Day 2: NC Brewery Tour

Here we are at Day 2; 5 breweries and 17 beers in and I’m ready to tackle even more! I wake up like a crazy person at 7am, grab a cup of coffee, black no sugar and work on a couple shots from the day before. Soon after, I decide that before departing Charlotte and heading to the anniversary party at Clouds Brewing in Raleigh, I should make a pit stop at Heist Brewery. And thats exactly what I set out to do.

 

Heist Brewery

I arrived right as they were opening and of course I go straight to the bar. Now the first beer I selected was the Azaca Flocka Haze, not sure what drew me to that particular beer, but when the bartender handed it to me, I was completely blown away!! It was probably the word haze and since I had not yet tried a hazy beer, I thought this might be it and boy was I right. It looked like all the photos I’ve seen, like orange juice and tasted smooth with little to no presence bitterness at all. I was impressed. I mean seriously, look at this beer below! She’s gorgeous!!

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After this, I spoke to one of the bartenders named Jessie and the manager, Spencer. Jessie is new to Heist Brewery and as I took a couple photographs, she yelled out “glamour shot”! You know, like a girly girl, it was cute. Anyway, she also told me about the many awards Heist had recently won for their beer and how they were one of the first breweries to brew an unfiltered IPA with specifically citra hops. Unfortunately I didn’t get to have that beer because it was all sold out. Bummer!

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After that, the cool guy Spencer invited me to a food tour they were hosting where I was able to tour the brewing area, drink some more beer and learn about the history of Heist Brewery, but you’ll have to visit Charlotte to find that out.

Beer Check:

  • Azaca Flocka Haze – IPA
  • Blurred is the Word – IPA

 

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Clouds Brewing

So about 2 1/2 hours from Heist Brewery, I found myself in Raleigh, at Clouds Brewing and this moment and experience transcends my expectations of a brewery. Up until this now, every place was pretty much the same, but here, I found myself in the clouds having the time of my life.

 

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Clouds Brewing focuses on European lagers and ales and upon entering, without a shadow of a doubt, I knew I had transported myself into a totally different culture. Men in skirts, a German band and a German glass mug with dimples; at this point, I knew this was going to be fun. I participated in a stein holding contest with a couple of the other drinkers there and of course I won haha.

Cue the DJ,  because all we do is win, win, win no matter what.

 

This was definitely the highlight of the tour so far because it had so much culture and history within the bricks of the brewery. Oddly enough, I feel the most comfortable in places where people are unlike me, but the prerequisite is that they have to be true to themselves and everyone at Clouds was a breathe of fresh air. From the check in, to the staff, to the one guy that bought me a drink….wow. I think once you are able to live free of preconceived thoughts and ideas and simply uncap everything, life, love & beer are freely within your reach. As you know, a good majority of breweries now are moved by the trends and fads (which is not a problem), but not Clouds, they had a solid, down to earth and historically consistent foundation to the styles of beers they brewed. It was truly a great experience. Plenty of yelling, beer drinking songs and dancing; which reminded me of a soul train line, with maybe a little more soul.

Beer Check:

  • Mission to Märzen – Amber Lager
  • El Hefe Hefeweizen – Hefewieizen

 

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Raleigh Brewing Company  

After I drove a couple random drunk people home from the Clouds, I went back to my hotel, refreshed and headed back out! Next stop, Raleigh Brewing Company.

You’ve been warned, I forgot my memory card at the hotel, so yea, hashtag team iPhone 7+. This also means, I don’t remember much. Hashtag memory card.

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The most memorable thing here was the story of how this brewery got started. Husband, Patrick and wife, Kristie started this brewery and yea, the wife runs the place! I might have to get an interview with her. Women home brewers are not new, but they aren’t highlighted, so this is pretty dope to know this large brewing company was her idea. And from what I heard, this place is a mecca for other brewers and home brewers to get their supplies. They have a large warehouse that doesn’t just include the brewery, but holds materials for other manufactures to purchase.

Beer Check:

  • Hell Yes Ma’m – Belgian Style Golden
  • First Squeeze – American Wheat Ale
  • Walter Imperial – IPA
  • Coffee Hidden Pipe – Porter

 

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Trophy Brewery + Pizza

What better way to end this day than with Pizza and Beer! So next stop, Trophy Brewing! I heard from a little bird that the pizza here is amazing and I’m so glad I was able to stop here!!

At this point, I’m done. I’m tired. I’m beat. I went in to eat, not work. So not much to say except the food was phenomenal and the beer was extraordinary. Like really, really good! Ordered the Best Dressed pizza that had pepperoni, bacon, lamb sausage and spinach.

Beer Check:

  • Milky Way – Salted Caramel Sweet Stout
  • Cloud Surfer – Modern IPA

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Well what a day!! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I can’t believe I am spending 4 days driving around check out some of the best beer that North Carolina has to offer. I’m so excited for Day 3 as I travel to Asheville for the next stop. Did you hear me? Asheville!!! Yea, its about to go down. If you think it’s been a dope ass journey so far, just wait. Until my next post, enjoy people, enjoy beer and uncap everything!

-Eric

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