Not to be confused with any other brewery brandishing the “Carolina” name, Carolina Brewing Company is one of the Triangle’s top breweries. Nestled in an industrial park off of the 55 bypass, this modest brewery supplies fresh, unadulterated beer to most of the restaurants and super markets in the Triangle area. Their motto “Brewers of Tasty Liquids” is not far from the absolute truth, and the omnipresence of their beer in any locally owned food and beverage business is proof of that. If you don’t see Carolina Brewing Company in your favorite area bar, I am sure they will add it if you just ask for it.
The brewery tour is by far one of the best we have been on during Febrewary. Not only is the tour uber-informative, but they give you gratuitous samples of free beer the entire time you are there! No Groupon or drink ticket purchases are necessary at this tour. You just show your I.D., grab a glass, and head for the taps. Our advice: make sure you get a fresh pour right at 1:00 because they turn the taps off after then for about 30 minutes while the tour is taking place. Not to worry though, as soon as the tour is finished, they restart the flow of beer ASAP and happily fill your glasses back up!
During our tour, we were lucky enough to be led through the brewery by one of its owners, Joe. With his laid back, yet detailed oriented approach to brewing, Joe was able to tell us all about the brewing process and even a bit about the history behind their operation. His unique perspective and concise delivery made the tour a very unique and enjoyable experience. Happily answering any question, even at times when other brewers may decline to elaborate out of fear that they are exposing trade secrets, Joe walked us through the brewing process down to what strains of yeast he uses for various beers. We felt as if he was encouraging his audience to go back home and give micro-brewing a try for themselves!
The high level tour specifics are as follows:
- Tour begins at 1:00pm on every Saturday.
- Arrive a few minutes early so that you can acquire a full beer to enjoy during the 30 minute tour.
- No reservation or call ahead is required to participate in the Saturday tour.
- You gotta be 21+ and you can’t bring the kids.
- Location: 140 Thomas Mill Rd. Holly Springs, NC
When you arrive, you’ll walk through the small lobby area where they sell t-shirts, glasses, bottled beer, etc., and into a scene that resembles that of a large house party. Small groups of people will be found chatting, drinking, and enjoying themselves all around the brewery. One of our favorite things about this experience is that you get to peruse around the plant while socializing and drinking your cold beer samples with your new friends. For some, I imagine this doesn’t really make a difference, but we really enjoy getting to drink beer on location where they make the stuff! It is also pretty cool to be surrounded by about 30,000 gallons of CBC goodness and friendly people throughout the affair. The beer and overall tour experience are so authentic, you would think the tap lines were coming straight off of the fermenter tanks. Overall, it is awesome beer, a wonderful tour, and a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon!
Hop on Highway 70 and head North out of Raleigh for about 10 miles until you begin to see the landmark signs for the Angus Barn. There, nestled between old automobile shops and industrial warehouse buildings, you will find the LoneRider Brewing Company. There aren’t any signs, gimmicks, or flashy advertisements. This place is an office, brewery, and bottling plant, plain and simple.
If the bay door on the loading dock is open, you can walk right in to the brewery from there. As you enter the facility, they have a nice little bar set up where you can purchase samples of their fresh brew for a modest price ($3 a pint last time I was there), but if you ask a lineman for a gratis sample, they will most likely oblige. Don’t bother asking for a brewery tour just yet though, the demand for their product has grown faster than their ability to expand so space is a commodity in the main brewery area. If you are really interested in learning about the operation, anyone standing around the tasting room can give you an ear full.
We were able to get a special tour from the good people at LoneRider with a Groupon that we purchased. Mihir, the company’s CFO, took our group behind the scenes to show us where they brew, ferment, and bottle their beer. We trekked through canyons of beer kegs and pallets of 12-packs to witness the elegant operation. To finish the tour off, we enjoyed a freshly bottled Peacemaker west coast pale ale while Mihir gave us some insight to LoneRider’s expansion strategy.
Overall, I would give this tour two thumbs up! The facility is unique, the beer is nothing short of amazing, and the people are very proud to be a part of the process. Until they expand their operation to allow for regular tours again, I highly recommend a trip out to the unique tasting room.
Another wonderful winter month is upon us, bringing snow, sleet, rain, strange heat waves, bitter cold fronts, and acute cabin fever to us here at the Bourbon Journal. As much as I enjoy staying inside and watching bizarre documentaries from my Netflix Instant Queue, there comes a point when I just can’t stand to be cooped up any longer! So, to give rhyme to the reason, we have created Febrewary. No, this is not a typo, but rather a tribute to the men and women who have dedicated their lives to bettering the human experience through the profound art of beer brewing. Yes, you heard correctly, this month we are doing a beer thing.
Raleigh is home to several wonderful micro-breweries, all of which happily open their doors for tours and gratuitous product sampling. These folks love to see people enjoy their beer so much, they practically give it away to the eager swaths of beer drinking goons, goons that I proudly associate myself with. As it follows, the Bourbon Journalers have decided to set our bourbon glasses to the side this month and focus on some of the outstanding beer brewing that is taking place right in our own backyard!
We are going to be (have actually already started) visiting every local brewery that we can feasibly get around to in a month’s time. For each brewery that we visit, we will make sure to comment on the overall experience, the tour, the people, and of course, the beer. Hopefully we can help to promote some of our local breweries while giving your readers the inside scoop on some interesting things to do in our neighborhood! After all, what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than getting to know some people with common interests while learning about and drinking some of the worlds best beer?
If you are a home brewer or brewery owner and would like to give us a tour of your setup, please contact email@example.com and we will be happy to make a visit! We are looking forward to this exciting month, and hopefully, getting to meet some of our readers!