It’s NC Beer Month — Five Ways to Celebrate

Brewer during a tour

Tour a brewery to celebrate NC Beer Month.

April is NC Beer Month, and there are many ways to celebrate. So whether you’re a new or seasoned craft beer lover, here are five ideas for how to celebrate.

Tour a local brewery. Not all breweries offer tours, but many do, and some do a really great job of showcasing how their product is brewed. Most brewery websites will give the time and details of the tours. Some charge for their tours, usually with a beer reward (and a glass) at the end. Others offer free tours, but you buy your own beer. Know what a mash tun is? The four ingredients in beer? Yeah, you definitely need a tour!

Visit your local bottle shop and try some NC beer. Some grocery stores now carry a good selection of NC beer, but without the expertise you’ll find in a bottle shop. Explore the different ingredients that give beer its taste – are you more of a hoppy — bitter, citrusy — beer person, or do you prefer the caramel, coffee flavors of malt? Not sure where to start? Take this NC Beer Month quiz to find out your beer style.

Attend a beer tasting event. There are lots of them in April, from the mountains to the coast. Take the opportunity to try something you haven’t tried before. Some events offer unlimited tastings for the price of a ticket; at others, you pay as you go for what you taste.

Set out on a beer trail. Find an NC community with several breweries, maybe even some within walking distance of each other. Could be one of NC’s beer meccas, like Asheville or Raleigh. Some areas offer incentives to visit all their breweries, like the Raleigh Beer Trail. A new app from Our State Magazine helps you find breweries around North Carolina.

Experiment with beer and food pairings. Love Mexican food? Ask for something light and refreshing to offset the heaviness of the food. Chocolate dessert? Try a nice dark porter or stout. Whatever you do, make sure that your favorite restaurant serves a good selection of NC beer.

Two beer glasses

What’s your favorite beer? Try something new for NC Beer Month.


Compass Rose Brewery shines new light on N. Raleigh

two glassses of beer

Compass Rose Saison and Coffee Porter.

While downtown and west Raleigh have long been blessed with many great breweries, north North Raleigh (double “north” is intentional) has not really had a brewery to call its own. While Wake Forest’s White Street wasn’t far away, it wasn’t actually Raleigh after all.

So Compass Rose Brewery has filled the void with a location off Gresham Lake Road, just north of I-540, where no brewery has gone before. As you drive down Northside Drive, you’ll wonder where you are going — is there really a brewery tucked back in this industrial complex? At end of the road, you’ll see Compass Rose, in its beautiful new location with lots of windows.

The taproom is large, with a bar and many tables. For warmer weather, there is a nice patio outside with long tables. And there is usually a food truck back behind the brewery.

Inside or outside, Compass Rose is dog-friendly, even providing water for dogs (who don’t like beer…) and “leash hooks” to keep dogs near their owners. Though the human customers seem to get along well, there is an occasional bru-ha-ha between the canine clientele. (Fortunately, there’s plenty of space for every dog to have his own table.)

The brewery itself is behind glass walls just beyond the tasting room, with plenty of room for expansion. There are lots of activities in the tasting room too, from darts to corn hole to Jenga and other games. Or draw your finest artwork on the chalkboard walls.

The website describes the brewery’s intention of creating a number of different international beers, including an Agave Cream Ale (maybe I was ruined because I had just gone to a mescal tasting, but I didn’t really get any agave from my taste). The Saison was good, as well as a Coffee Porter. Would have sampled more with a flight, but all the “flight boards” were out that afternoon.

Compass Rose Brewery
3201 Northside Drive, Suite 101 Raleigh, N.C.
919-875-5683 / 919-872-2276


Taps at Compass Rose


Big, open taproom


Dog friendly, for friendly dogs…

Last call for Natty Greene’s of Raleigh

beer and last hurrah sign

Saturday marked the last bash for Raleigh’s Natty Greene’s.

Natty Greene’s Pub and Brewing Co. was a Greensboro fixture when the brewery decided to locate to Raleigh’s Glenwood South neighborhood five years ago. The brewery was alone among the area’s pubs and sports bars, but others would follow.

Saturday marked the end of Raleigh’s Natty Greene’s, after rent for the popular pub became too steep, and the brewers decided to leave town. The closing was marked with a festive atmosphere — bands, beer and rapidly dwindling menu options, as the restaurant sold its final wings and fish and chips.

Proceeds from the day were to support employees, who are losing their Raleigh jobs. Here’s hoping another establishment will open there soon – prior to Natty Greene’s, the site seemed to turn over about every year. And I’m still hoping that maybe someone is trying to find a nice new Raleigh site for Natty Greene’s – raise a glass of Summerfest lager to that!

outside of brewery building

Natty Greene’s in Raleigh’s Glenwood South will be missed.

Nickelpoint Brewing: Welcome to the neighborhood.

Two cups of beer

Blonde ale at NIckelpoint Brewing.

Nickelpoint Brewing Co. sits on Pershing Street, near the intersection of Whitaker Mill and Old Wake Forest roads in Raleigh. It’s on the edge of an industrial area bordering one of Raleigh’s growing small-houses-inside-the-Beltline neighborhood.

The long-awaited brewery opened its doors earlier this fall, drawing in families in strollers and friends across generations. There were food trucks outside the brewery, outdoor picnic tables and a giant Jenga game made with two-by-fours that kept kids entertained while their parents enjoyed a beer. And this warm first day of December took me back to that beer on the picnic table a few months back.

Now, the brewery welcomes viewers of Monday night football, Tuesday trivia, Wednesday cornhole and a weekly lineup of food trucks.

The taproom is small and the brewery itself is big, so in cold weather guests will probably spill into the brewery. The beers choices were limited at first, but more are on the way. The blonde ale turned out to be a good choice. Nickelpoint Brewing looks to be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

Crowd at brewery

Opening weekend at Nickelpoint Brewing.

Kids with grandma and bunko.

Two future beer drinkers play giant Jenga with Mom.