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Beer in Raleigh

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I couldn't find an appropriate thread for this, but feel free to merge it with one if a mod feels otherwise....

 

I was in Raleigh last week for a work function and went to the Big Boss Brewery one night. I've had their beers on several occassions, High Roller being my fav, so wanted to check out their brewery while I was in town. I of course had my staple, High Roller, but also tried the Aces & Ates (sp?) which was a solid coffee stout IMO. Definitely like the old industrial building location. The only thing I think they could do to make it better was maybe have the bar area on a single floor with the high ceilings like a lot of the other breweries do now. Regardless of that, I'll definitely head back there next time I'm in town. It seems like they have a good pallet of brew on tap. And selling 6 packs of the beer on site is a big plus too. Wish some of the Charlotte breweries did that, but I'm guessing Big Boss has been around a bit longer too. Cheers!  :alc:

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I did the old 'northside' neighborhood tour during bikefest (had to leave....too freakin' loud), and went to Sub Noir and Nickel Point brewing, and both are great in their very different ways. FWIW also went to the Bison which is an interesting place as well...sort of like Crowleys crowd wise but without any pretense of being nice...just basic, yet quirky and absolutely no shame in showing up strictly to get hammered. 

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I have done a whole bunch of beer touring around the country the last couple of years. Over 100 breweries. I have come to the conclusion that the Triangle beer scene is almost a reflection of its architecture. Raleigh has good but not much great beer. It mostly follows predictable patterns and perhaps one place or another will have a "thing". Double Barly does dark beers. Trophy loves its Wits and Saisons, etc. What I wish someone body would do here is a massively experimental place like NC breweries Assclown in Charlotte or Fonta Flora in Morganton. Another recent out of state example is 7venth in Dunedin Fl. Anyway, it just feels like a massive hole in the scene here. I thought Trophy might fill it at first with its peanut butter beer, but they've since gravitated back to a more center of the road approach, though well done mind you. 

As an aside, my fantastic SO, drew this perfect likeness of me for use as a profile pic in places like UP. So now that ya'll know what I look like, feel free to wave if you see me cruising through downtown on foot or bike. 

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Posted (edited)

So what kind of beer do you mean by "experimental" beers? Do you have some examples?

I kind of wish we would get more dark beer breweries myself. I cannot get enough stouts! I cannot stand hoppy beer. (In Ales at least)

 

20 minutes ago, Jones_ said:

I have done a whole bunch of beer touring around the country the last couple of years. Over 100 breweries. I have come to the conclusion that the Triangle beer scene is almost a reflection of its architecture. Raleigh has good but not much great beer. It mostly follows predictable patterns and perhaps one place or another will have a "thing". Double Barly does dark beers. Trophy loves its Wits and Saisons, etc. What I wish someone body would do here is a massively experimental place like NC breweries Assclown in Charlotte or Fonta Flora in Morganton. Another recent out of state example is 7venth in Dunedin Fl. Anyway, it just feels like a massive hole in the scene here. I thought Trophy might fill it at first with its peanut butter beer, but they've since gravitated back to a more center of the road approach, though well done mind you. 

As an aside, my fantastic SO, drew this perfect likeness of me for use as a profile pic in places like UP. So now that ya'll know what I look like, feel free to wave if you see me cruising through downtown on foot or bike. 

 

Edited by RaleighHeelsfan
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Sorry, that was pretty ambiguous of me. I was thinking primarily botanical beers...infused with plants and other food flavors. I consider things like citra hops, oak aged stuff and chocolate or milk stouts to be in the mainstream lineup now and all of that is available nearby. So, some examples from recent travels...cherry porters are not that rare, but I have yet to find one around here. Lemon-Orange zest Saison, Coconut stout,  Thyme Saison Carrot IPA. Beat Ale, Star Fruit Tart, Honey Spruce black lager, Pine lager, Fig Saison....you get my drift. Sounds strange I know, but 95% of the time, the places doing this sort of stuff are doing it very well. Fullsteam actually does some things like this, but in the beginning they just weren't pulling it off very well (sorry Durham folks, I know ya'll love Fullsteam). They have gotten better and I hear the head brewer changed something over a year ago, so hopefully they'll continue to push the envelope on some new combos. 

For dark beers I think Double Barley is a great local option...gotta drive a little down to the boonies near Smithfield, but its worth it. 

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Posted (edited)

Oh, ok. That makes sense.

I had a coconut stout somewhere recently but cannot remember where....Wish I had logged where I had it. It might have been flytrap in Wilmington or maybe it was myway tavern in Holly Springs. Can't remember.

I love double Barley! Drive is not too far...like 40 minutes or so. I also like going to Duck Rabbit in Farmville. (really the boonies) but great beer.

But I am down with all those botanical examples. I have had a few fig beers and they were all pretty good. Of course none of these were brewed in Raleigh though.

 

Edit...Coconut stout was at Bombshell in Holly Springs. It was ok...but I am not a big fan of their beer anyway. I go to so many different breweries I cannot remember what I had. lol

 

Edited by RaleighHeelsfan

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Yeah bombshell was just ok I think as well. Flytrap was a nice find too....next time in Wilmy try Wilmington Brewing Company if you haven't already....I know breweries named after their location usually mean the beer isn't imaginative (since the name isn't imaginative) but WBC was actually pretty good. I also tend to dig the really strange locations...this is in like the front of an old plumbing business or something. Every Friday they have a cask tapped I found out....it's on the way to Carolina Beach on Kerr I think. FWIW my brewery app says i've been to 117 I think, though about half of those are from outside NC so I'm glad to hear other people have the same problem...I mean interests I do. 

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Posted (edited)

Quality is what matters most to me. At the moment, that's not what we have. We have quantity.

Trophy is the only good brewery in downtown Raleigh that I know of. Natty Greene's left, and I was disappointed with Crank Arm and Boylan. Raleigh Brewing Company on Hillsborough street also disappointed me. I'd really like to see these places improve. A good brewery near NCSU and two more good ones downtown, are needed, I feel. Big Boss is good of course, but it's in a remote area. Two more breweries are coming to that area, and while I think the quality is bound to improve among the new startups, the location isn't improving. I'll have to give Clouds another taste. It wasn't operating yet the last time I was there.

Meanwhile Ponysaurus, Bull City, and Fullsteam are all great, in downtown Durham.

Chapel Hill has Steel String, which is good. Yesteryears disappointed me, I only go there for the awesome bartender. Carolina Brewery and Top of the Hill have been around a long time of course and have some good brews as well, though their food isn't much my scene.

Edited by Spatula

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That about sums up my thoughts as well. Steel String is in Carrboro though :) Also to me Pony is a good notch above Fullsteam and Fullsteam a notch above Bull City. I'd make an attempt at assigning ratings out of ten just for fun but have to run off to a work meeting...I'll start with Trophy at about a 7.5 as well as Pony. Goes down from there. 

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Posted (edited)

I just had some of Trophy's porter the other night at T-mac in Cary. Darn good porter. Step above the rest.

Other breweries in the area I like:

Gizmo (West Raleigh) - Has some darn good dark beers, especially their seasonals or special brews

White Rabbit in Angier - I am not big on hoppy beer (neither are they). They brew some darn solid european style ales of all kind

Fort Knight (Cary I think) - The beer is not as good as White Rabbit. But again, they stay away from those nasty overly hopped ales.

Lone Rider - I like them too because they actually brew non hoppy ales (they do both though) There beer overall is pretty good.

Aviator (F-V) - Mostly hop garbarge. However, they brew two beers I really love. One is the devils! Love it, but have to be careful you don't over do it. It will knock you out quick! But for aviator...it is Frost Nipper that wins me back everytime!!! Comes out every November and that's when I become a regular once again. Great beer and one of my favorites.

Double Barley in Clayton - Probably my favorite next to Gizmo in the area. Brews plenty of dark beers which are my favorite

Just went to Pony in Durham this past Saturday. I agree, they are awesome and I will be back. I was in a rush and just got one flight. I am going to try and get back this weekend. Still plenty of breweries I have not been to yet. The ones I listed above I liked.

I have been to a bunch I did not like. Such as

Draft Line in F-V. Since I live in that area...I hope their beer gets better.

Bombshell in Holly Springs...did not like any of their beer the first and only time I went. I need to give them another chance.

Carolina Brewing in Holly Springs...hate all their beer. lol

I only went to Nattie Greens downtown once...did not like anything either. I think they have left though, right? Or did they open a different location?

Lincoln Brewery - Did not like anything there. it was alright but think draft line quality.

I have not been to Big Boss. But I have drank a couple of their beers and thought they were solid. Interesting you guys don't like them. But I still plan to hit the brewery soon.

 

 

 

Edited by RaleighHeelsfan

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Not been to Big Boss!? Oh my....I go to their run club every Tuesday so they account for about 50% of my locally brewed drinking. So they have two different sets of taps..main stuff is upstairs and the experimental/seasonal stuff is downstairs, but that isn't always open. For the original "pop the cap" brewery here, I am happy to see they keep on keeping up even with so much competition. They are solid, and after a decade I still am always glad to hit it up. 

Haven't been to Lincoln yet, but did make it to Fainting Goat. Ask about how it got its name. They are a fun place, that is pretty small...but I like them for that reason...I think 100% family run. 

I wasn't much of a fan of Lynwood BC, but their new operation on Whitaker Mill improved their stuff quite a bit. I have been known to hit all 5, five points area breweries in the same day (Sub Noir being the one most people have never heard of)

Also I highly recommend the Brewery Passport app. It has a 25 miles search area that drops pins on breweries on a google map...super useful when traveling. Also helps you keep up with where you've been. (sorry if I touted this earlier in the thread....can't remember)

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I've given more business to Big Boss than all other breweries in the Triangle combined, because of their 2nd saturday discount. It's been a bit of a ritual to meet there with my college buddies and get 3 beers for a dollar each.

Consequently I am intimately familiar with Big Boss's lineup. They are one of the better breweries in the Triangle, that I know of. I'd put them about on par with Fullsteam. Half their stuff is great and half is bad. Their seasonals are great, especially Night Knight. They also have my favorite pumpkin ale out of all the various ones the locals produce (Harvest Time). The only seasonal I don't like is Big Operator, which tastes sort of like someone combined the toes from a bunch of reject batches.

Their year-round stuff is split down the middle for me. I like Helle's Belle, Bad Penny, and High Roller. I don't like Blanco Diablo or Angry Angel.

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On 6/15/2016 at 5:19 PM, Spatula said:

Big Boss is good of course, but it's in a remote area. Two more breweries are coming to that area,

Any info you can share on this?!?  I know of the distillery opening at the Loading Dock but haven't heard of any new breweries coming.  

And speaking of new breweries, had some beer from the new brewery coming from Van from Bida Manda.  It is at least on par with Trophy!! - very good!  And they will be focusing on Belgian style but with some interesting small batch and collaborations planned I think.  Pretty large system starting out too!

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Yeah, I live right beside Fainting Goat...under 2 minute walk. Love the Belgian "stiff leg" lol..2 of those and I am very happy! lol...I have filled my growler there at least 20 times. Great place to drink a coupe and relax.

It always surprised me why they never put any photos or something concerning fainting goats on the walls. lol

 

On ‎6‎/‎17‎/‎2016 at 2:49 PM, Jones_ said:

Not been to Big Boss!? Oh my....I go to their run club every Tuesday so they account for about 50% of my locally brewed drinking. So they have two different sets of taps..main stuff is upstairs and the experimental/seasonal stuff is downstairs, but that isn't always open. For the original "pop the cap" brewery here, I am happy to see they keep on keeping up even with so much competition. They are solid, and after a decade I still am always glad to hit it up. 

Haven't been to Lincoln yet, but did make it to Fainting Goat. Ask about how it got its name. They are a fun place, that is pretty small...but I like them for that reason...I think 100% family run. 

I wasn't much of a fan of Lynwood BC, but their new operation on Whitaker Mill improved their stuff quite a bit. I have been known to hit all 5, five points area breweries in the same day (Sub Noir being the one most people have never heard of)

Also I highly recommend the Brewery Passport app. It has a 25 miles search area that drops pins on breweries on a google map...super useful when traveling. Also helps you keep up with where you've been. (sorry if I touted this earlier in the thread....can't remember)

 

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Posted (edited)

On 6/20/2016 at 10:42 AM, RaleighHeelsfan said:

Yeah, I live right beside Fainting Goat...under 2 minute walk. Love the Belgian "stiff leg" lol..2 of those and I am very happy! lol...I have filled my growler there at least 20 times. Great place to drink a coupe and relax.

It always surprised me why they never put any photos or something concerning fainting goats on the walls. lol

 

 

So I guess you know the story behind the name? The husband of the family is the goat. Apparently when he laughs, he can overdo it to the point of fainting for lack of oxygen. I'm glad the brewery scene is supporting both the larger distribution oriented operations, and the little neighborhood watering holes. That's the sort of place that makes small town living worth it in my opinion. Good stuff. 

Edited by Jones_

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Yes, I love F-V but hate the traffic. I drive to North Raleigh everyday for work. But I chose downtown Fuquay so I could walk to all the cool spots. I like to drink beer and drinking and driving can be costly these days if you know what I mean. So I just walk everywhere to drink now around town. I can walk to Aviator and Draftline in 15 minutes. (that is the Varina downtown) Bike is even quicker.

I love our two downtowns too...small...but when you go drink you know everyone.

And yes, I heard the story of the goat. lol...When I first went there I was like...the name of this place is fainting goat...where is the goat theme?...lol.

 

20 hours ago, Jones_ said:

So I guess you the story behind the name? The husband of the family is the goat. Apparently when he laughs, he can overdo it to the point of fainting for lack of oxygen. I'm glad the brewery scene is supporting both the larger distribution oriented operations, and the little neighborhood watering holes. That's the sort of place that makes small town living worth it in my opinion. Good stuff. 

 

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