North Carolina Breweries

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North Carolina Breweries – A Top 20 to Explore

North Carolina is a craft beer paradise, boasting a thriving scene with over 300 breweries scattered across the state. From the bustling cities to the rolling hills, every corner of North Carolina offers a unique brew experience. But with so many options, where do you begin?

Fear not, fellow beer enthusiast, this comprehensive guide will lead you to the top 20 North Carolina Breweries, highlighting their unique offerings and what makes them stand out. Whether you’re a seasoned hophead or just starting your beer exploration journey, this list has something for everyone.

**1. Highland Brewing Company (Asheville):** This Asheville institution is a must-visit for any beer enthusiast. Founded in 1994, Highland is known for its award-winning Gaelic Ale and its commitment to sustainability. Their taproom features a vibrant atmosphere, and their outdoor space offers stunning mountain views. Don’t forget the meadow. A relaxing great way to have a beer and spend  the day.

**2. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Mills River):** Known for its iconic Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada has been a craft beer pioneer since the 1980s. Their Mills River brewery is a sprawling complex with a large taproom, outdoor seating, and a restaurant serving delicious food. Don’t miss their seasonal offerings and the opportunity to take a brewery tour.

**3. New Belgium Brewing (Asheville):** New Belgium, the maker of the beloved Fat Tire Amber Ale,  and Voodoo Ranger opened its Asheville brewery in 2016. Their taproom is a modern, spacious facility with a large outdoor area and regular live music events. The Asheville brewery offers a variety of beers, including local favorites like the Citradelic IPA and the Voodoo Ranger.

**4. Olde Hickory Brewing (Statesville):** This family-owned brewery is known for its focus on traditional styles and its dedication to using local ingredients. Their flagship beer, the Olde Hickory Stout, is a must-try. Olde Hickory offers a welcoming atmosphere with outdoor seating, live music, and regular events.

**5. NoDa Brewing Company (Charlotte):** NoDa Brewing is a Charlotte staple, known for its diverse range of beers, including the popular Hop, Drop ‘n Roll IPA. Their brewery features a large taproom with a lively atmosphere, outdoor seating, and a food truck court. They also host various events, from live music to art shows.

**6. Birdsong Brewing (Raleigh):** This Raleigh-based brewery is known for its creative and flavorful beers, including the popular “Jalapeño Pale Ale.” Their taproom is a relaxed and welcoming space with a large outdoor area. Birdsong also hosts regular events, such as trivia nights and live music.

**7. D9 Brewing Company (Raleigh):** D9 Brewing is another Raleigh staple, offering a wide variety of beers, including its popular “D9 IPA.” Their taproom is a spacious and modern facility with a large outdoor area. They also host a variety of events, including live music, food truck nights, and art shows.

**8. Fullsteam Brewery (Durham):** This Durham brewery is committed to using local ingredients and creating beers that reflect the unique flavors of North Carolina. Their taproom is a cozy and welcoming space with a rotating selection of beers. They also offer regular events, such as beer dinners and brewery tours.

**9. Crank Arm Brewing (Winston-Salem):** This Winston-Salem brewery is known for its creative and flavorful beers, including the popular “Fickle Pickle” sour. Their taproom is a welcoming space with a large outdoor area and regular live music events.

**10. Weeping Radish Farm Brewery (Grandy):** This family-owned brewery is located in the Outer Banks and is known for its unique farm-to-table beers. Their taproom is a beautiful space with views of the surrounding farmland. They also offer a variety of farm-fresh food options.

**11. The Durham Brewery (Durham):** This Durham brewery is known for its classic American styles and its commitment to quality. Their taproom is a spacious and inviting space with a large outdoor area. They also host regular events, such as live music and food truck nights.

**12. The Green Man Brewery (Asheville):** This Asheville brewery is known for its award-winning beers, including the popular “Green Man Pale Ale.” Their taproom is a vibrant space with a large outdoor area. They also offer a variety of food options.

**13. The Carolina Brewery (Chapel Hill):** This Chapel Hill brewery is known for its traditional styles and its commitment to using local ingredients. Their taproom is a cozy and inviting space with a large outdoor area. They also offer a variety of food options.

**14. Fonta Flora Brewery (Bryson City):** This Bryson City brewery is known for its focus on wild and sour beers. They use local ingredients, including wild yeasts and bacteria, to create unique and flavorful beers. Their taproom is a rustic and charming space with a large outdoor area.

**15. Natty Greene’s Brewing Company (Greensboro):** This Greensboro brewery is known for its classic American styles and its commitment to quality. Their taproom is a spacious and inviting space with a large outdoor area. They also host regular events, such as live music and food truck nights.

**16. Lynnwood Brewing Concern (Raleigh):** This Raleigh brewery is known for its creative and flavorful beers, including the popular “Lynnwood Lager.” Their taproom is a spacious and modern facility with a large outdoor area. They also host a variety of events, including live music, food truck nights, and art shows.

**17. Lenoir-Rhyne Brewing Company (Hickory):** This Hickory brewery is known for its focus on traditional styles and its commitment to using local ingredients. Their taproom is a cozy and inviting space with a large outdoor area. They also offer a variety of food options.

**18. The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (Charlotte):** This Charlotte brewery is known for its traditional German styles and its commitment to quality. Their taproom is a spacious and inviting space with a large outdoor area. They also offer a variety of food options.

**19. The Pilot Brewing Company (Wilmington):** This Wilmington brewery is known for its focus on innovative styles and its commitment to using local ingredients. Their taproom is a cozy and inviting space with a large outdoor area. They also offer a variety of food options.

**20. The Big Boss Brewing Company (Raleigh):** This Raleigh brewery is known for its focus on experimental and barrel-aged beers. Their taproom is a spacious and inviting space with a large outdoor area. They also host regular events, such as live music and food truck nights.

**Exploring Beyond the Top 20:**

This list is just a starting point for your North Carolina beer journey. With over 300 breweries to choose from, you’re sure to find something new and exciting to explore. Many smaller, independent breweries are making waves with their creative brews and unique offerings.

**Tips for Planning Your Brewery Tour:**

* **Plan your route:** North Carolina is a big state, so plan your brewery visits accordingly. Consider grouping breweries in a specific region or following a scenic route.
* **Check for special events:** Many breweries host special events, such as taproom takeovers, live music performances, and food truck nights.
* **Book your tours in advance:** Some breweries require reservations for tours or tastings, so it’s best to book ahead of time, especially during peak seasons.
* **Consider your budget:** Brewery tours and tastings can range in price, so set a budget and stick to it.

Whether you’re a beer aficionado or just starting to explore the world of craft beer, North Carolina Breweries offers a unique and delicious journey for every palate. So raise a glass and embark on your own brewery adventure!

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