Kevin and I are huge fans of craft brewery tours, and we love supporting our roots with a particular fondness for North Carolina Breweries. Today I’m sharing some self-guided brewery tours in the Raleigh, NC area!
Did you know Wake County and the surrounding areas have over 50 breweries? That is nuts! Talk about the perfect opportunity to sample so many different kinds of beers on your own brewery tour.
As always, drink responsibly and have a Designated Driver on hand (and thank them profusely). These brewery tours include some amazing food options, so everyone gets to experience the fun!
WARNING: Do check Brewery hours of operation, as some locations have funky hours, before driving to your destination.
GET A DESIGNATED DRIVER. There is no sense in getting a DUI, or if you have the money to do it grab an Uber. Seriously, there’s plenty of delicious food on these tours to bribe someone to tag along.
Split Flights. Kevin and I split flights to get more variety, and cut down costs at the brewery. These tours are a great way to get a ton of different beer sample options so you know what you like and don’t like.
Research the areas before you head out to see if you can tag on more locations to check out. Raleigh has a bunch of public parks, walking trails, museums, and more to enjoy while you’re out and about!
Brewery Tour #1 Apex: Brüeprint Brewing Company, Mason Jar Tavern (Holly Springs), Bombshell Beer Company
This series of stops will take you west of Cary into the Apex – Holly Springs area. We prefer to start and end with a brewery, with food in the middle, so off to Brüeprint Brewing Company we went! We were very impressed with their extensive selection. Kevin has a taste for more bitter, hoppy beers (your typical IPA) while I gravitate towards hefeweizen or wheat beers. Brüeprint had a great selection of both with a bunch of outdoor seating options.
After our beer we rode on over to the Holly Springs (there’s two locations!) Mason Jar Tavern. The food here is absolutely amazing – you can tell everything is freshly made, so no out of the bag frozen food items. They have a large selection of southern staples, such as BBQ, chicken and waffles, and shrimp and grits. The waitstaff is super friendly, and the cocktails sounded delicious – if you happen to go and try one, let me know how they are!
Once our bellies were full we wrapped our adventure up at Bombshell Beer Company. I love that this brewery is owned and operated by women – nothing is more empowering than seeing women go out and to be honest simply kick ass at what they do. There’s a descent patio area for nice days, and plenty of indoor space to enjoy your beverage.
Brewery Tour #2 North West Raleigh: Gizmo Brew Works, Lynwood Bar and Grill, and Lonerider’s The Hideout
This specific tour might be my favorite for the beer options since some of my absolute favorite beers are at these locations. Start off with Gizmo Brew Works, a very laid back, hole in the wall location off Glenwood Avenue with the most beautiful patio setup with plenty of live music options. I look forward to Gizmo this time of the year when they release their seasonal Deep Blue Saison, a refreshing blueberry Belgian saison. Yum!
Next, hop on over to Lynwood Bar and Grill. Be sure you punch in the right location, they have a bar and grill in addition to a tap house closer to downtown Raleigh – you want to go to the northwest location in the shopping center that includes a Target, Lowe’s Home Improvement, and Raleigh Grande Movie Theater. Here, you can get a taste of Lynwood’s own beer selection, in addition to amazing fresh, delicious food options. Their nachos are one of my favorite items, but i’ve also enjoyed their chicken wings and wraps. You can’t go wrong with any of their food!
To cap things off, head on over to Lonerider’s The Hideout. My favorite beer in all of Raleigh is Lonerider’s Shotgun Betty, a hefeweizen with notes of bananas and clove. Lonerider is known to have plenty of events throughout the year, so check out their website’s calendar of events.
Brewery Tour #3 Wake Forest: Compass Rose Brewery, Shorty’s Famous Hot Dogs, White Street Brewery
It’s time to check out North Raleigh and the Wake Forest area. Compass Rose Brewery is one of my favorite breweries for their venue as far as the atmosphere goes – it looks like something strait out of Chip and Joanna’s Fixer Upper. It’s so quaint and beautiful, with amazing beer options! Compass Rose serves their own line of beer in addition to other North Carolina beers. There’s also an extensive selection of board games and group games to keep everyone entertained.
Keep heading north for your dinner stop – Shorty’s Famous Hot Dogs. This little place has been open since 1916, and for good reason – they know how to make a bomb hot dog! Once you fill up on a red dog (or two), get ready for our next stop, that’s conveniently located next door. If you’re really impatient, you can even go grab your hotdogs and bring them over to our final brewery.
White Street Brewing has such a small town, homey atmosphere. They don’t have a very large selection of beers but what they do have is very much across the board – everyone will be able to drink something they like. My one piece of advice is check and see if any street festivals or events are going on before you head on over to White Street – they don’t have the largest venue and when the town fills up, things get really crowded, really quick.
Brewery Tour #4 Raleigh: Neuse River Brewing, Nicklepoint, Trophy Brewing (with pizza)
Start off with food this time – simply because it works with the layout of the other locations. Head on over to Trophy Brewing + Pizza, located off Morgan Street. I do suggest getting there early, because you’ll inevitably have to wait for a table. If you do have to wait, use this time to have a beer! Again, i’ve never had a beer I didn’t like from this brewery and the selection is great. As far as pizza goes, it’s one of the best pizza options in Raleigh. Fresh, simple ingredients make for such a great product! You’d think more restaurants would get on board. Once you’ve filled up on pizza, onto brewery stop #1.
Be forewarned, Neuse River Brewing specifically brews Belgian style beers. If this is your style, you definitely need to check them out! Their venue definitely cherishes the old characteristics of the warehouse building they’ve claimed, and is a great spot to marvel at the beauty of downtown Raleigh. Expect to see a dog (or two, or three).
Next, walk on over to Nickelpoint Brewing Company. They have a wide selection with many safe options for all kinds of beer drinkers, with a focus on European beer styles.
Brewery Tour #5 Downtown Raleigh: Little City, Clyde Coopers, Crank Arm Brewing
Start off this adventure with Little City Brewing + Provisions Co. Their charming, fresh and clean venue makes any beer a pleasant one, and they’ve got several to chose from!
Once you’re ready to chow down on some of the best North Carolina BBQ there is, stroll on over to Clyde Coopers. Have cash in hand! They don’t accept cards. This vinegar based goodness is a southern staple, and can only be paired with their sweet tea and banana pudding. You can thank me later! They’ve been around since 1938, so you know they’ve got something figured out here.
Finally finish up at Crank Arm Brewery. This brewery is one with plenty of options to make any craft beer fan happy. If you’re looking for more fun to get into, Boxcar Bar + Arcade is walking distance right up the street!
Brewery Tour #6 Fuquay Varina: Aviator Brewing and Smokehouse, The Mason Jar Lager House, Fainting Goat Brewing
I’ll be honest, Kevin and I have not been to The Mason Jar Lager House yet but after visiting their Holly Springs Tavern location for dinner we know we are going to have to make a special trip to Fuquay Varina to try out their lagers! For that reason I don’t have too much personal commentary on the location, but according to their website they have a wide variety of lagers to chose from. Who knew lagers could come in so many different colors? I sure didn’t!
Next, make a pit stop at Smokehouse: Aviator Brewing. We made the trip one Saturday specifically to try some beer, but quickly realized they also have the best smoked meats i’ve ever had in my life. Truly, i’m a little glad they’re out of the way for us or else we’d be spending a bunch of money at their establishment! I recommend trying their BBQ or their fall off the bone smoked wings. My favorite time of the year to head over to Aviator is during the fall when they release their Pumpkin Beast. Get it with a cinnamon sugar rim and enjoy!
Finally, finish up at Fainting Goat Brewery. Again, not a place i’ve been to – yet – but after looking at their website I’m super stoked to try it out. The names of their beers crack me up, and I definitely have my eye on Der Hoof Hefeweizen or the Horny Honey Wildflower Witbier.
If you choose to do any of these tours, i’d really love to hear how it went! Comment below. If you have any opinions on any of the restaurants or breweries i’ve featured, I’d love for you to share that as well!