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.
Before stepping onto the Charlotte Brewery Tours party bus, each tour-taker is handed a pint glass to hang on to, which they are sure to put to use throughout the day. Once on the bus, participants are ushered to some of the city's finest craft-beer producers. Sip samples of beers along the way, and enjoy one pint of complimentary beer to slake the unique thirst conjured only by drinking beer all day.
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.