Do you remember when getting a good beer was springing for a Michelob?! Well it’s hard to believe nowadays, my hops and malted barley padawan, given the number of breweries that are sprouting up in the Triangle. When I first got to Raleigh it was the Big Boss. And then Lonerider. But that was just the beginning as more breweries started popping up. Boylan Bridge, Roth-Gizmo, Aviator and now Trophy and Crank Arm. While I’m more of a wine guy over beer, sometimes there’s nothing better than a cold craft beer on a warm evening. Let’s check out some of the newest entries in the micro brew scene for the area!
One of my newer faves is Trophy Brewing down on Morgan Street in Raleigh. This hipster-friendly hangout sits discretely on a quiet street off of Boylan Heights. When it first opened up, this place was standing room only. L-shaped bar with a thin sliver of space for anyone unlucky enough to not secure a seat. Goofy trophies lined atop a shelf running along the space, Trophy was all about the beer, beards and plaid shirts. Which if fine by me as long as they’re good with my not so hipster attitude. But lo and behold, a couple of months later, Trophy expands and opens up a kitchen for some pizza-making. And over time I have to tell you, the pizza really adds a LOT to Trophy Brewing!
After the expansion I visit several times, trying the Daredevil pizza, a gouda special along with their Meatza which is loaded with guess what? And they’re really good pies. Nice tender crust with some corn-meal and a bit of burn at the bottom. Lots of high-quality sauce, toppings and freshness. An excellent pie on par with Mellow Mushroom and similar to Lilly’s. So even if you don’t like the beer here, you could still stop by for a salad or pie which is a great option if you’re catching a comedy show at Goodnight’s. Trophy is definitely doing things right and there’s more goodness to come I’m sure.
Moving further east down on Hillsborough Street you’ll find Raleigh Brewing Company! Located behind the old standby Chinese restaurant Beansprout, the Raleigh Brewing Company sits in an industrial area with a gravel lot. Pop inside the doorway way over in the corner and the space opens up to a large warehouse type area. On the right you’ll find a well-lit store for home-brewers with all the supplies you would ever need. Move further in, past the three dart boards and you’ll find the bar with some HD TV panels with the game going on. Blackboard menu front and center with the current brews along with root beer and kombucha, pretty cool! Flights go for $7 each but I start off with a Moravian Rhapsody pilsner.
The scene at Raleigh Brewing Company is pretty cool, they do food trucks outside and it’s pretty busy on a Sunday afternoon. With the darts and big space, it feels sort of like Big Boss with a casual crowd enjoying craft beers. My pilsner is decent, a touch rough around the edges but certainly a doable beer. I can see myself stopping in here from time to time but it’s further out of the way for me, across from Meredith. But if you live in the hood, you should definitely check out this solid new brewery!
But as new as Trophy is for Raleigh, the most recent addition to the beer scene is Crank Arm over on W. Davie in the Warehouse District. And Crank Arm’s thing is way different then Trophy’s. Not so much hipster, more of a mod, West coast scene. Located in the old White Collar Crime, Crank Arm has a small patio up front and opens up to a high-ceiling space inside. Some interesting, metal sculptures made of bicycle parts on the wall, a fluorescent purple bar with bicycle chains hanging down like a metal curtain. They’ve got some cool crank arm platters for the beer flights but I go with a pint of habanero infused Porter, yum! In back you have the usual brewing equipment and the place is b-u-s-y for its first day so I’ve got high hopes for Crank Arm!
Pilsner, porter, stout, ale, brown, white and more, it’s really hard to go wrong with a good micro-brew! And while I’ll put down a PBR or Bud Light from time to time, with all this great beer in the Triangle it would be a shame if you wasted your carb calories down that path. While it may have all started with Big Boss in this area, I have high hopes and expectations for what the craft brew scene in NC will put out over the next several years. Is there room for more in the Triangle? I guess we shall see…