Deep in the Umstead Industrial Park, something stirs. Amid the clank of modern machinery, a group of workers busy themselves with one of the world's oldest crafts: brewing. At Gizmo Brew Works, this meeting of contemporary technology and ancient know-how produces a tempting slate of small-batch beers. Inside tanks that hold the equivalent of 1,000 pints each, brewers prep favorites including the smooth and sweet Black Stiletto Stout and the complex Palisade Wasp India Pale Ale with the same care that has earned many of their past beers medals at the Carolina Championship of Beer. They also save room for seasonals, carefully adding a sweet caramel flavor and spicy Noble hops to their altbier, which they serve in a traditional stange glass or a large mug in celebration of Oktoberfest. These beers and more make frequent appearances in the brewery's taproom, gracing pint glasses for impromptu toasts or filling up growlers for at-home sips. Never ones to shy away from curious guests, brewers also open up their facility for Saturday tours, walking groups through the beer-making process during 30-minute explorations.
Since its founding at a secure location off of Glenwood Avenue one year ago, LoneRider has adhered to its founding principle: that beer is a delicious, drinkable expression of personal creativity. Casual and professional imbibers from across the Triangle have, at their first sip of LoneRider suds, been know to drop meek and flavorless drafts and finally take action on their plans to create a race of atomic super-men. The flagship brew, the hazel-eyed Shotgun Betty, is a sassy hefeweizen with a banana-clove nose and a dry finish, unusual and unabashedly individual. The DeadEye Jack porter rides into town on a chocolate horse with a malt mane, and then performs a complicated dressage routine on your tongue.
During 30-minute tours at Boylan Bridge, foam-enthused folk get to ogle high-end machinery and learn about the beer-making process from potable professionals. Keep all of your senses engaged by sniffing, swishing, and swallowing six freshly brewed beer samples such as the Pullman Porter, a dark beer with coffee and chocolate flavors, or the Gantlet Golden, a pale pilsner-like brew with flavors of hops and citrus. Once you and your tour cohort have discovered new favorites, grab a seat at Boylan's hand-crafted bar to treat yourself to an additional pint, or mosey out to the pub's deck to try to spot Waldo amidst the scenic city skyline. Although not covered by this Groupon, Boylan Bridge Brewpub also serves up a newly overhauled menu of tasty pub grub favorites.
Railhouse Brewery founders Mike Ratkowski and Brian Evitts both did stints in the armed forces before they met while working the same job. The two shared an interest in the effervescent qualities of a good beer, and in 2009, they turned that passion into a business. Brian, a homebrewer for 20 years, oversees the production of the company's five main beers—oatmeal stout, brown ale, pale ale, honey wheat, and barley wine—and Mike handles operations, sales, and the number of bottles of beer on the wall. Together, they help bring Railhouse brews to 14 restaurants and bars in the Sandhills.
The Railhouse Brewery also frequently hosts concerts and festivals, and holds cornhole tournaments every Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, check out the event page or send a pack of investigative hops to visit the brewery.
A fortnight is an English term for a period of two weeks, which is coincidentally the amount of time needed for an ale to age to full maturity. In England, the beer often spends that time in casks. It's these principles that inspire the name and techniques of Fortnight Brewing Company, whose cask and keg ales—made in the English tradition—are rich yet balanced in flavor. The founding brewers, who hail from the US and the UK, use English malts and hops to craft four main beers: an English Ale, a Porter, an ESB, and a Blonde Ale. Special seasonal releases experiment with flavors and tours give visitors a closer look at the exotic brewing process.
Lonerider Brewing Company favors old-school quality over the latest trends in its work and takes its cue from the Wild West. The result is a selection of award-winning beers, which include Shotgun Betty hefeweizen, Sweet Josie brown ale, and Peacemaker pale ale, along with various outlawed and most-wanted brews. Not ones to rest on their laurels, the brewery's team is also on the lookout for new beers. That's why homebrewers compete for the opportunity to craft their creations at Lonerider during the brewery's annual Brew It Forward, which invites all beers—the good, the bad, and the ugly—but rarely hands out awards for the second two.