Not that long ago, if you wanted to visit Red Oak Brewery in Whitsett – tour, sample, taste – you had to go on Friday afternoons for the one-hour brewery tour, followed by tasting up to four beers before the party was over and everyone had to go home.
Red Oak has always offered one of the best brewery tours, with lots of details about brewing Red Oak’s signature Bavarian-style lagers. But it didn’t really allow enough access to the iconic glass house brewery that sits right by I-85.
Last year, Red Oak opened its long-anticipated Lager Haus and Biergarten right next door that, well, rivals most tasting rooms in North Carolina with its elegant Nordic simplicity.
This summer, when it’s normally way too hot to drink a beer outside, we visited the Lager Haus and Biergarten. Mature trees planted in the Biergarten provided ample shade to enjoy a flight, then a pint, outside even on hot days. We were not alone. Most tables were taken, some with families who were enjoying a board game or cards from the selection in the Lager Haus.
The Biergarten also has a regular food truck schedule, providing guests with a diversity of food styles. The day we were there, they had North Carolina barbecue, alongside Louisiana Cajun fare. And the nearby water feature – a manmade rocky stream that actually flows under the gift shop – adds to the feeling of cool, even on a hot day.
We had a flight of two regulars – Hummin’ Bird Helles Golden Munich Lager and Red Oak Bavarian Amber Lager – and Big Oak Vienna Lager and Oak Hopgarten Baverian Pils.
Inside the Lager House, long tables provide seating for many beer drinkers. There’s a “fireplace” that is a fountain in summer, as well as a gift shop. And as if there’s not enough artwork on the grounds of the Biergarten, there’s an art museum under construction next to the Lager Haus.
There are still tours Fridays, starting at 4:30 pm (beginning Sept. 1), and other times the brewery is open you can drop in for a free taste. Don’t miss this exciting new addition to North Carolina’s craft beer scene.
Red Oak Brewery
Lager Haus & Biergarten
6905 Konica Dr.
Tours are Fridays, 4:30-5:30 pm ($15 a person; beer tasting at 5:30 following the tour. No reservations required)