Friday, July 24, 2015

Raleigh Beer Garden

This past week, another bar opened in Raleigh.  In my now year plus in Raleigh, many new bars, breweries, and bottle shops have opened.  Craft beer is exploding here.  Many of these new beer spots offer nothing new, and I'll be interested to see which ones will last.  On Tuesday, however, Raleigh Beer Garden opened and now offers something that no other bar in Raleigh can match.  In fact, no one in the world can match it, 366 beers on tap.

Obviously, I had to attend on opening day.  My girlfriend and I arrived around 6:30 PM and the place was packed.  The servers outside told us the multiple bars were self-seating but we would need to put our name in for a table.  The waiter wrote our names down on a piece of paper and told us it would be about 45 minutes.  As we headed in to try and I get a drink at the bar, I was little worried we would never get a table.  I know that it's opening night, but for a restaurant as hyped as this with such a large social media presence, an up to the minute draft list on Taphunter, etc. would have a better system of seating people.

The restaurant has 3 different bars, one serving liquor, one serving North Carolina draft beer, and one serving beer from everywhere else.  There was a small bar on the rooftop as well that wasn't online this night so I'm not sure what they'll have up there.  The bars were drastically understaffed.  It's opening night and there were a ton of people, but it took a very long time to get a drink.  By the time we walked around a little, deciphered the insane draft list, and got two drinks, the 45 minutes was up and we checked back with the front to get our table.

Soon after entering, I learned that the world record for beers on tap had not yet been broken.  Many of the taps were not yet hooked up, including the first four I tried to order.  While it might take you 30 minutes to work your way through the draft list, in my opinion it really wasn't that amazing.  Many of the beers are very common that are available elsewhere in Raleigh, just not all in one place.  One thing I was glad to see is that they had some options from some North Carolina breweries that I never see on draft in this area, including Ass Clown and Frog Level.  Unfortunately, none of these were actually on draft yet.  I'll be anxious to see how much turnover they have here, or will it pretty much be the same beers all the time.

Raleigh Beer Garden has massive potential, but still a lot to work on.  With 366 beers on tap less than a mile from my apartment, I'm sure I'll be back often regardless.  It will be interesting to see how this works out having so much beer on draft.  Will beers stay fresh?  I've heard some concerns about this from some local breweries on podcasts and online and I don't think anyone really knows yet how this place will do.  Nevertheless, it is another craft beer bar that I am very glad to have in Raleigh.

614 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27603

Catching Up

I have neglected this blog for a long time.  It hasn't been intentional, I just haven't taken the time to sit down and write up a post.  Anyway, I'll try my best to catch up on a few things.

Full Moon Cafe & Brewery

On our trip to Corolla Light to meet my family, my girlfriend and I stopped at Full Moon Cafe & Brewery in Manteo.  Any new brewery is exciting for me but unfortunately this place was a bit of a disappointment.  The bar and cafe were separate but shared a large patio space.  The one bartender inside a small bar was clearly not as interested in our business and texting, but nonetheless after a small struggle, we were able to order a flight.

The branding of this place was a little odd as well.  There were several logos/posters of "Full Moon Brewery," others as "Lost Colony Brewery" and a few of the beer names started with "Lost Colony" by Full Moon Brewery.  I couldn't really figure out what was going on with the names or branding.  We sampled the full lineup with my favorite being the Porter and the Pale Ale.  It was fun to see a new place, but I can't say that I'd stop here again.

Full Moon Cafe and Brewery
208 Queen Elizabeth St.
Manteo, NC 27954

Outer Banks Brewing Station

Our next stop was in Kill Devil Hills in the large and impressive Outer Banks Brewing Station.  This place was more than a brewery, much more of a family restaurant setting.  The parking lot was packed so I worried a little about getting a seat.  Even with a line of people waiting outside for a table, we walked right in and grabbed two seats at the bar.

The beer was average.  Out of the flight, my favorite was the hefeweizen.  I can't say that has ever happened before as it's not usually one of my favorite styles, but I enjoyed theirs.  Besides the beer, it's easy to see why this place was so packed.  The food was great, the atmosphere was great, and it catered to people of all ages.  There were families seated throughout the restaurant, older couples pounding Miller Lite, and couples like my girlfriend and I seated at the bar.  I would definitely recommend this place.  In addition to the awesome menu, I would describe many of the beers as gateway beers that many non-craft beer drinkers would enjoy.

Outer Banks Brewing Station
600 South Croatan Hwy
Kill Devils Hills, NC 27948