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.
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.
While in Sonoma on business in 1992, tech entrepreneur Max Lloyd fell in love with the fermented grape. Though his father and grandfather had been in the business of winemaking, it wasn't until his encounter with California-grown, European-style varietals that he resolved to dabble in the family trade himself. Launched as a part-time project in Virginia and transplanted to its current location in 2001, Grove Winery and Vineyards culls its grapes from two estate vineyards that span more than 70 acres in addition to a handful of local vineyards. The staff meticulously handpicks the grapes and gently presses them with a basket press to yield their fresh milk.
Creeping across a 5-acre swath of the Haw River Valley, 16 varieties of grapevines sprout from fertile, sandy soil, twisting their leafy arms around trellises and soaking in the lush, grape-growing climate. Benjamin's artisan enophiles hand pluck each of the muscadine, french, and hybrid grapes that blanket this vineyard. The grapes are escorted into the afterlife inside fermenting barrels where they live on as red and white wines for every taste—from dry dinner varietals and sweet country classics to seasonal bouquets. The whole creative process is observed by spectating visitors who wind through the idyllic facilities on self-guided tours—often including picnics on the winery’s covered porch, or perusals of of local art at the gift shop.
As an ecofriendly facility, Benjamin Vineyards & Winery employs sustainable practices, such as composting agricultural products, recycling bottles and other reusables, and growing plants with nightly bedtime reading instead of pesticides.
At any given time, the Rioja! WineKeeper's handsome wooden casing houses 12 bottles in a temperature-controlled setting. These conditions keep the wines fresh and result in a full-flavored pour. A quick flick of the tap and a crisp white or bold red streams into Riedel crystal, the only glassware used at Rioja! A Wine Bar. Between these sophisticated pouring and storing methods, and the sheer immensity of the full selection—some 800 wines—Rioja!'s dedication to the appreciation of wine is palpable.
Their tapas menu was designed with elegant pairings in mind and—much like playing "spin the bottle" at the UN—highlights flavors from around the world. Prosciutto bruschetta, stuffed dates, and a chorizo and manchego plate show off the kitchen's Mediterranean leanings. South African-style jerky, on the other hand, indicates a willingness to infuse an Old World dining tradition with New World recipes. The bartenders also keep a healthy selection of craft beers from brewers such as Bell's, Duck Rabbit, and Founders.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Chinqua Penn Plantation houses a 1920s mansion once owned by Thomas Jefferson Penn and Beatrice Schoellkopf Penn, its luxurious environs flanked by fields of grapes and packed with an eclectic collection of art. Embark on a guided educational tour of the countryside abode's 27 rooms to marvel at masterpieces such as the entryway's Mosaic of Moses and the dining room's American Gothic painted entirely with ketchup. The mansion's artistic furnishings are culled from 30 different countries, all ensconced in internationally themed chambers such as the Chinese Room and the Italian Room. Attendees can fly chaperone-free in a self-guided garden tour to admire the plantation's greenery, nestled within 22 acres of maintained landscaping. Sync up your watch with the 1928 stone clock tower or discuss celebrity gossip with the cast-lead Cupid statue in the courtyard.