Great news! Tomorrow (9/28/12) is National Drink Beer Day, so you’ve got a built-in excuse to go celebrate (you’re on your own the other 364 days of the year!) Some of my friends have no problem trying different types of beer (me neither) and that’s a good thing because our taste buds will never get bored. But, if you’re like many of my other friends who stick to the same style and brand of beer day in and day out, I urge you to get out of your rut and try something different to broaden your horizons or at least your palate. And it just may be easier on your pocketbook, since so many bars and restaurants have different daily beer specials that can save you some cash while you’re trying something new.
Beers are categorized into two groups, lagers and ales, depending on the types of yeast and temperatures used during their creation and fermentation. Lagers use a yeast that ferments best at cool temperatures, while ales use a yeast that ferments better at warmer temps. There are a number of good websites that explain all the different types of beers so, rather than reinvent the wheel, here are some of my favorites. The Beer Pros have a great page, Beer 101, which is short, to the point and can be found at: http://www.thebrewbros.com/beer-101/. I also love the BeerAdvocate’s website (http://beeradvocate.com/), which is full of great information found in its magazine by the same name, and more.
If you live in Raleigh and are looking for a wide selection of beers, either on tap or bottled/canned, luckily there are numerous places for you to choose from and far too many for me to list. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order, along with some bar food recommendations in some cases. Keep in mind that many of these bars offer beer flights, which are a specific number of small pours, usually 5 ounces, from a predetermined menu. Some places will let you design your own flights, and either way it’s a great way to sample new beers!
Flying Saucer (328 W. Morgan St., Raleigh, N.C. 27601)
Join the UFO club for $18.00 and get a t-shirt and a card to track what you drink. Once you hit 200 different beers you’ll be inducted into the ring of honor with a plate party and $100.00 to spend on beer and food! Love the big soft pretzels and the wings. Great outside seating!
**Note – since I posted this I’ve learned that Flying Saucer no longer gives you the $100.00 for your plate party. Sigh. Glad Brad and I had ours years ago!
Brickhouse (3801 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, N.C. 27607)
Bar Goddess Maddie takes good care of Brad and me, so that’s one of the reasons this place is on my list. It’s close to home, has more than 40 beers on tap and lots of big screens (some could use upgrading) to watch sports, especially anything Wolfpack! Good outside seating, especially if you don’t mind trains. I have not eaten here since it became the Brickhouse, so I have no food recommendations. I do love its Bloody Marys as well!
Tyler’s Taproom (18 Seaboard Ave., Raleigh, N.C 27604)
Tyler’s recently opened in Raleigh and has more than 80 beers on tap, plus a bottle shop to purchase beers to take home. Nice outside seating, great food. I especially like the Carolina Nachos and the fried green tomato, pimento cheese BLT. Yum!
Village Draft House (428 Daniels St, Raleigh, N.C. 27605)
Located in Raleigh’s Cameron Village Shopping Center, the Draft House has 99 beers on tap. I love its fried pickles and spinach/artichoke dip, but am quite upset that the potato skins are off the menu. Why did they do that? This place is normally packed at lunch and has outside seating. Nice place to stop for a beer if you’re in the Village shopping.
World of Beer (4208-150 Six Forks Rd., Raleigh, N.C. 27609)
WOB recently opened in Raleigh’s trendy North Hills and is a franchise that has many U.S. locations. Brad and I visited it for the first time just last weekend and there was a good crowd enjoying beer in its outside seating area since it was such a beautiful evening. Good beer selection, with live music Thursday-Saturday nights. I’m not sure that WOB serves food – I didn’t see any menus in the bar or on its website. We stopped to check it out on our way to Fox and Hound, which is right across the street, and I can see going back again.
Fox and Hound (4158 Main At North Hills St., Raleigh, N.C. 27609)
Fox and Hound is part of a national chain, and a great place to watch a game. I’ll never forget one afternoon a few years ago I was shopping at North Hills and planned to meet Brad here to watch the second half of some college football games. I arrived early and was so lucky to grab two stools at the bar, right in front of TVs that were showing the NCSU and ECU games, which were the two we wanted to see! Love the potato skins here, which I posted about several months ago.
Carolina Ale House (various locations in Raleigh and surrounding area)
CAH has lots of North Carolina brews on tap. It’s a great place to watch sports or take the kids for a meal, and the food is pretty decent. Gabe and Lexi love the wings and I can recommend the Carolina Dipper and the Ale House Chili Nachos (also one of Brad’s favorites), which you will want to share. I tried the seasonal flight with some great Oktober-fest type beers.
Draft Carolina Burgers and Beers (510 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, N.C., 27603)
Great selection of North Carolina beers, fantastic potato skins and awesome burgers – some of the best I’ve had in Raleigh as noted in my burger and potato skins blog posts. That’s basically all you need to know. Go there and enjoy!
My favorite store with an awesome beer selection is the Peace Street Market (804 W. Peace St., Raleigh, N.C. 27605)
It may not look like a beer haven from the outside, but inside there are three long walls of coolers filled with various brands of beer, not to mention the nonrefrigerated aisles of brew. The Market carries growlers for the local breweries. This is probably the best beer selection in Raleigh!
However, if you can’t get downtown, Whole Foods (various locations) has a good craft selection.
So there you go – no matter what your taste is in beer, you will probably find something to satisfy it in Raleigh. BTW – many thanks to Brad for helping me with my research. I’m pretty sure he didn’t mind!
Remember to drink and drive responsibly!
Eat, drink and be merry!