Ancillary* Fermentation

This isn’t actually a brewery—at least, not one with a permanent address. Instead, it’s a side project from the minds behind Bond Brothers (see below) and Fortnight Brewing that debuted in October 2018—a themed, once-a-month pop-up that benefits a nonprofit. In March, for example, they released two canned American IPAs, Yard Work and Yard Games, at Anisette Sweet Shop in Raleigh, with some of the proceeds benefitting the U.S. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants. Despite the low profile, the beer is getting national buzz. 

Must try: Whatever they offer

Bond Brothers Beer Company

202 East Cedar Street, Cary,

Among the most acclaimed breweries around, Bond Brothers excels at a wide variety of styles, from IPAs and sours to saisons and brown ales. You won’t find a bad beer on tap. 

Must try: Obfuscate (American IPA)

Botanist & Barrel

105 Persimmon Hill Lane, Cedar Grove,

You probably haven’t tasted a cider like Botanist & Barrel’s before. Blurring the lines between cider, sours, and wine, B&B leans on whole-fruit fermentation, eschewing additives or forced carbonation. The adjuncts it does use—for instance, aging in tequila or port barrels—add to the flavor profile rather than overwhelming it. 

Must try: Sour Blueberry Cider

Brewery Bhavana 

218 South Blount Street, Raleigh,

This brewery—also a dim sum restaurant, bookstore, and flower shop—is sometimes overshadowed by its sister elements, but it shouldn’t be. The beers, from the basic session IPA to the mango peppercorn saison, live up to the exceedingly high standards set by Bhavana’s much-heralded food. 

Must try: Wilt (Cherrywood-smoked quad)

Bull City Ciderworks

305 South Roxboro Street, Durham,

It didn’t take long after Bull City Ciderworks opened in 2013 for it to become a Durham favorite. The Off Main, its signature cider, is a mainstay on taps all over the city, but Bull City is big on seasonal offerings and experiments, too. 

Must try: Smooth Hoperator (dry-hopped cider)

Crank Arm Brewing

319 West Davie Street, Raleigh,

A bicycling-culture-focused brewery in the Warehouse District, Crank Arm makes high-quality, always-unfiltered beers that are painstakingly produced and never disappointing. 

Must try: BMX Barleywine (American barley wine)

Durty Bull Brewing Company

206 Broad Street, #104, Durham,

IPAs put asses in the seats, but Durty Bull is really focused on sours and barrel-aged ales produced with old-world techniques. That’s a mixed blessing, as Durty Bull makes some mighty fine IPAs that aren’t always in production. 

Must try: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter

Lynnwood Brewing Concern

1053 East Whitaker Mill Road, Raleigh,

In 2017, Lynnwood was ranked the third best brewery in the country (and the best in North Carolina) in the U.S. Open Beer Championship, and was awarded a gold medal for its Hop on Top IPA, Hop Sauce West Coast IPA, and Once You Go Black IPA. Not too shabby.  

Must try: Hop on Top (American IPA)

Steel String Brewery

106 Greensboro Street, Carrboro,

Like its hometown, Steel String loves to get weird, using local and sometimes foraged ingredients to produce taste-bud-poppers like the Obvious Child, a sour, mixed-culture saison made from local malts and midsummer herbs including honeysuckle and ginger. 

Must try: Poor Laurie (barrel-aged Britt Saison) 

Trophy Brewing 

656 Maywood Avenue, Raleigh,

Trophy ranks among the most prolific IPA makers around, and might make the cleanest, tastiest session IPA—Trophy Wife—in the state, as well as stouts and pilsners galore. And that’s just the beginning of Trophy’s myriad concoctions. 

Must try: Lombardi (Belgian quad aged in apple brandy barrels)

The Outposts 

Editor’s note: These two aren’t natives—both originated and brew in Asheville but have set up taprooms in the Triangle—so they didn’t make the list. But they make excellent brews, so we wanted to shout them out anyway. 

Burial Beer Company

500 East Davie Street, #170, Raleigh,

In January 2019, Burial opened a small beer cafe and art exhibit space attached to Transfer Co. Food Hall. Two months later, it announced an expansion—which should tell you something. 

Must try: Concepts of Dismemberment (Imperial/Double IPA) 

Hi-Wire Brewing at Golden Belt

800 Taylor Street, Durham,

Hi-Wire’s Durham taproom clocks in at nearly nine thousand square feet, not including the outdoor covered patio and beer garden. (It also evicts children by 8:00 p.m.) The brewery made a name for itself with the Hi-Wire Lager, Bed of Nails Brown, and Hi-Pitch Mosaic IPA, but if those don’t tickle your fancy, there are plenty more options. 

Must try: Hazy & Juicy & Hoppy & Fresh (hazy IPA)

2018 Best of the Triangle Readers’ Picks, Best Brewery: 

Ponysaurus Brewing Company, Durham County

Mystery Brewing Company (now closed), Orange and Chatham Counties

Trophy Brewing, Wake County