Something’s Brewing In NC
It may be hard to bottle this place, but we do it every day.
In North Carolina, you’re never far from fresh local beer and people who love to talk about ales, lagers, porters, stouts and the seasonal experiment the brewmaster has on tap. The heady aroma of malted barley, bitter hops and fermenting yeast wafts from 60-plus brewpubs and production breweries – more than any other Southern state – in big cities, coastal villages, mountain towns and rural communities. Their tantalizing variety and award-winning quality earn the state an esteemed place in the world of craft brewing. Sample the unique flavors of the state's craft beer during NC Beer Month once a year in April.
North Carolina is home to more brewpubs and breweries than any other Southern state
In 2012, Asheville rose to the top of examiner.com’s BeerCity USA poll for the fourth consecutive year. Home to 11 breweries and three beer festivals, the Western North Carolina city also ranks among the “24 greatest cities in the world for drinking beer” according to Gadling, the world’s top travel blog. Asheville even boasts an informative Brews Cruise, which takes guests on guided tours to some of the city's microbreweries.
When you lift a pint to toast to North Carolina’s abundant breweries, you’ll have plenty of interesting choices. Celebrate with Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing Company or Fiddlehead Extra Pale Ale from Green Man Brewery in Asheville. Tipple some Belgian-Style Strong Golden Ale from Triangle Brewing in Durham, Ruby Lager from Olde Hickory Brewery in Hickory or Corolla Gold Beer from Weeping Radish Farm Brewery in Jarvisburg.
Try a dark-as-night Jumpin’ Bean Coffee Stout from Carolina Brewery in Chapel Hill, a thirst-quenching Ölsch Pale Ale from the wind-powered Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills, an award-winning Southbound Stout from Boylan Bridge Brewpub in Raleigh or a fruity Endless River Kolsch-Style Ale from Mother Earth Brewing in Kinston.
Sebastian Wolfrum, a co-founder of the North Carolina Brewers Guild and director of brewing operations at Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing Co. in Greensboro, anticipates there will be more than 50 breweries in the state soon and a growing reputation worldwide.
“North Carolina beers win awards regularly at the Great American Beer Festival in Colorado and at the World Beer Cup®,” he says. “In the next few years, some beer styles will be defined by us,” Wolfrum says.
Other North Carolina breweries making names for themselves include Natty Greene’s (enjoy the Buckshot Amber Ale); Winston-Salem’s Foothills Brewing (try the Pilot Mountain Pale Ale); Wilmington’s Front Street Brewery (get a chocolaty Dram Tree Scottish Ale); Farmville’s Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery (don’t miss the Milk Stout); and Durham’s Fullsteam Brewery (whose Hogwash Hickory-Smoked Porter pairs well with hickory-smoked barbecue).
Fullsteam founder Sean Lilly Wilson, who led the group Pop the Cap in lobbying for laws allowing craft brewing in the state, sees a steadily expanding culture of handcrafted beer enthusiasts.
“People appreciate fresh, local, innovative brews,” he says. “They get interested in what’s on tap from week to week. That’s what attracts them to brewpubs in the first place, and it’s what keeps them coming back for more.”
Sample regional favorites at one of many annual events, such as the World Beer Festival in Durham, and visit the North Carolina Brewers Guild to learn more about local beer and its community of brewers, wholesalers, retailers and enthusiasts.
By Joe Rada
added: May 3, 2011
updated: May 2, 2013
Ideas & What To Do
It may be hard to bottle this place, but we do it every day.In North…
You hear a lot these days about “girlfriend getaways”,…
It’s a great time to be a beer lover in North Carolina. With the…
Drink in the flavors of a pint and a place.Although Asheville today is…
There’s just something about the coast and a cold one. And…
It came to Mark Lyons like a bolt out of the blue. For a long time,…