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.
Aviator Brewing Company's dedicated brew architects collaborate with a premium selection of seasonal ingredients to craft 16 varieties of pint fillers. Since taking root in 2008 with two 300-gallon tanks in a decommissioned airplane hangar, the suds factory has grown to include four tanks, each of which contains 3,100 gallons of award-winning libations. Inside the tanks, frothy brews such as the Devils Tramping Ground Tripel—a golden Belgian ale with a fruity, spicy, sweet flavor—wait for year-round sampling. They also concoct seasonal brews for Oktoberfest, spring, and winter, as well as rotating beers such as McGritty's Scotch Ale, which they brew from Maris Otter barley malt and crisp malt imported from the United Kingdom in an oversize kilt.
Nearby, on Broad Street, Aviator also operates a tap house, which serves up their draft brews at a temperature of 47 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to a micromatic dispensing system with glycol cooling. Down the street, they also operate a smokehouse that serves up smokehouse ribs, North Carolina chopped-barbecue sandwiches, and pulled pork that has been featured on RaleighLifestyle.tv's Dining Destinations.
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.
Though it's largely a male-dominated industry, the origins of beer-brewing suggest it was women who were behind the original barley pop?and the ladies behind Bombshell Beer Company are quick to remind anyone who asks. Co-founder and co-owner Ellen Joyner had been home brewing for more than a decade when she joined forces with co-brewers Michelle Miniutti and Jackie Hudspeth, and together, they started Bombshell. There, they employ careful and exacting brewing practices to brew great beer, from their Lost My Way IPA to specialty seasonal beers that include a ?Dunkelweizen and a Dirty Secret Coconut Stout. Visitors can take tours of the brewery to learn more about the process, and head to the 1,400 square foot tasting room afterward to taste the beers of their labor.