durham Bulls Minor League Baseball stadium
- Travel Tip: Plan your visit around home games for a true experience
Did you know Chapel Hill is home to the first state university in the United States? It’s also home to a growing number of breweries and distilleries looking to tap into the recent grad and young professional population with an affinity for local craft beer. Pull up a seat at these three breweries and get an education on Chapel Hill’s best brews.
Steel String Brewery (106A South Greensboro Street, Carrboro, NC)
- Best Beer: Poor Laurie
- Atmosphere: Bright, industrial-chic taproom featuring house craft brews and live music
- Travel Tip: Visit on Tuesdays for trivia
Carolina Brewery (460 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC)
- Known For: Flagship IPA
- Atmosphere: Located in the heart of downtown Chapel Hill with private dining, patio seating, and large TVs for game days
- Traveler Tip: Visit on Tuesdays for trivia and Saturdays for free brewery tours
Top of the Hill (100 East Franklin Street, 3rd Floor, Chapel Hill, NC)
- Known For: Old Well White
- Atmosphere: Located in the space once occupied by the legendary Carolina Theatre, this brewery features one of the more unique spaces
- Traveler Tip: Visit on Fridays and Saturdays for brewery tours and trivia night
Raleigh is not only home to a myriad of educational institutions but it also host a number of breweries. From a brewery that launched in an airplane hangar to North Carolina’s first woman-owned brewery, here are the must-drinks of Raleigh:
Aviator Brewing Company (209 Technology Park Ln, Fuquay Varina, NC)
- Known For: Devil’s Tramping Ground Tripel
- Atmosphere: Award Winning Aviator SmokeHouse BBQ Restaurant; Aviator Beer Shop selling over 600 different types of beers
- Travel Tip: Live Music and brewery tours weekly
Bombshell Beer Company (120 Quantum Dr., Holly Springs, NC)
- Known For: Spell Caster Black Ale
- Atmosphere: Brewery houses production brewery, lab and a 1400 sq. ft. tasting room.
- Travel Tip: Visit on Wednesdays for music bingo, Thursdays for beer runs, and live music on Saturdays
Raleigh Brewing Company (3709 Neil Street, Raleigh, NC)
- Known For: Hell Yes Ma’am
- Atmosphere: An ode to the history of Raleigh.
- Travel Tip: Visit on Sundays for beer yoga and Wednesdays, for social runs and trivia night
With it mountainous terrain and laid back attitude that resembles Denver, Colorado, this is a can’t miss city for brew seekers. With over 20 breweries offering everything from high gravity IPAs to dark stouts, visitors and locals flock to Ashville’s biergartens throughout the year for conversation, food, and libations. This town is so obsessed with beer, you can even get beer ice cream (The Hop Ice Cream Café) or a beer-themed doughnut (Vortex Doughnuts). If you’re just in town for a day or two, here are our top picks for can’t miss breweries:
Wicked Weed Brewing (91 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, NC)
- Known for: West Coast style hoppy ales and authentic Belgian ales
- Choose from Wicked Weed’s three locations – The Pub (original location with full service restaurant), Brewery (new, 50-barrel brewery to keep up with demand – because it’s that good), or the Funkatorium (a sour and “funky” beer dedicated taproom)
New Belgium Brewing (21 Craven St., Asheville, NC)
- Known for: Fat Tire Amber Ale
- With locations in Fort Collins, Colorado and Asheville, New Belgium is making its presence known on the east and west coast. Their newly opened Liquid Center is open for tastings. The best part? You can take hope a pint, taster or growler.
Rounding out North Carolina’s title to having more craft breweries than other Southern state, is the quaint city of Greensboro. Grouped with Winston-Salem and Highpoint to comprise “the Triad,” Greensboro is making a name for itself with the recent explosion of craft breweries. They range from small hometown breweries to the largest in the state. Stop by these three and get to know Greensboro brew!
Gibb’s Hundred Brewing Co. (117 West Lewis Street, Greensboro, NC)
- Known for: The Guilty Party, Gold Medal at 2015 Great American Beer Festival
- Atmosphere description: We have great locally made snacks such as Chad’s Carolina Corn, Hops & Nuts and Gone Jerky NC beef jerky, but you are always welcome to bring in outside food or to check out our binder of nearby restaurants that provide delivery and/or takeout. Well-behaved, leashed dogs are welcome both inside and on our patio.
- Visit on Wednesdays for trivia. We also feature beer yoga and food trucks.
Natty Greene’s Pub (345 South Elm St, Greensboro, NC)
- Known for: Buckshot Amber Ale
- Atmosphere: Downstairs restaurant, upstairs bar, outdoor seating
- Visit every Wednesday, we will partner with a different non-profit organization. 10% of ALL restaurant sales on the day of their feature will be donated back to them, Thirsty Thursdays - $2.50 drafts every Thursday + Live music
Pig Pounder Brewery (1107 Grecade Street, Greensboro, NC)
- Known for: Boar Brown
- Atmosphere: Pet-friendly, free hourly tours, interactive tasting room, and a large outdoor seating area and a window to the bar where you can order a drink without having to go inside.
- Traveler Tip: Visit on Tuesdays for trivia, Saturdays for Yogammunity, and Wednesdays for Open Mic Night