Will Holland founded Beltline Brew Tours for one main reason, he loves N.C. beer. So, why not hang out with good company and hire a driver to experience all of the wonderful Greater Raleigh breweries? Seems like a fantastic idea to me, too!
I had the pleasure of attending the Raleigh Beltline Brew Tour, which covered Lonerider Brewing Company, Roth Brewing Company and Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing. On our way to Lonerider Brewing Company, Will discussed his passion for N.C. beer with the group and gave us more information about Beltline Brew Tours. These private tours average about three to four hours and you’re guaranteed to have a great time. Not only will you tour and learn about each brewery, but the tour wouldn’t be complete without enjoying samples of craft N.C. beers.
Our first stop on the Beltline Brew Tour was Lonerider Brewing Company. I received samples of four beers and then had the opportunity to select any pint on draft. The four beers included Lonerider Brewing Company’s Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen, Peacemaker Pale Ale, Sweet Josie Brown Ale and Cowboy Black. It was our lucky day because the tour happened to stop at the brewery during the Cowboy Black release party! I loved the relaxed atmosphere of Lonerider Brewing Company and the “outlaws” working behind the bar.
After finishing our beers, Skyler led the group on a tour of the brewery. Skyler is obsessed with cartoons and his favorite beer is Lonerider’s Sweet Josie Brown Ale. Skyler told us about the history of Lonerider. The brewery opened in Jan. 2009 by three guys who originally worked at Cisco and had a passion for craft beer.
I also ate hops for the first time! I’ll never go back to sunflower seeds. Thank you, Lonerider Brewing Company for my new found favorite snack. Now, only if I worked in a brewery so I could enjoy hops all the time.
Our second stop was only about two minutes away, Roth Brewing Company. We learned on the tour that the company’s name recently changed to Gizmo Brew Works. We tried the Gizmo Honey Wheat, Raleigh Red Amber Ale, Dark Construct Stout and the Sex Viking Dunkelweizen.
After sampling some delicious N.C. beers, we took a tour and learned the history behind Gizmo Brew Works. On Jan. 1, 2013 Roth Brewing Company was sold to a new group of owners. Part of this process includes expansion and renovation of the taproom. A new bar is also in the process of being built. The bar will be twice the size of the old bar and have double the number of taps. The bigger, the better; especially when it comes to N.C. beer!
The last stop on the Raleigh Beltline Brew Tour was Natty Green's Pub & Brewing. I enjoyed the Wildflower Witbier, Elm Street IPA and the SwampFox Belgian Blonde. Natty Green's Pub & Brewing began as a dream of two underclassmen at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in the early 1990's. I know I'm thankful their dreams turned into a reality! The tour was informative and we got a behind the scenes look into brewing craft N.C. beer.
I guarantee you will have an amazing time on a Beltline Brew Tour. By the end of the day, you'll be friends with everyone who started as a mere stranger on a bus. Not only are the tours a great way to meet new people, but you get to try new beers and learn about a few of Greater Raleigh's amazing breweries!
Beltline Brew Tours recently added another tour called the South Wake Tour. Starting on May 18, 2013, Beltline Brew Tours will begin touring Aviator Brewing Company, Carolina Brewing Company and Holly Springs Nano Brewing. Purchase your tickets for an upcoming Beltline Brew Tour, and most importantly, happy N.C. Beer Month!